Friday, December 08, 2006

UK Study Suggests That Alcohol Nullifies Need For Consent To Sex

Times Online UK

Juries are reluctant to convict men of rape in cases where the alleged victim has been drinking, research published today suggests.

They appear to believe that it is reasonable for a man to assume that a woman’s silence amounts to consent, even if it is due to her intoxication. Even if a woman’s drink has been spiked, they are reluctant to find a defendant guilty of rape.

This last part about spiked drinks is the most revealing. If you are female and you drink, you have no right to legal protection. And the ethics and methods of the rapist don't matter.

If you are male and you use alcohol or other "social" drugs to help you take girls and women who you couldn't have without those substances, you have plenty of jurors in your corner. Sure they may not always approve of you, but their disapproval of your victim far outweighs their opinion of what you have done.

With these attitudes men can go out every night of the week with the intention of taking girls and women who don't want them and the most those men are likely to suffer is an annoying rape trial. But maybe even then men can get revenge if their rape victims are charged with a crime for falsely claiming to be a rape victim.

Don't all girls and women know that drinking alcohol is the same as signing a blank check that any man can cash?

I wonder if this assumption that drunkenness is a blank check means that taking your car keys and your keys from you without a fight means that you consented to give your car away. Somehow I doubt that would be a viable defense on the charges of grand theft auto.

Not only does this attitude impact rape cases, it impacts the frequency of rape. These jurors are communicating that whenever a girl or woman takes a drink she can be raped and they won't care enough to do anything about it.
Even when a woman had unknowingly consumed a spiked drink, juries were reluctant to convict defendants of rape, unless they were convinced that the drink had been spiked with the specific intention of sexual assault, as opposed to "loosening up" a reluctant partner.
Giving alcohol or drugs to someone to "loosen them up" is giving alcohol or drugs to someone with the specific intention to commit sexual assault. But by calling it "loosening up" the man planning rape can rationalize that the alcohol allows her the freedom to have him do to her what she really wants him to do.

If people who excuse the rape and the sexual exploitation of girls and women under the influence dropped their rationalizations it would cause them see how pervasive sexual assault really is and it would cause them see how many so-called good men have committed rape.

Believing the myth that all rapists are obvious monsters is less disturbing. Unfortunately, it allows men like this to claim they did nothing illegal:
A WARWICKSHIRE man used his mobile phone to film two women as he sexually assaulted them in their sleep, a court heard. Charles Bowen, of Northumberland Road, Leamington, has denied the rape of one of the women, a 19-year-old, at a party at a large country house. He also denies a charge of sexually assaulting another woman a week before.
Apparently, sleep also nullifies the need for consent.

Once this sort of behavior becomes normalized and identified as being the victim's fault it becomes easier for rapists to justify raping girls and women who aren't drinking and who aren't sleeping.

Rape must be nipped in the bud, not allowed to flourish until it becomes so horrendous that the rapist shifts from being a normal man into someone who must be locked up for life.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:02 AM   7 comments links to this post


At December 08, 2006 9:30 AM, Blogger Mickle said...

The part that I've never understood (ok, I understand, it just isn't logical) is that people can't seem to apply the same ideas to rape as they do to DUI.

Everyone understands that getting into a car with a drunk driver is not the most responsible thing to do. And yet if there is a crash, it's only the driver (and possibly sober passengers) that get in trouble, not any drunk people who may be injured in the crash. And if it were ever the case that someone has passed out, and then was placed in the car with a drunk driver by someone else, and consequently injured, no one would have any problems distinguishing the (possible) moral failings of the drunk passenger from their lack of criminal actions and victim status.

Yeah, I know, analogies like are hardly prefect, it's just that our attitudes toward alcohol and rape is so completely different from our attitudes toward alcohol and other criminal activity that it's jarring.

At December 08, 2006 10:03 AM, Blogger sailorman said...

See, that is just fucking INSANE.

Giving someone alcohol without their knowledge or consent should be criminal. (In fact, I'm pretty sure it already IS criminal, so perhaps we need to focus more on publicity.) I realize it's probably near-impossible to prove, but we should publicly decry it as unacceptable.

Many rape statutes don't account for intoxicated victims who get THEMSELVES drunk. Just FYI, this is probably a holdover from other areas of criminal law: you can't escape from most intent by being drunk if you caused is, so if you get drunk and rape/steal/drive/etc you can't

IMO the reason that "plying" someone with alcohol ("Can I buy you a drink?") will never be illegal is taht it is almost impossible to distinguish between legal behavior and illegal behavior. that by no means suggests that it is good or proper--merely that our Constitutional due process probably means we can't write a good law to address it.

At December 08, 2006 10:29 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Sailorman, plying someone who isn't interested in sex with alcohol to impede their ability to stop you is very different from a simple, "Can I buy you a drink?"

Spiking someone's drink with an illegal substance is also criminal behavior whether the substance is illegal because it is a narcotic or the victim is too young to drink legally.

The crime committed is rape, but plying someone with alcohol and/or spiking their drink so they lose the ability to resist are intential acts that show premeditation to commit rape.

At December 08, 2006 10:43 AM, Blogger Holly Desimone said...

Dear Marcella,
Great post, take care. Holly

At December 17, 2006 6:41 AM, Blogger Cheesemeister said...

What a crock of shit!
Yes, I was drunk on the occasions that I was date raped. Yes that is occasions. Yes, being drunk and alone with these bastards was obviously ill advised. But did I ask for it? Hell, no! In fact I told them in no uncertain terms to STOP!!! However, I never reported these incidents because I knew that since I was drunk I would not be believed.

At October 29, 2007 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how sick & angry I feel after reading all of this.

We are currently trying to prosecute an 18 year old male for the rape of our then 16 year old daughter.

Yes there was alcohol involved & no consent given for sex.

It is 2 years later & we are still trying to get the D.A in our county to even consider prosecuting .

No wonder woman blame themselves for rape & don't want to report it.Our society & legal system put them through hell, only to let the rapist go free.

We are not giving up! This young man was WRONG & we intend to make sure the world knows it.

My heart goes out to all the women who have had to endure this. Just know that in the end,all of those men will have to answer to God & he knows what really happened. Beyond a reasonable doubt!

At October 29, 2007 2:21 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Good for you on not giving up. Those who allow rapists to get away with rape need to face a backlash even if they allow injustice because they don't know how to get a conviction.

Too often the bottom line is victim blaming. Those who do this need to see that they are aligning themselves with rapists.

My thoughts will be with you and with your daughter.


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