I’m making an edit here. I came across pretty hard on Glenn Sacks in the first version of this, but really wanted to say that I like him, but disagree often. Now, keeping that in mind, here is the original paragraph (I believe in taking responsibility for my mistakes but also in correcting them). Now, I’m not a huge fan of Mr. Sacks, I feel he is sometimes too extreme, too conservative, too ready to accept the male point of view, however this one hit a couple of major trigger points for me.
A quick summary looks like this: There was a study that said that 28% of college women would be raped within their college years. There was a counter to that which said that number was much smaller and was exaggerated by including a lot of things that shouldn’t be construed as rape in that category (like drunken hook-ups). There was backlash against that saying that if a woman is too drunk to make a rational decision then any sex with her is rape…
As a man, I have always had a rule… I don’t hook up with drunk girls. I have broken this rule, but only when really drunk (which worked out pretty good last time. We have lived together for more than five years and are engaged). Most of my male friends follow similar rules. Now, none of the women I know follow anything close to those rules. If the guy is drinking, so be it. If he is conscious and not puking… then he is fair game. Does that mean I can cry rape for the times I have been the more inebriated party? Seriously… there are nights I barely remember from my teenage years and some of those nights included hook-ups and even the start of relationships. This isn’t to say that there aren’t men who take advantage of girls (due to the particular sub-culture I belonged to as a teenager I have had more than my fair share of encounters with unsavoury people, including some men who are in my opinion more than capable of sexual assault) but it isn’t most of us, and it isn’t most of the girls I used to know either. Look, it’s not blaming the victim if both parties were drunk and the man had every reason to believe that it was consensual (you know, she grabbed him, started kissing him, took off her clothes, never said anything remotely resembling no or gave any indication of the same). Hell, even by the modified standards for rape (force or inebriation) you can say that any guy who ever bought a girl a drink (or handed one to her) and then had sex with her was in fact guilty of rape. That is part of how the statistics get so blown up. Here is one great quote from one of the articles “It’s pretty amazing, to think that men can only commit rape when they intend to” (from this article on the curvature). If you have reached a point in your life where you believe that it is okay to punish a man who had every reason to believe he was having consensual sex, maybe you need to do some re-evaluation. As to her claims about forced sex… of course the majority of actual rapists deny it, and yes, forced sex and rape are the same thing, but the sampling of guys asked those questions are guys who have been charged with rape, not the general populace, making this an incredibly clear case of confirmation bias.
Now, let me tell you another story about attempted rape. When I was 15 I was in the lobby of a hotel. A man came up to me and started to say something incoherent. He was drooling and very drunk, but very large. He started to gesture to his crotch and using hand gestures make it obvious that he wanted me to give him a blow job. Not my cup of tea (even if I was gay I don’t think going down on a smelly drunk guy in a hotel lobby would do it for me) so I shook my head no. He whipped out a knife and held it to my throat. At that point, I had no idea what to do. All of my power was gone, I was trying to decide if I would rather die or comply. I was kind of leaning towards die. At that moment the hotel manager (I was friends with his children) came in and saw what was going on. He forced the man out of the hotel. I didn’t see what happened after that, but the manager called a couple of other guys and they didn’t come back in for a while. I went to the hotel bar and the manager decided to let me have a drink after he got back. This was the first of two incidents in my life. The second one found me with a large knife in my hands and my assailant deciding to get the fuck out of there before I used it.
I tell this story to a: let you know that I have a lot of sympathy for the damage caused by even an attempted rape… let alone one that is carried out to completion, and b: to attempt to put the idea of a drunk couple fucking in a realistic context. You may regret the hell out of the sex the next day, you may wish you had never met that person, but to put a drunken mistake in the same context as the real thing… it is insulting to actual victims.
There was also a party where the next morning I woke up to discover that girl I had no interest in was in the process of performing oral sex on me. I let her finish and then I got up for the day. Was I raped? Technically… yes, I never gave consent. Does it have the same impact as having a knife held to my throat? Not even close. In the one case, I put myself in the situation of being passed out drunk at a party, in the other I had no expectation whatsoever of risk. Now, I am wholeheartedly in favour of taking men who start having sex with unconscious women at a party and shooting (or at least castrating) them, but it still isn’t in the same class as the knife.
I think in the end, that the feminist movement is pushing back so far because of how far they were pushed in the first place, because things happened (and still happen) like a judge ruling that a woman who was wearing jeans couldn’t be raped because jeans are too hard to remove, or that a woman who has a history of sexual promiscuity is not to be believed when she claims rape (although from my perspective that women is probably the least likely to put in a false claim, as she didn’t the last whole bunch of times she had sex…) and I understand that, but fuck, it’s getting to the point where many men I know are terrified to have sex out of sheer terror at the prospect of a false accusation (something that contains virtually no penalties for the woman).
In the end we need to take a hard look at the whole thing, from the perspective of both genders, and deal with rapists as rapists while still dealing with innocent people as innocent. After all, your life is no less destroyed if you are falsely convicted of rape than if you are falsely convicted of murder, and it is far more common.