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Men must seek consent
April 11, 2006 6:33 AM   Subscribe

An advertising campaign in the UK warns men that they must seek a woman's consent before engaging in sex. The initiative is designed to combat the low conviction rate for rape but will it criminalise a generation of young men?
posted by bobbyelliott (98 comments total)

 
It will only criminalise a generation of young men who can't hear or don't listen.
posted by Jofus at 6:39 AM on April 11, 2006


Yeah, what the fuck are you talking about. Non-consensual sex is rape, there's no other way to view it. It only criminalizes criminals.
posted by cloeburner at 6:45 AM on April 11, 2006


Nope, the law was there already as was the courts interpretation of the law. It's similar to the drink driving campaigns, they want to stop people breaking the law.

The low conviction rate for rape is a seperate issue to do with the police and the crown prosecution services approach to rape cases.
posted by invisible_al at 6:47 AM on April 11, 2006


Although I'd like to see a Fathers4Justice style rally in Hyde Park - 60 or 70 middle aged lechers carrying placards that say "Why weren't we told?"
posted by Jofus at 6:52 AM on April 11, 2006


I don't think it will criminalise men (whatever that means), but I do think that is is giving the wrong message to young women.

I would try and explain why, but I know I'll get flamed for it...
posted by twine42 at 7:04 AM on April 11, 2006


This insane initiative may criminalise a whole generation of young rapists.
posted by fire&wings at 7:11 AM on April 11, 2006


The trouble is, the people who don't already know this aren't going to be swayed by / learn from it. They will just roll their eyes and think "I can tell when the bitch wants it". (i.e., whenever the guy's cock is hard)
posted by beth at 7:22 AM on April 11, 2006


Sorry... I couldn't stay away...

I think that my problem with it is this : In Britain right now we have a massive explosion of female binge drinking (aka Minge Drinking) featuring large numbers of women drinking until the lose conciousness. A night isn't considered a good night unless you puke, fight, lose your memory or all three.

By putting more of the responsibility for sex on the male I think the government is risking greenlighting this behaviour - so that women mistakenly feel that it is now safer to behave in this way.

This change in the law isn't going to stop the alley rapists or the rohypnol rapists - it's going to be targetting the drunk guys who go home with a drunk girl. Rather than driving this campaign, they need to target the cause - women getting so drunk that they stumble home with someone they have no interest in.

Mind, I think our rape laws are a fecking mess over here anyway - women can't be convicted of rape and men are publicly tried before the case reaches court.
posted by twine42 at 7:23 AM on April 11, 2006


I think I am missing something. I am supposed to take from this that whenever I have sex with a woman and she doesn't explicitally say "yes" (i.e. only says "yes through actions instead) then I have raped her?

So a woman could throw me down on the bed, take off my trousers, and climb on top of me and I am supposed to ask her if it's cool if I put it in her? Seems a bit awkward.

What if it is my girlfriend? Am I expected to ask her before every sexual encounter just to verify?
posted by herting at 7:28 AM on April 11, 2006


twine42, please do go on... I'm guessing it's something about encouraging young women to get drunk stoned and pass out and then forget they were into it and make up false rape allegations that destroy the lives of young men, which is what happens on a daily basis? hot or cold? what do I win?

On a serious note, I can understand people getting irritated by any social or health awareness campaign, people who feel like it's inherently condescending or useless for the state to do this, whether it's smoking or drugs or alcohol or crime; but some reactions to this particular campaign are really funny in a self contradictory way.
posted by funambulist at 7:28 AM on April 11, 2006


I knew it. I'm a mind reader!
posted by funambulist at 7:29 AM on April 11, 2006


herting, I believe you need a signed form with two witnesses signatures, a notary seal and a stamp from the Minister of Health. That's what consent means nowadays, sadly. Everyone will stop having sex, and then the demographics war will start. That is the nightmare that rape laws create.
posted by funambulist at 7:34 AM on April 11, 2006


i Am I expected to ask her before every sexual encounter just to verify

You could ask her to fill this in.
Or this
posted by magpie68 at 7:36 AM on April 11, 2006


Simple solution to all problems: Hidden video camera. "Do you want me baby?" "You bet I do!" *a-ok hand signal towards the camera and start at it*.

You get the added benefit of being able to enjoy your horribly awkward drunken sexcapades at a later date.
posted by antifuse at 7:37 AM on April 11, 2006


No.
posted by Miko at 7:38 AM on April 11, 2006


Uh, wow, there's so much snark in this thread I can't actually tell who's arguing what.
posted by Richard Daly at 7:39 AM on April 11, 2006


Reminds me of Virginia's billboard campaign against statutory rape. It must be working, as I haven't sex with a minor since the program started.
posted by Jart at 7:45 AM on April 11, 2006


I think what the OP was getting at is rather different to suggesting that non-consensual sex =! rape.

The question the OP rightly raises is what is sufficient consent for sex now in the UK? Does a woman have to actively say yes? What if she consents by actions? Is the Government suggesting, which it seems to be, that unless there is verbal assent to sex what takes place is rape? If so what proof should men seek of that assent.

I think the intent behind the campaign is laudable - rape is one of the most loathsome crimes commitable and conviction rates are frighteningly low. However, positive assent won't change that. By its nature rape is generally a witnessless crime, where there is little evidence available to back up the vicitm's version of events - requiring positive assent only provides another area for dispute. I cannot see how this will make conviction easier against a deliberate rapist willing to lie, although it might make catching a date rapist, who did not deliberately intend to rape, easier, so long as they are foolish enough not to have a lawyer.

