Anna C has left a new comment on your post "Violence Against Women Is A Issue About The Behavi...":
This isn't exactly on topic, but I wanted to ask you something about what you define as rape. I've been reading your blog for a while and am very interested in the issues that you discuss, and have become much more aware of the victim-blaming in our culture (I'm from England by the way).
I was watching Law and Order this afternoon, and the situation was this: a woman had been drugged with ghb at a party by a man obviously intending to rape her. He did, and she was left dishevelled and wandering around the flat. Another boy at the party was friends with the girl but wansn't in a relationship with her. He didn't know that she had been drugged and therefore was incapable of consenting. He saw her crying and looking tired - and he knew that she had been sick - so he took her into his room, meaning to try to comfort her. They chatted for a while, and then she kissed him. Then they had sex. The police later treated this as rape.
Do you think it is? Because though maybe it wasn't perfectly moral to have sex with her when she was so intoxicated that she had vomited, but it is rape? How was he to know that she didn't want sex? She never said no, she never indicated that she wanted him to stop - in fact the opposite. But on the other hand, she couldn't legally consent (though of course the second guy didn't know this). So did he rape her?
I responded in the comments with:
Yes, he raped her. When someone arrives obviously traumatized emotionally and physically as you describe then that rules out the possibility of consent. That isn't unknowable so the second rapist is no accidental rapist.
Taking a traumatized girl to his room is no innocent action. Since he didn't know what happened to her and with the known possibility that drinks get spiked with drugs, he should have called 911. Failing to do so in that situation could contribute to the death of someone who has been drugged and raped.
Even if he assumed she had consumed only alcohol, failing to call 911 is criminally negligent since girls can die of acute alcohol poisoning and timely medical intervention can save lives
She responded with:
Thanks for responding! I have a few more questions - I really appreciate your thoughts...
You said that it would be criminally negligent not to call 911 when he saw the girl in that state. But the only consequence of the alcohol he saw was the fact that she had been sick. Tons of people get that drunk on a semi-regular basis, and they are fine - surely it would be a bit extreme to call 911 every time someone was sick after drinking?
And I know it obviously wasn't a completely "innocent" action to take the girl to his room. But, looking at the situation from his point of view - since he saw her just as an upset girl, who might have had an argument with a friend - surely he isn't guilty of rape just because he had the possbility of having sex with her in the back of his mind when he tried to comfort her?
So basically, his actions (from his point of view) come down to
1. seeing a drunk, upset girl
2. she makes a move on him
3. he has sex with her
Do you really think that this can be rape? Because I think it's a bit unreasonable to expect that his mind would immediately junp to "her drink's been spiked" when he sees her looking intoxicated. She wasn't unconscious or anything - she could hold a conversation and everything.
(By the way, don't think I'm on his side - I suppose I'm paying devil's advocate here slightly - just trying to work out what I think about the situation. My instinctive reaction is to think that she definately was raped the second time, because she couldn't consent. But the second guy isn't crimanally responsible, for it wan't reasonable for him to expect to know that she couldn't. Instead, maybe the first guy - and any others who helped him prepare the date rape drug - should be tried for both rapes, since they created the situation?)
I disagree with your assessment of his actions from his POV. That assessment at most matches the rationalizations and excuses he would give for his actions if he faced a criminal investigation. Someone's rationalizations which support the decisions they make are not the same thing as the situation from their perspective.
The reason this gets missed by so many people is that boys committing rape in this sort of situation -- someone else incapacitated the girl and raped her -- is common and when it comes to light because of a rape allegation or the death of a girl, many people rush to make excuses for all the rapists involved.
This gives us the "she was really raped but he isn't really a rapist" excuse. That is an impossibility because the burden to ensure she isn't about to raped when he has sex with her belongs to him. If there is any possibility at all that she is impaired or not freely consenting then proceeding is rape.
The same would be true if the genders were reversed and the drugged teen were a boy and the drugger and the victim's friend were both girls.
In the example you gave from Law and Order there were multiple indicators which the friend deliberately choose to ignore or minimize. There's nothing accidental or innocent about someone doing this.
The commonness of rape and the commonness of ignoring the safety of girls because boys want to score while girls have fewer defenses cannot be used as an excuse.
"All the other boys are raping incapacitated girls and getting away with it with no visible harm to anyone" cannot be a valid reason to let a boy like this one be viewed as anything other than a rapist.
On the drinking and drugging, not calling for help is to deliberately leave this girl's survival up to chance. Notice that all his guesswork favored taking advantage of this girl who had been drugged and raped by minimizing everything he was aware of that pointed to a previous assault and to a possible dangerous level of alcohol consumption.
When playing Russian Roulette most of the time firing one shot results in no harm to the person with a revolver pointed at them. We understand clearly in this situation that using odds to justify ignoring the possibility of death cannot be an acceptable excuse.
Using the fact that most of the time nobody dies after puking from too much alcohol or too much substances as an excuse is as dangerous as pulling the trigger on a revolver with only one bullet in it, but it is an easier action to take because the unknown poison (by the time alcohol makes you puke it has become a poison your body is trying to expel) is already in the other person's body.
This isn't a purely theoretical issue.
When I was 16 I had 2 men pour enough alcohol down me to give me alcohol poisoning and if the men who found me incoherent where I had been dumped decided to do as this boy did, I'd most likely have died that night. Instead they made the ethical and legal choice and took me immediately to the hospital where my stomach was pumped.
If either of those guys had had sex with me in that state they would have chosen to be a rapist even though I was past the point of saying no. My physical distress was real and ignoring or minimizing it into nothing detectable would have been deliberate and done for purely self-serving reasons.
There have been too many cases where boys made the decision to do as this fictional boy did and after having sex with an incapacitated girl that girl died because of alcohol poisoning or from being drugged.
Any erring must be on the side of protecting those around us. From your description: "... she was left dishevelled and wandering around the flat." it would be clear to anyone willing to see it that she was in acute physical distress.
This is the point where this girl's welfare was cast aside in favor of her acquaintance's selfish desire. Rationalization is the tool which makes unethical and illegal actions into nothing more than providing comfort. The statement: "he saw her just as an upset girl, who might have had an argument with a friend..." is a deliberate rationalization. The word "might" is critical because it indicates baseless speculation.
We have dishevelled, wandering, crying, puking and that's just what this boy knows about. Any one of these by itself should be a huge stop sign, but together they are the equivalent of flashing emergency lights.
So basically, his actions (from his point of view) come down to
1. seeing a traumatized and vulnerable girl who will likely be viewed by witnesses as being drunk, cooperative and slutty
2. deciding to move her to his room rather than getting her any professional help to ensure her safety
3. she kisses him which gives him the defense of "it was consensual" and since he knows her that defense has a greater chance of being plausible (there are no witnesses so if this claim is false nobody will be able to prove it and the victim isn't likely to be able to testify that she didn't kiss him)
4. he uses her vulnerability as a substitute for meaningful consent