Thursday, September 24, 2009

Drunk, painful, unwanted; Rape.

It’s three in the morning. You have it inside you right now. It kind of hurts. You’ve had one too many cups of jungle juice. You think his name is Andrew, but you’re not really sure. You thought you would never be that girl, but there you are, in your drunken haze.

You wake up the day after to an unfamiliar ceiling, some guy who smells like booze, AXE body spray and, well, something else. He wants to cuddle and you’re starting to think maybe this drunken hook-up [ ________ ].

Reader: How did the AU Eagle complete that sentence?

a. You’re starting to think maybe this drunken hook-up was rape.

b. You’re starting to think maybe this drunken hook-up was a product of society’s shaming of female sexuality, which encourages women to resort to dangerous, heavily intoxicated, and painful sex with strangers instead of openly pursuing empowered, respectful, and satisfying sexual experiences with desired sexual partners.

c. You’re starting to think maybe this drunken hook-up could turn into something.

Amanda Hess has the write up at The Sexist on how this is, if nothing else, bad sex advice. She also points out that there's still a lot of confusion over whether or not it's Rape. Let's be clear:

If you wake up and someone's in the process of penetrating you - that's Rape.
If you weren't there for all the stuff that led up to that moment (ie were not actively, enthusiastically, lucidly engaged), then it was unwanted. Wanted means pursued - which means there was some activity happening. Unwanted = Rape.
If "huh?" is the first thing that crosses your mind, that's not a drunken hook-up, that's Rape.

“How the hell is that rape?” wrote one. “I hear of this kind of stuff happening all the time.”

Yea, it's Rape. And it happens all the time.
That it happens is not nullifying.

Sure, I can imagine a world where kids (or adults) drink a lot and then have sex (sex, not rape). But pretending that we don't know the line between drunk-sex and Rape is just that - pretending. We know the difference when a person wants to be doing something, and when we're exploiting a vulnerable situation. Calling it "gray" or drunken, or regrettable, or normal - is a lie, and only shows your willingness to cover for rapists.

And for the apologists - or, unapologists as it were - at the Eagle: Using the "seriousness" of Rape and sexual assault to silence protests over bad media, only makes your media worse. Don't pretend to be defending women and victims by co-opting the very event you're minimizing.


Anonymous said...

As a man, I find this a deeply troubling post.

I have a problem with a notion that if a very, very heavily intoxicated woman drunkenly consents to sex, which she would never have done sober, that's 'rape.'

If she was equally drunk - barely able to stand - and staggered out and got into her car, she'd have been pulled over and arrested for drink driving.

She's held responsible for her actions in one scenario (the driving) but not in another (the sex) which is a double standard.

Now PERSONALLY I think any guy who has sex with a woman who's that drunk is pretty much a sleazeball - but if she says 'yes' than you've to respect her autonomy to make that decision.

Otherwise, you're arguing that women who drink a certain amount should be legally banned from consenting to sex - that fifth vodka and redbull should come with a chastity belt.

Or else, you're going to say that once you've reached a certain level of intoxication, you shouldn't be held responsible for your actions - which means the girl can get off the drink driving charge, too (and by that logic, men who rape while intoxicated should be let off.)

In that scenario, we should simply ban alcohol altogether.

Let's just be clear. Rape is when a man has sex with a woman who doesn't, or can't consent. "No" isn't the only thing that means no. Anything other than a clear, unequivocal 'yes' means no as well.

If a girl's passed out and a guy has sex with her - rape.

If a girl says no and a guy has sex with her - rape.

But if a girl is drunk enough to make a very ill-informed decision to say 'yes' - even if she's in the midst of an alcohol 'blackout' (which means she is still talking and active, but will have no memory of it the following day) then it's NOT rape. It's just an immensely bad decision. Likewise, if she got into a fight, or got into a car, she would be held legally responsible for actions she might not even remember taking.

We should all be held accountable for what we do, even when intoxicated, and that includes consenting to sex.

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