The Horror!

Greetings and salutations, Shakers! Allow me to introduce myself, I'm not a man of wealth and fame. I am, however, old enough to think that's a cool reference. Take that for what you will. My name is Lesley, and I regularly blog over at Plum Crazy, along with my co-blogger, Jon, so check the name at the top of the post if you go over there to read. Most important questions about me can be answered by checking my FAQ. I was quite honored when Shakes asked me to cross-post this entry here, so away we go...

The UK is considering passing a law that would stipulate that a woman who had a certain level of alcohol in her blood would be deemed too drunk to consent. Since this actually puts the onus for preventing rape where it belongs - on men, rather than on women - you can imagine the outcry. The comments section is chockful of people bemoaning this "horrible" development.

The comments generally fall along two lines. One is the ever-present fear of false accusation! Yes, you know, because someone might falsely accuse someone of a crime, we shouldn't legislate against that crime. Oh wait, no. Apparently that only applies to rape. I have yet to see anyone argue that we shouldn't have a law against burglary since someone might falsely accuse someone else of robbing their house. And never mind that it actually has to be proven that the woman was too drunk to consent.

The other is that somehow men are going to be held responsible for their actions, but women are not. Oh heavens, where's Teh Equality? I think the action women are supposed to be held responsible for in these comments is drinking. A lot of the comments suggest that women shouldn't be getting drunk if they don't want to risk "involuntary sex or rape" (an actual phrase from one of the comments). This implies that an appropriate consequence of women drinking is having men rape us. Whereas for men, the appropriate consequence of drinking is having a hangover or vomiting. If some guy got so drunk he couldn't figure out what was happening to him, and another man raped him, who would think to question what he was doing getting that drunk in the first place? I mean, maybe he consented. He just doesn't remember, right? Why isn't someone holding him responsible for his actions! /snark. That is exactly what would not happen. Here's an entire article about a rapist who strikes men where not one word is said about how dangerous it is for men to be walking alone at night or any of the usual cautionary warnings given in articles about rapists who prey on women.

This also implies that somehow deciding to have some drinks is on the same level of badness as deciding to "have sex" with someone who isn't in any frame of mind to comprehend what is happening around them. I know, it's a terrible thing to imagine that men might have to be more aware of their sex partners. That those who don't might have to actually give a damn about their partner's desires and mental state. Clearly it's much more important that drunk men have sex whenever they want to than it is to protect women.

In ending, I'm going to quote this case as why these kinds of laws are necessary (emphasis mine):

Case study: Ryairi Dougal was cleared of rape in a landmark case last year because his alleged victim was too drunk to recall events.

The security guard had sex with the student while she was lying drunk and unconscious in a corridor outside her flat in Aberystwyth University.

The case hinged on whether the 21-year-old he was accused of assaulting had consented to sex.

Swansea Crown Court was told by the woman there was "no way" she would have agreed, but when questioned by the defence, she acknowledged she could not remember anything and therefore could not definitively say if she had consented or not.

Even though 20-year-old Mr Dougal was a stranger to the woman, the judge told the jury to bring in a not guilty verdict because she could not remember whether she had given consent.
She was unconscious. How many unconscious people can remember anything? How many unconscious people are capable of consenting to anything? She was lying drunk and unconscious in a corridor when a man she didn't know raped her. Yet, because she couldn't remember anything, he gets off. This is the kind of situation we're supposed to allow to continue in order to protect a few men against false accusations. No secret where our priorities are.

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