Another day on the campaign trail, another eyebrow-raising comment about what women should or shouldn’t do. This time the advice came from Republican presidential candidate John Kasich, the governor of Ohio.
At a town hall in Watertown, N.Y., a first-year student from St. Lawrence University asked Kasich what he’d do as president to help her feel safer regarding “sexual violence, harassment and rape.”
Kasich launched into a quick speech about ensuring rape kits and other resources are available to victims of sexual assault.
“In our state, we think that when you enroll you ought to absolutely know that if something happens to you along the lines of sexual harassment or whatever, you have a place to go where there is a confidential reporting, where there is an ability for you to access a rape kit, where that is kept confidential, but where it gives you an opportunity to be able to pursue justice after you have had some time to reflect on it all,” he said. “We are in a process of making sure that all higher education in our state — and this ought to be done in the country — that our coeds know exactly what the rules are, what the opportunities are, what the confidential policies are, so that you are not vulnerable, at risk and can be preyed upon.”
Continued the student, who had not finished saying her piece, “It’s sad that it’s something that I have to worry about just walking…”
“I’d also give you one bit of advice,” Kasich interrupted. “Don’t go to parties where there’s a lot of alcohol.” The room burst into applause.
With this comment, Kasich joined the ranks of those who place the onus for decreasing sexual assaults on female college students, asking them to alter their behaviors and avoid important campus social functions, while the lifestyles and habits of their male counterparts are treated as an unchangeable norm that does not need addressing. This line of thinking runs counter to recent national efforts to address sexual assault on campuses by encouraging bystander intervention and teaching men it is their responsibility not to hurt women, among other things.
It was hardly Kasich’s first time getting tripped up in response to a question by a young woman. Here are some other instances in which he has spoken to or about women awkwardly — or even, some would say, offensively.
Taylor Swift tickets
In an earlier run-in with a female college student, Kasich last October offended 18-year-old college newspaper staffer Kayla Solsbak when she raised her hand to ask a question and he reportedly said, “I’m sorry, I don’t have any Taylor Swift concert tickets.” She went on to pen an op-ed that called his comments condescending.
Women in kitchens
“How did I get elected?” Kasich asked at a campaign event on February. “I didn’t have anybody for me. We just got an army of people, and many women who left their kitchens to go out and to go door to door to put up yard signs for me.” Kasich later conceded women don’t hang out so much in kitchens these days, and later apologized if he offended anyone.
Social Security surprise
At another town hall, Kasich reportedly expressed bewilderment after a young woman asked him a Social Security question, wondering whether someone had told her to inquire about the topic. “I think for myself,” she replied.
The budget slim-down diet
During a November town hall in Iowa, Kaisch chose to describe balancing a budget to a female reporter by asking her, “Have you ever been on a diet?”
So there you have it. Young women questioners, you are John Kasich’s kryptonite.