Yesterday we heard from a mother of two daughters who worries about the role that alcohol often plays in sexual assaults on campus. A father writes:
I did indeed just drop my daughter off at college last week and had this conversation with her. She didn’t have much exposure to guys or alcohol in high school, and I wanted to give her my opinions on both.
When I was in high school, I said, people focused on the moral dimensions of drinking, as if alcohol was a sinful thing unto itself. It felt great to drink, especially because I was thumbing my nose at the Bible thumpers.
I told my daughter that the issue with drinking isn’t the act; it’s what come next. People treat it as a license for all kinds of bad decisions. The moral rebellion I felt then is now a rebellion of human decency and norms.
On assault, I told her that sex is something she should do 1000% on her terms and no one else’s. Also, sometimes, women are assaulted on campus and then try to hide it because they are afraid of telling their parents that they were drinking or in bed with a boy. I said, no matter what, we’ll support you. Regardless of the circumstances, if she feels assaulted, that’s all that matters to us.
Tough conversation to have, but critical in this day.
His remarks about drinking being a rebellious act made me think of a reader email sent a few months ago by Jack. He essentially argues that there’s a risk in being too alarmist about college drinking and sex—that some young men will blindly rebel against overheated rhetoric and throw sensibility out with the bathwater:
As a kid, I was taught a lot about alcohol, drugs, and sex—insistently and repeatedly—and didn’t listen to much of it. I think it’s worth looking at why.