I find the issue of drunken consent positively frightening. I think there can be no dispute that a woman who is so drunk as to be unconscious cannot consent to sex. This would be the case under the current law. If the Government change it so that a jury decide, it becomes very difficult for the participants in a sex act to ensure that they are not breaking the law - because the ultimate determination as to whether the person had drunk too much to consent would be made after the fact by the jury, and seemingly would be a subjective decision.

One correspondant in the BBC article suggests that he believes if a girl is drunk they cannot consent. If this were the standard, which it could be if he were on a jury with 11 like minded peers, I would thing half of the young men - and indeed the young women - in Britain would be eligible for a rape conviction.

This is a difficult issue - but the way to increase the level of rape convictions is by better police focus, better support for victims and work from the CPS. They way not to do it is by criminalising consensual behaviour - to do so only trivialises the real dangers and damage of rape.
posted by prentiz at 7:45 AM on April 11, 2006


What Prentiz said. Now. Onward and upward.
posted by Jofus at 7:47 AM on April 11, 2006


Good points, prentiz.
posted by funambulist at 7:51 AM on April 11, 2006


magpie68, those don't really address repeated rogering.

Anyway, I don't think you can disclaim your right to say no, even if you signed a form that said you intend to..
posted by Chuckles at 7:54 AM on April 11, 2006


Anyway, I don't think you can disclaim your right to say no, even if you signed a form that said you intend to..

I wonder about that, what with those contracts I hear that BSDM "slaves" sign about their obedience to their "masters". I wonder what happens when those things show up in court? Or would the judge just throw them out?
posted by beth at 8:04 AM on April 11, 2006


"By putting more of the responsibility for sex on the male I think the government is risking greenlighting this behaviour ..."

Well, even if the situation is a prime example of some horrible decision making on the part of those women, I don't think it is actually illegal to get raging drunk, whereas non-consensual sex is. The argument that it's the drunk woman's fault for putting themselves in that situation is wavering just a little too close to the "she was wearing a short skirt, so she obviously wanted it" argument.

Can they do a public awareness campaign about being responsible while drinking targeted towards women? Sure. Why not? Do one of those, too. But I see no problem with reminding young men (who are, after all just as responsible for who they have sex with as the women are) that it is illegal to have non-consensual sex.
posted by thekilgore at 8:10 AM on April 11, 2006


I condemn rape as a concept in all shapes and forms it may take, or any non-consensual sex for that matter. But it does get extremely tricky when alcohol (or other drugs) is involved and I have no clear solution for that legally. I know people (both male and female) that do not necessarily show clear signs of inebriation even after they have drunk a significant amount. In fact, they might not remember anything the next morning (although appearing sober or just tipsy to me) as was the case with one individual. Where lies the the blame? In the end, nobody is forcing anybody to drink (usually) or to go home with strange men. These are all choices. Rape is wrong, wrong, wrong, but you cannot always make black-and-white judgements of the definition of one.
posted by keijo at 8:16 AM on April 11, 2006


I don't think that I'm anywhere near the argument that "she was asking for it". The concept here is that deliberately poisoning yourself so that you lose all control of your physical and mental capabilities is a bad one, and that trying to make that state safer is the wrong way to tackle this problem.

The adverts make a point of the fact that they aren't targetting the traditional image of a rapist - they're targetting the drunkards who are likely to be making a wrong decision.
posted by twine42 at 8:21 AM on April 11, 2006


thekilgore nails what I was thinking of in terms self-contradictory reactions I'd come across - 'how dare the gov't ever think I could fail to understand consent, and then not tell these women they shouldn't go putting themselves in those situations!' err...

The two responsibilities - drinking (yeah, good luck with that) and behaviour towards someone who's drunk - are not mutually exclusive and most importantly are not equal.

But I do think short of unconsciousness or near-unconsciousness, really being drunk and incapacitated, it's pretty hard to draw a hard legal line.
posted by funambulist at 8:30 AM on April 11, 2006


I wasn't proposing those consent forms seriously, I just remembered them and thought they were relevant.

So. What prentiz said. That's what I really think.
posted by magpie68 at 8:31 AM on April 11, 2006


> But I see no problem with reminding young men that it is illegal to have non-consensual sex.

No-one would disagree with that. The question is: what constitutes non-consensual sex? It has traditionally meant that the victim has asked (or otherwise indicated) the man/woman to stop. This new interpretation makes the man/woman guilty of rape in all cases unless explicit verbal permission has been given. It's not hard to make-up scenarios that make a mockery of this (some have already been suggested on this thread) and it's questionable that any good law can be made to look so foolish.
posted by bobbyelliott at 8:32 AM on April 11, 2006


This new interpretation makes the man/woman guilty of rape in all cases unless explicit verbal permission has been given.

Is that the interpretation of the ad campaign, or is it really what the law says?
posted by funambulist at 8:34 AM on April 11, 2006


The only thing I worry about, is the case where women get exceedingly drunk, go home with a guy, then regret it in the morning. "I don't remember saying yes, but I *never* would have slept with a guy that ugly" suddenly becomes much, much scarier.
posted by antifuse at 8:34 AM on April 11, 2006


It has traditionally meant that the victim has asked (or otherwise indicated) the man/woman to stop.

