‘Women should change behaviour to avoid date rape’: Neomi Rao faces scrutiny

Indian-American woman, Rao, faced fierce questioning from Democrats not just for her work in the Trump administration but for commentary she wrote decades ago as a Yale University student suggesting women should change their behaviour to avoid date rape.
Indian-American woman, Neomi Rao, serves as Trump’s “czar” overseeing regulatory rollbacks,(Neomi Rao)
Indian-American woman, Neomi Rao, serves as Trump’s “czar” overseeing regulatory rollbacks,(Neomi Rao)
Updated on Feb 06, 2019 08:56 AM IST
Copy Link
Indo Asian News Service | ByIndo Asian News Service

The judicial wars returned to Washington on Tuesday as the Senate Judiciary Committee met to consider Neomi Rao, President Donald Trump’s nominee for newest Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s now-vacant seat on a powerful appellate court in Washington.

Indian-American woman, Rao, who serves as Trump’s “czar” overseeing regulatory rollbacks, faced fierce questioning from Democrats not just for her work in the Trump administration but for commentary she wrote decades ago as a Yale University student suggesting women should change their behaviour to avoid date rape.

“I cringe” at some of the language, Rao told the senators during her testimony on Tuesday. As most every Democratic senator on the dais mentioned her early writings, Rao stressed that they occurred nearly “two decades” ago at a “time of exploration” in college.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who recently publicly disclosed she had been a victim of sexual assault, said Rao’s columns gave her “pause”, CNN reported.

In one piece for the Yale Herald written in 1994 titled “Shades of Gray,” Rao responded to an alleged date rape incident on campus by writing: “It has always seemed self-evident to me that even if I drank a lot, I would still be responsible for my actions.”

She added: “A man who rapes a drunk girl should be prosecuted. At the same time, a good way to avoid a potential date rape is to stay reasonably sober.”

On Tuesday, Rao said that when she was writing about the incident she emphasised that rape is a crime and no one should “blame the victim” but that she had attempted to make a “common-sense observation” that there were some actions a woman could take so it would be less likely she would become a victim. Rao said she hoped she has “matured” as a writer and a person.

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont seized on her comments and said that as a former prosecutor, he had dealt with rape cases. He said he feared her sentiments might lead some women to be too ashamed to report rape.

Rao responded that she had made it “very clear” that “rape is a terrible crime for which men should be held responsible.”

“I was trying to make in perhaps not the most elegant way the sort of common-sense observation... It’s the advice my mother gave me; it’s the advice that I give my children. And I certainly regret any implication of blaming the victim,” she said.

Other Republicans leaped to her defence, pointing out that the American Bar Association had given her a rating of “well qualified.” The Senate committee is majority Republican.

The top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, as well as Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, focused on Rao’s work for the Trump administration and its goal to roll back agency regulations.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Representational image

    11 babies killed in Senegal hospital fire

    Eleven newborn babies died in a hospital fire in the western Senegalese city of Tivaouane, the president of the country said late Wednesday. Just before midnight in Senegal, Macky Sall announced on Twitter that 11 infants had died in the blaze. "To their mothers and their families, I express my deepest sympathy," Sall added. "The fire spread very quickly," Sy said. The city's mayor Demba Diop said "three babies were saved".

  • FILE - In this July 20, 2012, photo, a row of different AR-15 style rifles are displayed for sale in Aurora, Colorado. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

    AR-15 assault rifle used by Salvador Ramos in Texas shooting: 5 things to know

    List of shootings this year Why is it so dangerous? AR-15 rifles are feared because they fire high-velocity bullets at triple the speed of a handgun, are accurate over long distances, and cause devastating wounds. Over 140 children and adults killed in America's 8 deadliest school shootings The NRA claims the rifles are used for recreational target practice and home defense, but critics say their lethality means they do not belong in civilian hands.

  • Imran Khan reached Islamabad in the early hours on Thursday. 

    Imran Khan gives 6 days to govt for announcing polls: ‘Will return to Islamabad’

    After a massive show of strength, which held Pakistani cities under siege until Thursday morning as Imran Khan's Azadi march reached the capital Islamabad in the early hours of Thursday, former prime minister Imran Khan warned that if election dates are not announced within six days, he will again come to Islamabad.

  • An FBI agent is seen outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 25, 2022.

    Texas student caught with firearms outside school day after mass shooting horror

    A student in Texas, United States, was caught with firearms outside a high school in Richardson city, the police department said, a day after mass shooting in the US state sent shockwaves across the world. In a statement, the Richardson Police Department said that it received a phone call at 10.55 am (local time) in the 1500 block of East Spring Valley Road, reporting a male holding what appeared to be a rifle.

  • Representational image

    Indian-origin lawyers fined for delaying execution of drug trafficker

    Two Indian-origin Singaporean lawyers have been ordered to pay SGD20,000 ( 1,127,200) in costs to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) for a last-ditch attempt to halt the execution of an Indian descendant Malaysian drug trafficker Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam in April this year. Nagaenthran was hanged at Changi Prison Complex on April 27, 2022. His appeals against his conviction and sentence were dismissed in 2011.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, May 26, 2022