Good Sex, Bad Sex, Drunk Sex, Rape

Conversations on Campus Sexual Assault

At CPAC 2017, I had the opportunity to sit down with E. Everett Bartlett, Ph. D., President of Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), an organization dedicated to “working for policy reform to protect all victims and stop false allegations.” We spoke about campus sexual assault. The FIRST thing he told me is this, “We care about BOTH, the victims AND the accused.”

Drunk Sex Scenario

Two young adults are students at the same college. On a Saturday night, each one goes out drinking with friends. The two meet at a party. They talk and flirt and have fun. They continue to drink more alcohol. They kiss while dancing and then go looking for a more private space. They wake up together in a room that belongs to neither one of them. Their clothes are on the floor. Both come to the realization that they had sex the night before.

One of them is encouraged by friends and family to report the encounter as a rape. The other is told by friends, “Congrats.” One of them regrets the encounter and now feels that the label “rape victim” fits and attends group sessions to talk about it. The other feels fine about the encounter, until being accused of rape. Without any intervention from law enforcement authorities or the legal system, this one is expelled from school.

Why the different outcomes for the two? One is a man. One is a woman. For all the feminists screaming for “true equality” they want a protection for women that is not granted to men. They want to eschew responsibility for their own actions, consume alcohol in large quantities, engage in sexual activity, and then be permitted (even encouraged) to call it “rape” if they regret it afterwards.

Let’s not argue about it. Rape IS horrible.

Rape does exist, of course. It is a real thing. And it is unspeakably terrible. The hope that people are not raped is nearly universal, except in the mind of rapists. There are violent rapes, like those at knife point or those by pure force owing to greater strength. There are rape situations in which one of them is saying no and pushing away, and the other forces them into sex anyway. This used to be commonly referred to as “date rape.”

But what is it?

AND… there are drunken encounters in which the woman is encouraged, even pressured, to call it rape. Even when she is not certain she thinks that it was. On the popular TV show, Switched at Birth, close friends Bay and Tank have a drunken sexual encounter. Bay is told by counselors, friends, and family that what happened is rape. Tank thought she was a willing participant. Bay ends up confused about whether she was actually raped. Tank is expelled from school. It is possible that a young man such as Tank would then carry the stigma of being labeled as a “sexual predator” FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. How many times can he explain to a co-worker, prospective employer, neighbor, parent of his kids’ school friends — “I had sex in college when we were both drunk. I thought she wanted to.” — who will EVER believe him, believe IN him???

When both are impaired equally, can there be a rape? As Dr. Bartlett pointed out, the blaming of men for the rape of women in these situations infantilizes women, depriving them of their agency. If the man’s recollections are those of mutual consent, of both being willing participants, and the women’s are, “I didn’t want to,” which one is right? Is it possible that the woman acted like she was enjoying herself? Is it possible that she WAS enjoying herself and WANTED to have sex at that moment? Were they BOTH willing? Is she allowed to feel regret the next day, and THEN call it rape?

Equal Rights?

Are we asking a drunk man, who is consorting with an equally drunk woman, to judge HER level of drunkenness in HIS impaired state, in order to determine whether her seemingly-willing participation is legal consent? Can a man who wakes up regretting an encounter describe it after the fact as a rape?

Dr. Bartlett explained that intoxicated people are capable of making decisions and are legally responsible for those decisions. If a person drinks enough, he or she becomes incapacitated (muted responses, very little to no purposeful activity, “passed out”). At this point, they should not be making any momentous decisions, nor be included in ANY sexual activity. Remember that intoxicated people ARE held responsible if they get into a car and drive. They cannot be excused by explaining that they were drunk, intoxicated, or even incapacitated. The legal responsibilities of alcohol-soaked decision-making is most certainly a thorny issue.

 Step by Step, Yes or No

“Affirmative consent” or the “Yes means yes” directive is increasingly mandated to be taught to our children today. Are we prepared to limit our sexuality to only that which has been discussed verbally and agreed to verbally? Should we require written consent for each kiss and touch? Dr. Bartlett, in his testimony before the Maryland House as they debate their own affirmative consent legislation, challenged the members to use 100% affirmative consent in their own sex lives. Wonder how many went home and instituted the policy, which involves an intricate series of requests for permission to do a specific act and then constantly making sure there is a “yes” answer before proceeding?

As reported by The College Fix, Dr. Bartlett finds the Maryland legal application of affirmative consent, proposed to be taught in schools, unworkable and harmful. Unworkable because it is a “minefield of ambiguity” and harmful because it “trivializes the seriousness of sexual assault, plays down binge drinking, turns every romantic embrace into a potential legal minefield, and clears the way for sex partners to retroactively claim they didn’t give consent.”

Kangaroo Courts

Rape is a crime. Rape DOES occur on college campuses. So does sex. Lots of it. Good sex, bad sex, drunk sex, sober sex, sex that is celebrated the next day, and sex that is regretted the next day. When a person is raped, should the incident be handled by a campus disciplinary committee, or by the legal system? A kangaroo court is an unofficial judicial system that renders verdicts without adhering to the strict legal rights of the parties involved. Dr. Bartlett explained that on college campuses, while there is no formal admonition, “Don’t go straight to the cops,” for a charge of rape; the message conveyed to students is quite strong, “We will handle it on campus.”

Thomas Sowell writes in Townhall about colleges needing to “do something” about rape via the kangaroo courts, “Why are rapists not reported to the police and prosecuted in a court of law? Apparently this is because of some college women who say that they were raped and are dissatisfied with a legal system that does not automatically take their word for it against the word of someone who has been accused and denies the charge. There seem to be a dangerously large number of people who think that the law exists to give them whatever they want — even when that means denying other people the same rights that they claim for themselves.”

For a violent, forcible rape, expulsion from the school is NOT ENOUGH. For a (seemingly) mutually consensual drunken sex encounter, without a proper legal court case, expulsion from the school is TOO MUCH. There is a lot of territory in between those two extremes. It’s a legal, criminal matter and should be treated as such.

Women are Strong, But Wait… Also Frail and Delicate?

We must ask ourselves some very tough questions.

Why is a drunk man who believes he is having a mutually consensual experience a rapist? Why is a drunk woman who believes she is having a mutually consensual experience NOT a rapist?

In a society that DEMANDS equality for women in all aspects, even going so far as to suggest that women should be drafted into our military and then be forced to serve on the front lines in war (where they ARE likely to get raped; systematic raping of the women as spoils of war is a time-honored tactic of invasion and conquest), why do we want to turn them into delicate little flowers who are incapable of making their own decisions and living with the consequences?

Why do we grant women the power to ruin any man with her words, true or not? We must attempt to get at the real truth. We must understand that although there are rapes that go unreported, not ALL of those that are reported are rapes.

Dr. Bartlett, President of SAVE, cares deeply about this issue, about justice and fairness for both sides. A woman should not see her rapist go unpunished. A man should not be punished if a rape did not occur. We should strive to get it right, for both parties.


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