Or the victim is unconscious. (Although if we're really talking "traditionally," it's meant that the victim is a virgin who doesn't know her attackers.)
posted by transona5 at 8:35 AM on April 11, 2006


twine42: I don't think that I'm anywhere near the argument that "she was asking for it". The concept here is that deliberately poisoning yourself so that you lose all control of your physical and mental capabilities is a bad one, and that trying to make that state safer is the wrong way to tackle this problem.

Why?

From my point of view, I think that establishing a set of norms that a person who is intoxicated might not be in their right mind, and that friends, drinking buddies, and potential lovers should err on the side of caution and safety would be a good thing.

antifuse: The only thing I worry about, is the case where women get exceedingly drunk, go home with a guy, then regret it in the morning. "I don't remember saying yes, but I *never* would have slept with a guy that ugly" suddenly becomes much, much scarier.

Well, on the other side of the coin. Why is all the attention in this discussion focused on the responsibility of women to avoid situations they might regret, and not on the responsibility of men to avoid situations where they might be accused sexual misconduct (ranging from the obviously illegal to the merely insensitive)? There seems to be a lot of "boys will be boys" ideology underlying this entire thing where men are fundamentally unable to say, "wait a minute, I don't really *know* you, how about I crash on the couch until we both sober up."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:47 AM on April 11, 2006


antifuse, if you can think about it, it means someone can do it. Even the most twisted abuse of the law is possible, it can happen, but how often?

The question is, given the amount of low convictions on rape, the low rate of reporting rape, and what the linked articles mentions about attitudes - one third of people in the UK believed a woman was partially or completely to blame for being raped if she had behaved in a flirtatious manner - well, you have to wonder, is it really likely an ad campaign will provoke such a shift from a prevailing bias against rape victims to an equally unbalanced prevailing bias in favour, to the point many women will even feel encouraged to go out of their way to make up false allegations after sleeping with an ordinary drunken guy only because they had regrets about it later, with no other interest or advantage than spite, and the courts will instantly fall for it?

That means attributing an enormous power to this ad campaign and also to the weight of pure allegations, contary to the current reality.
posted by funambulist at 8:53 AM on April 11, 2006


(and contrary to the rule of the law, I should add...)
posted by funambulist at 8:55 AM on April 11, 2006


"...and not on the responsibility of men to avoid situations where they might be accused sexual misconduct..."

There is no possible way for men to avoid situations where they might be accused of sexual misconduct without avoiding all contact with other humans.
posted by MikeMc at 9:05 AM on April 11, 2006


"There is no possible way for men to avoid situations where they might be accused of sexual misconduct without avoiding all contact with other humans."

Really? There are plenty of men who go their entire lives without being accused of sexual misconduct, rape, etc. Is that just a fluke? Are they particularly lucky or what?
posted by thekilgore at 9:39 AM on April 11, 2006


There is no possible way for men to avoid situations where they might be accused of sexual misconduct without avoiding all contact with other humans.

Well said.

I am confused on this... the idea here is that blaming a man for putting himself in a situation to be falsely confused is ok. However telling a woman to avoid situations where her consent might be influenced by her drinking is "blaming the victim?".

Ok. Got it.

I wonder - if we aren't going to keep the responsibility for what happens when someone CHOOSES to get mind blowingly drunk ont he drinker then isn't that a lot like charging someone who gets hit by a drunk driver with vandalism for damage to the car?

I know the above is facetious but you hopefully can see the point. If I drink to much and hit someone with my car it's considered my fault because I chose to become impaired. Why then is it not my own fault if as a human I get drunk and decide to screw someone I wish I hadn't?

Obviously, the above would not apply to someone who passed out and was taken advantage of.
posted by soulhuntre at 9:39 AM on April 11, 2006


How do you know it's not consensual?

Well in cases where drugs/consensual power play/booze is not involved, i think it's the old

'what part of 'no' did the man not understand?'

that works.
posted by Sijeka at 9:40 AM on April 11, 2006


For all of you alarmist men out there, I don't know what the situation is like in the UK but the percentage of aquaintance rape cases in the US that make it from a police report to actual conviction is in the single digits. I'm not really forseeing a wave of vengeful or humiliated women getting men thrown into the clink (or even arrested) for having drunken "last call" sex.
posted by availablelight at 9:45 AM on April 11, 2006


If I drink to much and hit someone with my car it's considered my fault

Yeah, funny that.
posted by funambulist at 9:49 AM on April 11, 2006


How about, if your potential sex partner is raging drunk, it's reasonable to assume that are not behaving rationally. Now if you want to avoid a misunderstanding, you should avoid having sex. Period. Kinda like if you want to be sure there is no resulting pregnancy and you're a man, use a condom. If you're a woman use a diaphragm or get on the pill. No bullshit about "she said she was on the pill or he said he had a condom" or whatever. You want to be sure, **you** take precautions.

I love sex as much or more as the next person, but I have no sympathy for a man who has sex when overly drunk or with a woman who is clearly too drunken to give consent. Frankly, is he makes sex happen under those circumstances, he should be charged with rape if the woman feels that she was taken advantage of. Even if it's your wife or girlfriend.

