McIntosh Blames Campus Rapes on Alcohol

Democratic Delegate Maggie McIntosh today took to the floor of the Maryland House of Delegates to blame rapes on college campuses not on the people commit rapes, but on the presence of alcohol on campus.

When speaking on the floor in support of an override on Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of the “ban the box” provision:

“You know, I think the main reason I was so taken by and wanted to introduce this bill is, you’re absolutely right, someone who has made a mistake in life wants to go to college, wants to better themselves, we know that two things help people not recidivate, and that is a good job and also getting an education. That’s what we know. So many people came up to that box and went ‘oops, they’re not going to let me in,’ and just took the application process and threw it away. This says that you are notified that that box will not disqualify you and/or if you go to Towson and some of our other universities, the box won’t be there or the box is there but it won’t be used to decide whether or not you go through that first cut of admission. But the bill absolutely says that colleges and universities upon review of the criminal record may may deny them admission. That’s in the bill. And it also says that if it is a rape or something of that sort, but you still for some reason, they decide that it happened so long ago that they still want to admit this person, that they can deny them housing and so on and so forth. But I will tell you the incidents of college harassment, rape, so on and so forth, has a whole lot to do with alcohol, and very little to do about whether or not you are admitting people who have criminal records.”

McIntosh’s comments begin at the 1:32 mark at this link.

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Needless to say that McIntosh’s comments are certainly well outside of the mainstream, even within her own party:

The idea that alcohol makes people more aggressive or more likely to misunderstand consent is widely believed. But in reality, the facts just don’t support it.

Men who are likely to commit sexual assault will do so drunk or sober. (Women can be aggressors and men can be targets; we’re focusing here on the vast majority of assaults, in which men are the aggressors and women the targets.) “Men who commit sexual assault when drinking alcohol are similar to men who commit sexual assault when sober in most aspects of their personality and attitudes,” found one meta-analysis (a study of many studies). Factors like hypermasculinity and belief in rigid gender norms were what mattered, not alcohol consumption.

Time magazine has also repudiated the very idea that McIntosh is peddling, that alcohol is the cause of sexual assault on campus.

At a time in which sexual assault is a major point of discussion in our country, especially in Annapolis and surrounding the General Assembly, McIntosh’s comments linking rape with alcohol consumption is insensitive and wrong-headed; doubly so when she was saying these comments for crass political purposes.

McIntosh should apologize. She won’t. Be she should.

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