U of A newspaper column on rape sparks backlash

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

TUCSON, Ariz. -- An opinion columnist at the University of Arizona's newspaper, The Daily Wildcat, sparked an uproar after penning a piece about rape.

Senior Rob Monteleone says he wanted to "preach a little bit of caution and responsibility."

"Reducing the risks of bad things happening to you is your responsibility," he told 3TV.

The paper printed a counter-point piece and has received mixed comments on its website. 

In the column, Monteleone claims a double standard exists and asks, "If drunk women who have sex are able to claim 'rape,' why aren't drunk men alleviated of responsibility for the poor decisions they make?"

He concludes, writing, "Is it not better to exercise some caution beforehand and not have to blame anyone?"

"I don't think there's anything sexist about telling people to be safe," Monteleone said.

Jasmine Lester, who founded Sun Devils Against Sexual Assault after she was sexually assaulted at Arizona State University, takes issues with Monteleone's column.

"When I read the column, I thought it's sad because it's a very common viewpoint," she said.

"Being drunk doesn't evade you from the responsibility of assaulting someone. I think his column is telling rapists that they're not responsible for their crimes," Lester added.

"If you have a nice car and you drive it into a bad neighborhood, you know, lock it. Put your things in the trunk. Take your wallet with you," Monteleone said, hinting that personal responsibility plays a major role in avoiding becoming a victim.

Lester says the analogy does not hold up.

"If you leave your car unlocked in a bad neighborhood and something is stolen, police are still going to treat that as a crime. They're still going to treat you as a victim and try to find the person who did that to you and punish them," she said.