Sex is not a right. It is privileged access to your partner's body given to you by your consenting partner.
posted by Red58 at 9:50 AM on April 11, 2006


This whole concept is ludicrous. Mind you I find date rape to be absolutely despicable (because that's what we're talking about here, right? date rape?), but that said, way to write the law to the exception and not the rule. How about instead of punishing men this the government starts an ad campaign directed at EVERYONE:

Don't go home with with people from the bar you don't know at 2AM when you're 8 sheets to the wind. It's a bad decision. It's a really bad decision. You know this because you've made the same bad decision 10 times and you're always using alcohol as the excuse the next day. Use that brain in your head. I don't care how damn much you had to drink, alcohol doesn't render you retarded and incapable of decision making. If you can choose to go home with someone and walk out to a car, you know what the hell you're doing. Sober your stupid ass up. Unless you're blowing a .4 and can't even put one foot in front of the other (and if you are why the shit did you do that to yourself in the first place?), sober your stupid ass up enough to not put yourself in a position where nothing good can come of it.
posted by fusinski at 9:51 AM on April 11, 2006


"Really? There are plenty of men who go their entire lives without being accused of sexual misconduct, rape, etc. Is that just a fluke? Are they particularly lucky or what?"

I would think that many, if not most, men live their entire lives without being accused of any sexual misconduct but the potential always exists.
posted by MikeMc at 9:53 AM on April 11, 2006


"...the percentage of aquaintance rape cases in the US that make it from a police report to actual conviction is in the single digits."

But the police report never goes away. Even if a "date rape" accusation was false it will always be lingering out there and in cases involving sexual assault the accused is held, by the public anyway, to be guilty until proven innocent.
posted by MikeMc at 9:58 AM on April 11, 2006


I find the issue of drunken consent positively frightening.

I love sex as much or more as the next person, but I have no sympathy for a man who has sex when overly drunk or with a woman who is clearly too drunken to give consent.

And if he's drunk, too? In Canada, when I was in law school, it was still the case that men could consent to sex while drunk while women could not. Really an insane legal situation which was just waiting for the right cases to come along to fix. Still, I shudder.
posted by dreamsign at 10:30 AM on April 11, 2006


Oh, and for anyone who feels like taking it on, please reconcile "blaming the victim" with "contributory negligence", because our society appears to play favourites here.
posted by dreamsign at 10:32 AM on April 11, 2006


What I don't get is, when a woman gets drunk and goes home with some guy and can't exactly remember what happened the next morning, it's considered rape, but if a guy does the exact same thing he's considered gay.
posted by bobo123 at 10:32 AM on April 11, 2006


MikeMc, 1 in 6 U.S. women have been sexually assulted and 4 in 5 rapists know their victim (wikipedia). Therefore your seeing quite serious percentages of men involved too.

At such rates, one ought to seriously consider putting more effort into societal solutions, which is exactly what ad campaigns attempt.. and I hope this is the real reasoning here.

If you only cared about conviction rates, you could just target the versions of rape which are easiest to convict, say via better rohypnol testing. Juries ought to be pretty quick to convict in rohypnol cases.

A real question is: Does the sexual assult rate go down if the number of legal & regulated prostitutes goes up (and the stigma decreases, and the price goes down)? Heck, just a price of legal prostitution vs. sexual assult rate graph.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:48 AM on April 11, 2006


I would think that many, if not most, men live their entire lives without being accused of any sexual misconduct but the potential always exists.

Well, I've lived my whole life without bumping into Tom Cruise and his boyfriend, but the potential always exists.

It can be said of anyone and anything so it is neither here nor there.

Besides, imagining false rape accusers behind every woman is as wacky paranoid as imagining rapists behind man. Perhaps, according to the police data, a little bit more so.

On the drinking thing: drunkenness alone cannot make consent impossible; people have all kinds of different stages of drunkenness (or intoxication from any other substance) where with the same amount person A is completely out and person B can still connect to reality in some form. Women and men have consensual sex when drunk, and when very drunk, all the time. The stage of drunk where by definition you can't have consent is when you're one step close to passing out or passed out already. In all other situations it depends on other factors, not the drinking itself.

But, that is a problem for cases when there is no evidence, no testimonies, nothing except the she said he said and it's a mess to deliberate on for a judge or jury. When it does get to the courts, at least.

Drinking alone, though, doesn't absolve any other person from committing a crime against you when you were drunk. If you get drunk and get robbed, assaulted, mobbed, run over by a car, the fact you were drunk doesn't make the person who robbed, assaulted, mobbed, run you over less responsible. Being drunk, stupid, or careless, doesn't make you an accomplice or negligent legally, if you're not the one hitting a pedestrian or robbing them. It only makes you drunk, stupid, or careless.

The problem with the drunken he said she said situation is how you determine, legally, that the crime happened, not whose responsibility it is in case it happened. Some are switching the two here.
posted by funambulist at 11:01 AM on April 11, 2006


My reference was not to automatism-level drunkenness, which is still a (hard to prove) defence against many crimes. Where consent enters the picture -- in contracts, for example -- many things can vitiate consent. Coercion, for example. And for awhile, drunkenness sans automatism did the trick. So a man and a woman get drunk and have sex, and you have a different legal result for each. That was the (paternalistic and unjust) anomaly.
posted by dreamsign at 11:14 AM on April 11, 2006


This is all part of the aliens' two-pr0nged campaign to make real sex impossible and divert humanity over to internet jpeg-fapping. When we all die out the earth is theirs without firing a shot. Thank Ghod for Mexico, India, and the Philippines, otherwise nobody's resisting. Native Europeans (to coin a phrase) have rolled over and given up, and Japan has positively gone over to the aliens. (Of course, if they actually offered me a real anime babe of my own, I'd go over too.)

posted by jfuller at 11:15 AM on April 11, 2006


Women and men have consensual sex when drunk, and when very drunk, all the time.

This is what I was saying -- not so long ago, this was not the case in Canada, although not following it up I have no idea how long that situation lasted before the obvious Charter case took it down.
posted by dreamsign at 11:17 AM on April 11, 2006


Don't go home with with people from the bar you don't know at 2AM when you're 8 sheets to the wind. It's a bad decision. It's a really bad decision. You know this because you've made the same bad decision 10 times and you're always using alcohol as the excuse the next day. Use that brain in your head. I don't care how damn much you had to drink, alcohol doesn't render you retarded and incapable of decision making. If you can choose to go home with someone and walk out to a car, you know what the hell you're doing. Sober your stupid ass up. Unless you're blowing a .4 and can't even put one foot in front of the other (and if you are why the shit did you do that to yourself in the first place?), sober your stupid ass up enough to not put yourself in a position where nothing good can come of it.

I don't know if you've got these in the UK, but I'd love to see this in boldface type in the advertising frames above the urinals in my local bar. For women, they could be on the inside of the lavatory door.
posted by papercake at 11:34 AM on April 11, 2006


Those following the thread might want to check out the Home Office site about the campaign together with some of the information that has prompted it - that all sorts of figures on rape are not good. It stems from the clearer definition of consent that now exists in law. There are plenty of campaigns targeting women and trying to get them to change their own behaviour to minimise risk - this is the first that has targeted men.

(Apologies for all Home Office links)
posted by greycap at 11:36 AM on April 11, 2006


Say, what about prostitution? Will that be a case of "Of course she wanted it, she was ..." (whatever, "...wearing a short skirt," or in this case "...a hooker cruising for business") or will we see prosecuted cases of "I was forced into prostitution without my consent by economic necessity and my pimp, and the following 3374 johns did not ask for my formal consent and are chargeable rapists?" Just speculating.

posted by jfuller at 11:40 AM on April 11, 2006


Yeah, funny that.

That's my point. It is MY responsibility to know that if I get drunk that my impairment may cause me to make bad decisions and that I am still responsible (as it should be). Why does sex change this?

MikeMc, 1 in 6 U.S. women have been sexually assaulted and 4 in 5 rapists know their victim (wikipedia). Therefore your seeing quite serious percentages of men involved too.

You know, Wikipedia is a horrible reference under the best circumstances. But a Wikipedia link to a questionable study isn't helping anyone.

"I was forced into prostitution without my consent by economic necessity and my pimp"

Don't laugh, this kind of thinking is way too common these days. Somehow people seem to think that their life is supposed to be free from all outside influence (i.e. cause and effect).
posted by soulhuntre at 12:27 PM on April 11, 2006


Is that the interpretation of the ad campaign, or is it really what the law says?

In recent years in the UK, the test for whether the man is guilty of rape hinges on whether or not he genuinely believed that the woman was consenting.

Consequently, many courts have taken the line that in the absence of explicit refusal, some men *do* believe that they have a woman's consent. (ie, why would she come back to my place, drunk as a lord, and get into bed with me if she wasn't up for it? The fact that she's not actually conscious at this moment is just an unfortunate triviality that's not going to stop me busting my nut.)

Presumably, this campaign is an attempt to try and shift that perception and therefore erode that line of thinking as an acceptable defence in the minds of juries?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:55 PM on April 11, 2006


I love sex as much or more as the next person, but I have no sympathy for a man who has sex when overly drunk or with a woman who is clearly too drunken to give consent.

You mean an unconscious woman, right? Because I've always felt that it was unreasonable to deny my sex partners the right to get out of their faces and make poor decisions -- and touch wood, none of them have ever subsequently tried to blame me for the decisions that they made while intoxicated.

But perhaps you're arguing that this works both ways? That any woman who has sex with a drunken man should also be found guilty of rape, because he isn't capable of giving informed consent in that state either?

If so, I forsee the prison service coming under some serious strain in the coming months.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:02 PM on April 11, 2006


It's threads like this that reinforce the things I plan to tell my children about sex when they're older; essentially, it will be about personal responsibility as much as the mechanics of pregnancy, because that's what society demands (and should demand) these days.

as for the non-pregnancy mechanics, I'll leave that for them to enjoy finding out on their own
posted by davejay at 1:20 PM on April 11, 2006


"The concept here is that deliberately poisoning yourself so that you lose all control of your physical and mental capabilities is a bad one, and that trying to make that state safer is the wrong way to tackle this problem."

Punish the sluts! Punish the sluts!
posted by klangklangston at 1:21 PM on April 11, 2006


All this crap about women raping men is a red herring. That iis not a even a trackable crime issue. Whether women on man rape is possible or even a reality is not the point as it is ridiculously rare.

To deny that there is a significant problem with men raping women is disingenous and obfuscating.
posted by Red58 at 1:33 PM on April 11, 2006


In recent years in the UK, the test for whether the man is guilty of rape hinges on whether or not he genuinely believed that the woman was consenting.

soulhuntre, I highlighted that hit someone in your comment (if I drink to much and hit someone with my car it's considered my fault) and added an obviously (at least I thought so) sarcastic "funny that" because you seem to be comparing:

- getting drunk and hitting someone with a car
- getting drunk and being raped

See what the problem is with that comparison? in the first, you get drunk and commit a crime; the second, you get drunk, and someone else commits a crime against you.

The crime is hitting someone while drunk, not drinking itself - drinking is an extra factor, you can get drunk, but you can't drive while drunk.

We can go on and on about women getting drunk and stupid and careless or irresponsible in terms of 'safety' or whatever you want to describe the behaviour you think is some kind of partial responsibility for rape, or for allowing the conditions for rape, or whatever. But it isn't a responsibility in legal terms any more than being under the influence or drugged up or distracted or just a plain idiot when you're the one getting mobbed, assaulted, run over by a car, rather than doing those things to others.

Sex doesn't change this, indeed.

The difference is, unlike with those other crimes, the problem with rape allegations is having enough evidence to prove them or disprove them. The state of intoxication of the alleged victim cannot be the one factor deciding if there was rape; but it also cannot be a factor that reduces the rapist's responsibility if there was actually a rape.

If anything, your comparison actually implies the state of intoxication of the rapist (once ascertained there was rape) should be an aggravating factor as in drunk driving. But that's not a feasible comparison anyway.
posted by funambulist at 1:40 PM on April 11, 2006


Seems like a war on men.
One common tactic during divorces is to call rape. The woman can claim she was raped and get automatic custody, and a restraining order. While true rape is a horrible thing, so is false rape allegations for personal or emotional reasons. Date rape laws are a perfect example how a woman can feel guilty and ruin a mans life.
Rape laws are written "He", starting the sexual bias towards men, then tops it off when automatic, non court bias in the loss of rights, including access to your children, house and assets.

Men should wake the fuck up, its a war against males, and you are loosing.
Ments rights has a good article on rape, statistics and sexual bias towards men.
posted by IronWolve at 1:50 PM on April 11, 2006


In recent years in the UK, the test for whether the man is guilty of rape hinges on whether or not he genuinely believed that the woman was consenting.

Oh, ok, well that's an interesting line of defense indeed!

Thanks for the explanation, PeterMcDermott.

The fact that she's not actually conscious at this moment is just an unfortunate triviality that's not going to stop me busting my nut.

I know I shouldn't find this funny... well not the situation itself, just the way you put it.
posted by funambulist at 1:55 PM on April 11, 2006


There is no possible way for men to avoid situations where they might be accused of sexual misconduct without avoiding all contact with other humans.

How about: wearing a sound and video recording device 24/7, and storing all video and sound taken for the rest of your life as safekeeping. And even though you'd have video of the woman giving consent for sex, written consent (notarized!) would likely help as well.
posted by beth at 2:05 PM on April 11, 2006


soulhuntre: I am confused on this... the idea here is that blaming a man for putting himself in a situation to be falsely confused is ok. However telling a woman to avoid situations where her consent might be influenced by her drinking is "blaming the victim?".

Ok. Got it.


Would it put you out too much to actually, um, read what you are quoting before going off on a half-assed and knee-jerk false dichotomy?

Teaching women that they should be careful and have a safety net when getting shitfaced in no way conflicts with teaching the same to men.

But in the extended history of these discussions I've noticed a lot more effort trying to convince women not to go home drunk with men, than trying to convince men not to go home with drunk women.

soulhuntre: I know the above is facetious but you hopefully can see the point. If I drink to much and hit someone with my car it's considered my fault because I chose to become impaired. Why then is it not my own fault if as a human I get drunk and decide to screw someone I wish I hadn't?

Exactly who is saying that it's not your fault if you get drunk and decide to screw someone you wish you had not?

MikeMc: But the police report never goes away. Even if a "date rape" accusation was false it will always be lingering out there and in cases involving sexual assault the accused is held, by the public anyway, to be guilty until proven innocent.

Given this, does it not make sense for men to protect themselves (as much as reasonable) against the possibility of a misunderstanding leading to a rape accusation, or even just bad gossip?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:58 PM on April 11, 2006


PeterMcDermott: You mean an unconscious woman, right? Because I've always felt that it was unreasonable to deny my sex partners the right to get out of their faces and make poor decisions -- and touch wood, none of them have ever subsequently tried to blame me for the decisions that they made while intoxicated.

Well, this seems to be an odd way of phrasing this. The fact that someone I'm hanging with is in the process of making a bad decision does not mean that I have an obligation to aid and assist them. In general, the times I've managed to divert friends from stupid drunken behavior to a comfy couch with a bucket, I've been offered heartfelt thanks the morning after. And I've done that enough times to notice that many wake up with some gaps in their memory.

But if I choose to go along with stupid drunken behavior, then why should I not pay the consequences? If I ride shotgun with a drunk driver rather than calling a cab, no guardian angel is going to pull me out of an accident. If I encourage an angry drunk into a fight, then I shouldn't expect to walk away with my nose clean. If I have sex with a person on the virge of a blackout, then I must be willing to accept the fact that they may not remember large chunks of the night before.

But perhaps you're arguing that this works both ways? That any woman who has sex with a drunken man should also be found guilty of rape, because he isn't capable of giving informed consent in that state either?

Well, I'd argue yes. If you can show that a man was intoxicated beyond the point where it is impossible to give consent, that any acts performed on him are non-consensual.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:39 PM on April 11, 2006


Given this, does it not make sense for men to protect themselves (as much as reasonable) against the possibility of a misunderstanding leading to a rape accusation, or even just bad gossip?

