Amanda Hess, a blogger for Washington City Paper, wrote a sharp deconstruction (11/30/09) of Chicago Tribune advice columnist Amy “Ask Amy” Dickinson’s victim-blaming response (11/27/09) to a woman who wanted to know whether she was a victim of rape:
Were you a victim? Yes.
First, you were a victim of your own awful judgment.
Hess points out Dickinson’s disparate treatment of victim and perpetrator:
You donÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢t say whether the guy was also drunk. If so, his judgment was also impaired.
Or as Hess translates: “Your judgment was ‘awful’; your rapist’s judgment was merely ‘impaired.'”
The most stunning part of the advice column, though, was when Dickinson urged the letter-writer to give the man who raped her a call:
You must involve the guy in question in order to determine what happened and because he absolutely must take responsibility and face the consequences for his actions, just as you are prepared to do.
Hess responds to this “destructive, dangerous, and negligent” advice:
Obviously, rapists should not be consulted on questions of consent. As this column makes clear, we should all probably refrain from consulting Ask Amy as well.
UPDATE: Those interested in asking Amy Dickinson to retract the advice in her November 27 column can sign a petition that does so here.