Reader: Linking sex assault, marijuana ban in legalization campaign demeans rape victims

Thumbnail image for toni fox.jpg
Toni Fox.
Local voters are likely to consider at least two 2012 ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use -- one from Legalize2012.com, another via a group featuring SAFER's Mason Tvert.

And these two outfits have very different views judging by a Legalize2012.com response to yesterday's post about a Women's Marijuana Movement press conference.

In our item, WMM co-founder Toni Fox, a Tvert associate and mother of two, used her own experience as a high school sex assault victim to argue that increased cannabis use can reduce the number of booze-fueled rapes -- an approach with which Legalize2012.com strongly disagrees. Here's the comment in question.

Legalize 2012 Campaign writes:

Legalize 2012 Campaign Does Not Blame the Victims of Sexual Assault

Contact: Legalize 2012.com
http://www.Legalize2012.com
1-877-420-4205

The Legalize 2012 Campaign (legalize2012.com) has NO relation to SAFER and the Women's Marijuana Movement, who today took advantage of Sexual Assault Awareness Month to hold a press conference in a attempt to link cannabis use and with preventing sexual assault. Legalize 2012 is appalled that SAFER and the Women's Marijuana Movement would use the issue of Sexual Assault Awareness month to make a case for the legalization of marijuana. This belittles the real causes of sexual assault and perpetuates the "blame the victim" thinking that activists against sexual assault have been trying to overcome for years.

SAFER and the Women's Marijuana Movement claim that "marijuana prohibition is driving people to drink and fueling incidents of sexual assault and date rape" and say that they want to explore "the possibility that alcohol-related assaults could be reduced if marijuana becomes a legal alternative to alcohol." They claim that 50% to 90% of sexual assault cases "involve the use of alcohol by the victim, the perpetrator, or both."

In an interview in Westword, Toni Fox of the Women's Marijuana Movement, says when she was in high school she got drunk and passed out and someone raped her while she was passed out. Fox implies that if she would have smoked pot, she would not have been raped, blaming herself for her assault.

Fox doesn't mention whether the perpetrator of her rape was not drunk or not. Since it is common knowledge that alcohol prevents men from having erections, making it more difficult to perform a sexual assault, then the SAFER/WMM assertion that alcohol is a cause of sexual assault would only put the blame on the victim.

The Legalize 2012 Campaign believes these outrageous statements diminish and cheapen the devastation of someone who has been sexually assaulted. For SAFER/WMM to say to the victims, "if you would just have smoked a joint, you would not have been raped" puts the blame back on the victim of the assault, not the perpetrators. For SAFER/WMM to say to the perpetrator, "if you would have just smoked a joint, you wouldn't have the urge to rape someone" ignores the underlying pathology, mental and societal problems that really causes a person to commit sexual assault.

Legalize 2012 supports every effort to prevent sexual assault. However, we feel it sends the wrong message to try to link sexual assault with marijuana prohibition. The SAFER/WMM statements are an opportunistic attempt get publicity at the expense of facts and research. There has been NO research that has shown that if perpetrators or victims smoke pot they are less likely to engage in or become victims of sexual assault. There has been ample research that shows that men who consume alcohol are actually less likely to obtain an erection, thus less likely to be able to commit rape. By the SAFER/WMM reasoning then, if more men smoked pot instead of drank, they would be more capable of committing rape, not less.

Legalize 2012 has nothing to do with the cheap publicity stunt perpetrated by SAFER and WMM. The reasons for cannabis relegalization number in the thousands. There is no need to go into the area of preventing sexual assault to make a case of relegalization. It cheapens the cannabis movement, and offends the thousands of women who were the victims of sexual assault by blaming victims of sexual assault for their rapes by saying they used the "wrong drug."

The Legalize 2012 Campaign has been actively working on a freedom-based model to legalization for the 2012 ballot. SAFER and the Women's Marijuana Movement reported recently that they are also working on a ballot initiative, based on the law enforcement model. The SAFER/WMM campaign has no relation to Legalize 2012.

For more memorable takes, visit our Comment of the Day archive.

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9 comments
Shenabuckius
Shenabuckius

men who drink are more likely to commit sexual assault because alcohol changes people.I know men who are as sweet as pie that turn mean when alcohol is involved, and who says they can't get an erection? Who are they basing this on, older men who probably have a hard time getting an erection anyway? If they would've smoked pot they wouldn't care to put in the effort it takes to commit sexual assault. They would either care more about what there was to eat 'cause they have the munchies or they would forget they even thought about raping someone. I would rather be at a party where they were smoking pot than a drinking party any day it would be so much safer, by the way I am a woman.

commenter
commenter

I have no problem with an erection from drinking. If anything, drinking makes me a more amorous person. It's creepy the way that legalize2012 has framed this argument. It's just a cheap attempt to discredit safer. I have read the safer draft for their initiative. What about legalize2012's?

