Being Drunk Is Not Consent
Originally Published: March 31, 2015
Revised: April 3, 2015
I run upstairs and open the doors to various rooms, looking for my close friend at a party. Finally, I open a bedroom door, and there she is, almost fully naked in bed with a sober athlete forcing his tongue down her throat. My eyes lock with his, but he looks away and continues what he’s doing. My friend looks vulnerable, as if she has no control of what’s happening. At first, I close the door and think. Should I stop them? Should I let them continue? No. One of my closest friends is drunk; she can’t consent to what’s happening. Quickly, I grab my other good friend at the party, and we both barge into the room and stop things from going any further.
Rape Is Rape
Although we know you have to be over the age of 21 to consume alcohol in the United States, the reality is some teens drink at social events and parties. Sometimes, people try to take advantage of those under the influence, since they know he or she cannot make coherent decisions. Through aggression, persistence and persuasion, someone who is drunk can be coerced or forced to engage in sexual behaviors. This is rape.
Often, people argue that it is someone’s choice to drink and they should be fully aware of the effects alcohol has on the mind; therefore, it is their fault if they wake up the next morning and realize they were raped. But it is never the fault of the person who was raped. In fact, a person cannot legally consent when he or she is under the influence. Period. So if someone says yes while drunk or high, it is legally a no. If that person who was intoxicated were to press charges for rape, legally it is rape because someone cannot consent to any type of sex, including hooking up, fingering and oral sex, when under the influence. It’s not the person who was drinking’s fault, but it is the fault of whoever takes advantage of someone who is drunk.
See It? Stop It.
People shouldn’t rape. It’s the rapist who is responsible and needs to take full blame for the crime. The blame is often placed on the person raped, especially if alcohol or other substances are involved. This mindset needs to change, and anyone can help change it. If you witness an encounter where you think someone may be raped, you should intervene and stop it.
For example, like I did, you could ask a friend to help you intervene. Or you can help your friend out by creating a diversion or making an excuse. Say you both have to go home since your ride is here, then grab your friend and go. Of course, you can always pull the typical “the cops are coming—everyone get out” diversion to get rid of the potential rapist. Regardless of how you intervene, you should be there for the potential victim―make sure that person is being taken care of and gets home safely.
I’ll never forget the long and elaborate “thank you” text I got the day after the party. At first, my friend blamed herself for what almost occurred, but I assured her that it’s always the rapist’s fault—and only the rapist’s fault. I’m not sure what would have happened if I did not stop him. Although unlikely, maybe he would have realized he was wrong and stopped. But that’s a chance that isn’t worth the risk. All I know is that I made the right decision. An intoxicated “yes” is a “no” and always will be.
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