Kansas City Star Column About Rape Sparks Controversy And An Apology

Jul 10, 2016

Laura Herrick's piece for the Midwest Voices column in The Kansas City Star argued that it is a woman's responsibility not to get drunk to the point that she could be a victim of sexual assault.
Credit KCUR 89.3

A column published Friday evening in The Kansas City Star website (and in the print edition Saturday) has been removed from The Star’s website, after backlash from the community and other media outlets.

The column, titled “Women can take action to prevent rapes,” argues that women should take responsibility for their bodies by not getting so intoxicated that they become victims of sexual assault or rape.

That elicited strong reactions on Facebook and Twitter.

The column was written by Laura Herrick, as a part of “Midwest Voices,” a series of columns written by members of the community. According to The Star, the contributing writers span the political spectrum.

Many critics said the column blamed victims of sexual assault.

An editorial in the Pitch blasted the Star, calling the column a “defense of rape.”

The Kansas City Star's publisher Tony Berg issued an official apology on the Star’s website Saturday evening, saying that in hindsight, the article should never have been published.

“As an older brother to two sisters," Berg writes, "I believe when a person is sexually assaulted, it’s not their fault. Period.”

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and producer at KCUR. Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig