Clarification for Chapman

Guest column by Orange Chief of Police Tom Kisela

On Aug. 25, 2016, I was invited to speak at the orientation for new students. Unfortunately, some of my comments were not well-received and my intent was misunderstood in The Panther the following day.  Therefore, please allow me to expand on my views that prompted my comments.  

Chief of Police Tom Kisela

Chief of Police Tom Kisela

Women should feel safe and be free of threats in all places and at all times. However, this is not the reality in which we live. Counseling young women to be cautious about drinking at parties is in no way meant to be misogynistic or a subtle effort at attaching blame to the victims of sexual assault.  It was said in hopes that there will be no victims.  

It is unfortunate that we live in a time when there are those who will take advantage of opportunities to commit horrible acts, a point that should have been emphasized during the orientation.

Those who commit those acts might suffer appropriate consequences such as jail time, probation and fines. They might even be appropriately branded as sex offenders for life. While these consequences are serious, they in no way compare to the life-long psychological impact carried by the victim.  

My comments were not intended to cast blame on victims. I am simply asking that you not put yourself in the position where you are exposed to greater risk unnecessarily. Statistically, women are significantly more likely to be the victims of sexual assault than men. Therefore, it only made sense to focus my comments on those most likely to be victimized. However, that is not to exclude men from being victimized as well.

I started my comments at the orientation meeting by saying that my goal was to see all of you leave Chapman safe, intact, unharmed and alive. As for furthering patriarchal values, yes, I am.  Besides being the chief of police, I’m also a father to a daughter that I dearly love. When she eventually goes off to college, I will be giving her similar advice about the dangers associated with drinking. I want her to be safe, to have every opportunity life can afford her and to teach her as best I can.  

My goal and hope is, and will be, that you all leave Chapman safe, intact, unharmed and alive. As always, it is my commitment that the men and women of the Orange Police Department will do all they reasonably can to see that happen.

To read The Panther’s editorial on Kisela’s speech, click here.

Read a guest column about Kisela’s speech from a male perspective here.

If you would like to submit a column on this subject, contact opinions editor Doug Close at


  • This is a classic case of missing the point. When you say that women are most likely to be victims, you’re not wrong. However, what you so carefully dance around is calling out the perpetrators of rape. Let’s be honest, most rapes are committed by men (even if the victim is a man). Therefore, we should not be putting all of our focus on the actions and decisions made by the victim. When you refuse to make a call to action to change the behavior and conduct of men, but insist that women will be safer if they don’t drink, then you are perpetuating a victim blaming society. Officer, I know you want to keep your daughter safe from these things and so you have every right to educate her on the dangers and realities of life. But please, don’t exclude your son in the conversation. You should be wanting him to learn the difference between consent and rape so that he doesn’t become the same type of person that you’re warning your daughter against. I can thank you for one thing though, you have opened a dialogue amongst the Chapman community that was due for a wake up call. Listen, think, respond. So that you may be better equipped to truly protect and serve.

  • He’s 100% correct in telling girls to be wary of what they’re drinking, how much they’re drinking, and who they’re drinking around. There are shit people out there regardless of how many times you ask them not to “rape, kill, steal, etc etc”. He’s telling you to be smart and responsible of your own stupid decisions to get black out drunk at your first frat party because you think you can handle your 12 shots of vodka. Don’t put yourself in a stupid situation and then run to your safe space and blame everyone but yourself for your poor decisions.

    • But yet the frat guys can drink and not be afraid that something bad will happen to them at that same party? Again, you are completely missing the point that it should not matter who has or has not had alcohol. It should matter that we are teaching students and human beings to value and respect the bodies and the consent of another human being, regardless of whether or not they choose to drink. It should not have ANY affect on whether or not a young girl ends up raped.
      And please do not say that someone who has been sexually assaulted or raped can “run to [their] safe space and blame everyone but [themselves] for [their] poor decisions.” Victims DO NOT ASKED TO BE RAPED. THEY ARE NOT MAKING A POOR DECISION WHEN THEY ARE NONCONSENTUALLY ASSAULTED BY ANOTHER HUMAN BEING. Please educate yourself.

