Kasich: Don’t Go To Boozy Parties If You’re Worried About Sexual Assault

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April 15, 2016 2:29 p.m.

Asked about the risk of campus sexual assault during a Friday campaign event, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) advised a female student not to “go to parties where there’s a lot of alcohol,” forcing his campaign to later clarify that he believes the only person at fault in a sexual assault is the assailant.

The Republican presidential candidate was hosting a town hall in Watertown, New York when a freshman student from St. Lawrence University asked how he would help her “feel safer and more secure regarding sexual violence, harassment, and rape,” according to ABC News.

Kasich responded at length, arguing that schools must provide sexual assault victims with rape kits and confidential consultation. He also said that students who experience unwanted sexual harassment should have “the opportunity to be able to pursue justice” after they have “had some time to reflect on it all.”

“This ought to be done in the country,” Kasich said. “That our coeds know exactly what the rules are, what the opportunities are, what the confidential policies are, so that you are not vulnerable, at risk, and can be preyed upon. I have two 16-year-old daughters, and I don’t even like to think about it.”

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“It’s sad, but it’s something that I have to worry about,” the female student replied, according to ABC News.

“Well, I would give you—I’d also give you one bit of advice,” Kasich added. “Don’t go to parties where there’s a lot of alcohol.”

Facing backlash for his comment, the Ohio governor’s campaign sent out a string of tweets on Friday afternoon clarifying Kasich’s position.

Advocates for sexual assault victims and researchers who study the subject argue that women’s alcohol consumption is irrelevant to any unwanted sexual contact.

The authors of a recent National Institute of Health study on alcohol and sexual assault noted that “although a woman’s alcohol consumption may place her at increased risk of sexual assault, she is in no way responsible for the assault. The perpetrators are legally and morally responsible for their behavior.”

This post has been updated to include Kasich’s response.

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