WATERTOWN, New York — Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Friday told a young female college student, who said she was worried about sexual harassment and violence, that she should avoid parties with a lot of alcohol.
The young woman, a first-year student at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, had asked the Ohio governor at a town hall here how he would help her “feel safer and more secure regarding sexual violence, harassment and rape” as president.
In answering the question, Kasich talked about efforts in Ohio to provide support for college students facing sexual harassment, such as access to confidential reporting, rape kits and the opportunity to “pursue justice after you have had some time to reflect on it all.”
Kasich said these efforts should be extended to the rest of the country as well so that students “know exactly what the rules are” and do not feel vulnerable. He also reflected on how having two daughters affects his views on the issue.
“I have two 16-year-old daughters and I don’t even like to think about it,” Kasich said.
“It’s sad, but it’s something that I have to worry about,” the student responded.
Kasich jumped in, saying he had advice.
“Well I would give you, I’d also give you one bit of advice. Don’t go to parties where there’s a lot of alcohol. OK? Don’t do that,” Kasich said as the audience applauded.
The Democratic National Committee criticized Kasich’s comments for “blaming victims of sexual and domestic violence.”
“It is no wonder women are turning away from the Republican field in huge numbers,” DNC spokeswoman Christina Freundlich said in a statement. “Our country deserves a president who will stand with them, not put the blame on them.”
Kasich is stumping in New York in the run-up to Tuesday’s primary there, hoping a second place win in the state will help him as he trails businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the delegate count.