Alcohol certainly increases the likelihood of being raped, whether a victim is drunk and passed out, or whether the perpetrator is drunk. It's not about blaming the victim.

There are many creeps in the race to legalize, and legalize2012 has shown their willingness to use disgusting politics as a means to prop up their organization.

The letter above is without merit, period.

Nevermore
Nevermore

connecting booze and rape is not a stretch at all. Bad timing? sure. difficulty with erections? seriously? We know that all kinds of violence increase with alcohol. THIS is the way politics works. It's kinda like how they demonized caregivers to prop up MMCs, isn't it? I'm all for legalize 2012, but please, lets stick to the mission! We DON'T need advocacy groups beating each other up. just be the best you can be.

http://www.911rape.org/campus-...

http://host.madison.com/ct/new...

pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publication...

Old Man
Old Man

TL. I understand your frustration, But I would not like these comments deleted. So maybe starting a westword sucks thread on some other blog site might be more affective.

Mr. Michael Roberts,

Please tell me who specifically wrote this letter. And if you feel the need to protect who said this, I understand please just say so, so that I may contact them myself. And I'm not going to their site so their web hits can go up.

Furthermore, I just want to say again how dissatisfied I am with advocacy groups. The ones here are run by caregivers who lost the fight of HB1284. When will advocates admit that u don't represent the majority of patients? You represent kids in Hoodies.

the way people like legalize2012 and Miguel lopez "advocate" is far beyond unprofessional. It's so very sad to see how far this industry has dropped into the abyss... Ever think we would be talking about rape and having official responses about this shit two years ago...

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Old Man, not sure to which letter you're referring. If you're talking about the one featured in the Comment of the Day post, it came from Legalize2012.com. The organization's website is linked above. If you mean the TL item, our policy is to protect the privacy of those who post, leaving it to them to disclose additional information, as Legalize2012.com did in the case of its comment.

LakeDude
LakeDude

It's sad to see Legalize 2012 going out of its way to hurt other marijuana legalization advocates.

Also, is it me, or is Legalize 2012 actually the group blaming victims? They are attacking a group of women, including several victims of rape, for speaking out about their experiences and their opinions on the issue.

Very disappointing.

Old Man
Old Man

You know what....

I'm so sick and tired of the advocacy groups. They are now fighting eachother! About what justifies rape! I'm sooooo f$$$ing tired of this shit!

Alcohol does a lot of harm and it seems the lady was just trying to draw a point to prove marijuana is safer. in any occasion!

My GF passed out and was raped in her sleep by two drunk guys. they made her do shots all night and called her a loser if she didn't drink. Do u know of anyone who has been through rape legalize2012? This woman has the spirit and capacity to talk about her experience and move forward. how dare you judge her on any level! the fact that your even attacking this woman when she is on the same side as you is f$$$ing pathetic.

Shame on you leagalize2012!! your response proves you are not in it to only legalize but to get your little "donation." So please go away.

Your response to this discusts me. Go away. I can't believe you dropped this low. I wanna know who specificly who wrote this response...

TL
TL

You know what's worse than that, a media company whose existence depends on ads for prostitutes. Maybe Westword should consider a new name, The Hooker Gazette. I actually came to this page just now to see if Westword had reported anything about this, since you were high and mighty last week bashing your competitor for not disclosing its dirty laundry. I was right. You have reported nothing about this! A response should be interesting.

http://www.observer.com/2011/r...

Village Voice Media CEO Mike Lacey employed a simple, often devastatingly successful strategy for gaining control of the country's alternative weekly business: acquire the local paper, cut editorial costs (lay off critics, reporters and, reportedly, entire fact-checking departments), pump the paper full of nationally syndicated content and splash an occasional local investigative piece on the cover.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

TL, just last week I noted in a blog post about the arrest of Christian and Theresa Laswell for allegedly pimping a seventeen-year-old that the arrest affidavit in the case mentioned ads on Denver.backpage.com, which is owned, like Westword, by Village Voice Media. I also noted that the site's policy is not to accept ads connected to illegal activity -- something the Laswell's allegedly ignored. Here's the link:

http://blogs.westword.com/late...

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