Republican presidential candidate John Kasich’s response to a St. Lawrence University student’s question about sexual assault in Canton, New York, landed him in pretty hot water during a town hall broadcast on his Facebook page April 15. Viewers reacted to his comments almost immediately on social media.
A young woman asked Kasich: “What are you going to do in office as president to help me feel safer and more secure regarding sexual violence, harassment and rape?” according to a USA Today article.
“I’d also give you one bit of advice, don’t go to parties where there is a lot of alcohol,” Kasich said in his response.
I need a little clarification. Was he trying to say that college women should avoid alcohol and the people who consume it? Or was he saying women shouldn’t attend parties where alcohol has been served to other people in order to avoid being sexually assaulted?
If that’s how he’s responding to a question regarding sexual assault, then is he saying women should avoid many other places than just parties?
You want to go out for dinner? Not if the place serves alcohol, you could be putting yourself at risk. Want to attend your older sister’s wedding, and there’s a open bar? Definitely steer clear of that place.
I don’t know what’s worse: The fact that Kasich is implying that women in college simply cannot handle themselves around people who have been drinking or that he’s telling a potential victim to avoid certain social situations instead of dealing with the perpetrators and holding them accountable for their actions which is the perfect definition of victim blaming.
Kasich doesn’t seem to understand the criticism over his comments suggesting that college women can prevent sexual assaults by avoiding parties with alcohol.
Kasich noted in an interview on April 17, that his two 16-year-old daughters will someday go to college parties where there’s alcohol in an interview with CNN.
His advice to them was: “It’s just — you have to be careful. When alcohol is involved, it becomes more difficult for justice to be rendered, for a whole variety of reasons, but we can still find the perpetrator.”
To me, that means he’s saying by attending parties where alcohol is present, you’re making it harder for law enforcement to identify the person who sexually assaulted you. He isn’t looking out for your safety and didn’t say what he said in order to protect you and try to avoid something like that from happening to you, he’s just worried about finding the person who did it.
The idea that his comments could have crossed a serious line with activists and victims didn’t really seem to bother him. He didn’t understand why people were reacting so negatively and when asked if he thought his remarks had crossed the line and made it seem like he was victim shaming, Kasich said he did not think that.
“Actually, I don’t know how anybody would take it that way,” Kasich said in the same interview with CNN.
This wasn’t the first incident. Kasich has had a habit of making awkward comments to and about women throughout his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
A young woman raised her hand to ask a question at a recent talk in Richmond, Vermont, and before she could even speak, Kasich told her. “I’m sorry, I don’t have any Taylor Swift concert tickets.”
He also recently questioned whether a female teenager had come up with a question about social security by herself, according to the USA Today article.
Honestly, I’m completely appalled that this man has even a chance at becoming the president of our country, even if the odds are similar to that of finding a needle in a haystack. From the perspective of a female college student, I think he should keep his “advice” to himself.
Email Madison Winters at firstname.lastname@example.org