    • If you are going to warn about the dangers of drinking, the discussion should be about driving while intoxicated, possibly getting alcohol poisoning, or possible damage done to the liver.

      Rape is not a danger of drinking. Rape is a crime.

      People can choose to drink however much they want. That does not invite others to commit a crime against them.

      If I were to break into your house and steal your television, no one would say “well, you really shouldn’t have made your windows so easy to break into, so that’s on you.” It doesn’t even matter if you left your door unlocked. I would be a criminal for entering your home without clear permission. How could that possibly not be understood when it comes to someone’s body?

      Rape is not a consequence of a mistake. Rape is a criminal act of violence.

    • When I was raped, I was sober and the perpetrator was my boyfriend of the time. What would you have told me then? You expect me to be held accountable for that? Obviously one must be aware of their surroundings and such but it is STILL the fault of the rapist’s, not the victim.

  • Instead of teaching women not to drink, how about teaching everyone NOT TO RAPE? The reality of the situation is that drinking does not cause rape. Rapists are the cause. So maybe just teach guys how to treat women with respect?

  • Alcohol doesn’t cause rape. Rapists cause rape. So instead of punishing potential victims, why don’t we teach potential perpetrators to treat everyone with respect??

  • Uh…huh…and where is the evidence packet we handed over to the orange police THREE years ago when my daughter was attacked??? We have never heard a word from OPD.

    • I know of a similar situation in which a girl was ignored by OPD. I am sorry to hear the same happened to someone else.

  • People weren’t upset that he told girls to be weary of drinking because boys can be victims too. People were upset because he chose to victim blame rather than teach boys not to rape. Victim blaming and misogynistic speech may not have been his intention, but it sure as hell is what he did. Girls don’t put themselves in a situation to be raped or sexually assaulted because it can and does happen all the time in every kind of situation imaginable. Stop telling girls how not to get raped and start teaching boys to not rape. It’s not that difficult of a concept to grasp.

  • Orange Chief of Police Tom Kisela is 100% correct in what he’s advocating here. There are some deranged individuals who will attempt to take advantage of others no matter how often you tell them it’s wrong. Incoming freshman often do not know how much alcohol they can handle. Girls or boys getting themselves highly intoxicated only makes it easier for these people to carry out their sick intentions. Watch how much you drink, and you won’t have to worry about sick individuals trying taking advantage of you.

  • Why would you invite a law enforcement employee to come speak at orientation for new college students? As a general rule, people in law enforcement never even went to college themselves and spend the vast majority of their effort raising revenue by issuing traffic tickets and other fine based civil infractions. The best policy is to keep the police away from the students, unless absolutely necessary.

  • Hey, I’m no fan of the cops, and statistically, they have a bigger problem with sex-crimes than does the general population.

    But the guy was asked to come and give some “bullet-point” advice to the freshmeat … I mean fresh(wo)men. If it were a college class, then he would be a so much more precise professor. What top-cop said to the freshmeat females was spot-on appropriate.

    Mr. top-cop is part of the “clean-up” team. After the frat-boys go wilding. AFTER the rapes have already happened. His advice is not for the long-term transformation of society into a sexually polite world, but instead, how to keep some jerk from transmitting his STDs at the frat party to an unwilling receptacle two weeks down the road.

    Anyway, by the time any boy at college has arrived, he’s already the proto-rapist he’ll ever be. Top-cop was just confirming that the unknown rapist will always be there, and that parties where alcohol is served is their stinkiest magnet. Since it’s the female freshmeat that takes the biggest hit, THEY should take special care to avoid that consequence. All other more intricate instructions should be by an accredited instructor.

    Top-cop is simply telling the most frequently victimized group hiow they can better protect themselves.


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