Earlier this week, the police department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison published some utterly generic campus safety advice entitled “Shedding the Victim Persona: Staying Safe on Campus.”
“Don’t travel alone,” the piece said. “Be a hard target” because “if you present yourself as easy prey, then expect to attract some wolves.” Also, “drink responsibly.”
The next thing that happened, on Wednesday, is that a bitterly angry writer at the feminist website Jezebel lost her mind. She concluded that the message could not be intended for any male victims of crimes but only for women who don’t want to be raped.
The Jezebel writer is Jia Tolentino. According to her LinkedIn profile, her own education has taken her to the hardscrabble streets of Ann Arbor, Mich. and Charlottesville, Va.
“Oh, dear police department, we know, we know,” Tolentino raged. “We know we look like victims. We know we present as easy goddamn prey. How lovely to be reminded by the police department. What a nice opportunity to think about the fact that none of the women I know who have been raped have ever reported it. Not one!”
Tolentino, the hard-hitting author of “What Shark Tank Means For America” and “Blake Lively Loves Rib Sauce,” was unable to explain how the police department’s tepid article on student safety made her think of her friends’ failures to report their rape allegations to police.
“I, like basically every female human I know, was followed home and harassed and assaulted in college,” Tolentino then continues. “I was also followed home and harassed and assaulted while serving in the Peace Corps.”
She then proudly links to her 2011 star turn in The New York Times. It was an op-ed bewailing the fact that female Peace Corps volunteers are sometimes raped by brutal men who live in primitive conditions in developing countries. (She quit the Peace Corps before her assignment was up.)
“I wrote to the UW police department spokesperson,” Tolentino then proclaims. “I asked if they had received and understood feedback expressing that the wording of the article seems slightly delusional, in that no one has ever prevented their own assault by saying, all chipper, ‘I won’t let it happen to me!'”
Tolentino then claims that “the estimated number of rapes outnumbers the number of sexual assault reports by a margin of 17-1” in Wisconsin’s public university system but, in the same paragraph, declares that it’s “fundamentally cruel” to advise crime victims to do anything that might prevent crimes.
After Tolentino published her diatribe, the Wisconsin–Madison police department pathetically responded with an “editor’s note” on Thursday. “We realized some wording should have been phrased better and in a more sensitive nature,” the meek update said. “For that, we apologize.”