But that's the tricky part isn't it? How do you protect yourself when you can't always be sure where the line is drawn?
posted by MikeMc at 3:52 PM on April 11, 2006


Red58 writes "All this crap about women raping men is a red herring. That iis not a even a trackable crime issue. Whether women on man rape is possible or even a reality is not the point as it is ridiculously rare.

"To deny that there is a significant problem with men raping women is disingenous and obfuscating."


And how is that a red herring? We're not talking about hold-her-down-and-tear-off-her-panties rape here, we're talking about whether or not someone has the mental capacity to form consent.

If two people go home drunk together, why is it automatically assumed that she couldn't consent, but he could?

Further, there's nobody in this thread denying that there is a significant problem with men raping women. I think people are having concerns about the automatic assumptions.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:31 PM on April 11, 2006


MikeMc: But that's the tricky part isn't it? How do you protect yourself when you can't always be sure where the line is drawn?

Simple. If you are not sure, keep your dick in your pants and your hands to yourself.

But this isn't rocket science. You can't trust strangers to be sane. Alcohol impairs both judgement and memory, so you can't trust a drunk person to make good decisions, or remember their mistakes the morning after. Those two bits of folk wisdom should be enough to set off some warning bells.

Some other rules of thumb include thinking three times before sleeping with a student, employee, best friend or SO of any of the above.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:47 PM on April 11, 2006


dirtynumbangelboy: If two people go home drunk together, why is it automatically assumed that she couldn't consent, but he could?

I don't see many people here making that assumption at all, much less an "automatic" one. There is a wide spread of cognitive states covered under the word "drunk."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:54 PM on April 11, 2006


KJS, I was referring to the general societal assumption, as well as the very specific legal one mentioned above by dreamsign.

But since this entire thread has been framed in terms of women being too drunk to consent, it seems that the assumption is happening here, too.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:12 PM on April 11, 2006


All this crap about women raping men is a red herring.

Really? I thought it was a necessary point for discussion when we are examining the ethics of laws that intend to redefine consent.

That is not a even a trackable crime issue.

So it isn't important? Ok. The number of people killed by serial killers is so small as to be statistically insignificant. Is that irrelevant to the legal system now too?

Whether women on man rape is possible or even a reality is not the point as it is ridiculously rare.

If this sort of law is taken seriously then it would hardly be rare at all. the number of women who have sex with drunk men is pretty large. Since this kind of law makes them all rapists it will suddenly be a real problem.

But it isn't a responsibility in legal terms any more than being under the influence or drugged up or distracted or just a plain idiot when you're the one getting mobbed, assaulted, run over by a car, rather than doing those things to others.

Here is the thing - all of those circumstances you described are violent offenses that did not depend on your consent. And if someone is raped at knife point or violently then I don;t think their intoxicated state is an issue either.

However the legalities under discussion have everything to do with consent... and suddenly how we deal with personal responsibility and drunkenness is very relevant.

If I get drunk and literally give someone on the street 5000$, are they suddenly muggers?

If a business exec gets a little blasted at lunch and signs a contract he later regrets, is the other party now guilty of theft and fraud?

Is it the responsibility of every human around me now to be so keenly aware of my state of impairment that it is now their responsibility to be my keeper?

How drunk is "too drunk" then? How is someone supposed to know in the grey areas?

Teaching women that they should be careful and have a safety net when getting shitfaced in no way conflicts with teaching the same to men.

Oh on that I agree. I know I wouldn't sleep with anyone I even suspected wa s impaired - or someone who I thought might just plain feel like a slut the next day. or someone who might be cheating on her boyfriend and need an excuse.

Given the realities today I acknowledge that before I sleep with anyone I need to trust them enough to literally put my freedom in their hands because as soon as I do sleep with them the can ruin my life at will.

Exactly who is saying that it's not your fault if you get drunk and decide to screw someone you wish you had not?

The quote is this "One correspondent in the BBC article suggests that he believes if a girl is drunk they cannot consent.".
posted by soulhuntre at 6:33 PM on April 11, 2006


I just find it depressing that these things are even necessary.

"Yes dear, I understand that you're horny, but NO."

That means no. Not maybe. Not "Oh. maybe she actually means yes and she's playing hard to get". And even if she does mean that, you don't simply assume it. If she says no you tuck your dick away and deal with it like a decent man. Go home and jerk off. It's not such a fucking disaster.

Jesus, my sex depresses me.
posted by Decani at 6:36 PM on April 11, 2006


My younger sister was raped last Wednesday morning -- April 5, 2006

In the short time between then and now, I have learned a few things.

She, like most other victims of rape, is facing a huge stigma about it.

She, like most other victims of rape, is highly reluctant to press a case against her rapist.

She, like most women, would never spuriously file a formal accusation of rape against someone, because the cost to her own well-being of doing so is incredibly high.

Those of you who speculate that the law in question is likely to criminalise "a generation of innocent men" don't know what the fuck you are talking about. Neither did I, just another ignorant male, until I got the worst wake up call possible.
posted by randomstriker at 7:24 PM on April 11, 2006


As someone said up-thread, the falling rape conviction rate in the UK is a separate issue, and varies widely and arbitrarily according to region. The wide discrepancies in allegation : conviction rates between regions would suggest that the moral beliefs of individual police and police prosecutors might be playing too much of a role in deciding which cases are brought to trial.

