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

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.

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