Just a couple of stats from that Observer piece:

Percentage of rapes reported in 1977 resulting in a conviction: 33%

Percentage of rapes reported to police in 2004 resulting in a conviction: 5%.

My suspicion (completely ungrounded, of course) is that those handling rape cases in the UK (both in the police force and in the Crown prosecutors' office) may include significant numbers of older, socially conservative, baby-boomer males of the kind who believes that anyone under 30 is sub-human, feral scum who basically gets what they deserve. (This is a generational problem not restricted to the UK, or the police force, obviously.)
posted by Sonny Jim at 7:46 PM on April 11, 2006


Jesus, rs, that's terrible.
posted by Sonny Jim at 7:49 PM on April 11, 2006


Sonny Jim: "Percentage of rapes reported in 1977 resulting in a conviction: 33%

Percentage of rapes reported to police in 2004 resulting in a conviction: 5%.
"


While you do admit that your suspicion is completely ungrounded, your explanation (baby-boomer cops thinking young women 'deserve it') still seems like a bit too much of a stretch.

My (also completely ungrounded, but hopefully more realistic) gut notion is that far more rapes are reported now than in 1977. It's sad that the convictions don't match the progress in this arena (though, as others have said, I'm not sure this ad campaign is any way to do it).

From the article: The figures show that just 0.86% of rapes reported to police in Gloucestershire end in a conviction

Jesus.
posted by rafter at 8:19 PM on April 11, 2006


soulhuntre: If I get drunk and literally give someone on the street 5000$, are they suddenly muggers?

No, but if you are so drunk you are not aware of me taking money from your wallet. I can be held guilty of theft.

If a business exec gets a little blasted at lunch and signs a contract he later regrets, is the other party now guilty of theft and fraud?

If the business exec is so blasted that he does not remember signing the contract, or thought he was signing a credit card receipt, then I think there would be a strong case here.

Is it the responsibility of every human around me now to be so keenly aware of my state of impairment that it is now their responsibility to be my keeper?

Not keenly aware. But yes, I do think that there is a standing responsibility to not take advantage of other people when they are impaired.

How drunk is "too drunk" then? How is someone supposed to know in the grey areas?

Oh, for fuck's sake. If you suspect it might be a "grey area" keep it in your pants and your hands to yourself. I don't know how it can get any more simple.

The quote is this "One correspondent in the BBC article suggests that he believes if a girl is drunk they cannot consent.".

Ok, I'll clarify. Who out of the people participating in this discussion, are you arguing against? Because as far as I can tell, there seems to be a general consensus here that people can consent while drunk.

Now personally, I wouldn't advise trusting consent from a drunk person. I'd advise giving that person a comfy bed, breakfast in the morning, and then wild sex if they are still interested.

And interestingly enough, that particular quote comes from "Stephen Cooper, a campaigner against wrongful rape conviction,..."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:23 PM on April 11, 2006


rafter: My (also completely ungrounded, but hopefully more realistic) gut notion is that far more rapes are reported now than in 1977. It's sad that the convictions don't match the progress in this arena (though, as others have said, I'm not sure this ad campaign is any way to do it).

You're right, by the way, about the increase in the absolute number of rape complaints (scroll down). So, I guess, on this interpretation, the police are stressed and over-worked; rape cases are perceived to be messy, and a lot of work for not much gain, as conviction rates in rape trials are also low; so police, on a purely cost-benefit analysis, tend to pursue other, more-easy-to-secure-a-conviction offences, rather than rapes?

OK, that does sound more realistic. But just as depressing.
posted by Sonny Jim at 8:37 PM on April 11, 2006


Of all the sex I ever had, I'd have to say that drunk sex was the least satisfying, and often just plain damned frustrating.

Alcohol can have a.... numbing effect. I can't be the only person who ever noticed this. Can I?

There are reasons other than consent issues to avoid screwing while extremely drunk.
posted by beth at 8:47 PM on April 11, 2006


Shakespeare Noticed.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:00 PM on April 11, 2006


But perhaps you're arguing that this works both ways? That any woman who has sex with a drunken man should also be found guilty of rape, because he isn't capable of giving informed consent in that state either?

Note that it can be physiologically...difficult for a drunken man to have sex of the most common varieties.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 10:14 PM on April 11, 2006


Reports show 30% of rape complaints are false, so more people in prison for rape, means more innocent people in prison. Oh wait, its just men, the women are safe.
posted by IronWolve at 10:54 PM on April 11, 2006


Reports show 30% of rape complaints are false

Reports show you're talking out of your ass. Got a cite?
posted by beth at 12:21 AM on April 12, 2006


Here is the thing - all of those circumstances you described are violent offenses that did not depend on your consent

I'll repeat: The problem with the drunken he said she said situation is how you determine, legally, that the crime happened, not whose responsibility it is in case it happened. Some are switching the two here.

Therefore, getting drunk and hitting someone and getting drunk and being raped are not comparable. Getting drunk and hitting someone and getting drunk and raping someone; getting drunk and being hit, getting drunk and being raped. Agent/target are not switcheable, no matter what the crime.

The only difference is in rape you can have situations where there's a lot less evidence, independently verifiable and distinct from allegations, than in being hit by a car, mobbed, assaulted.



If I get drunk and literally give someone on the street 5000$, are they suddenly muggers?

That is comparable to consensual sex, not to rape. And yes of course the issue is consent, duh. But again, some here, including you, are focusing on a situation of difficulty for a judge or jury in establishing consent in a purely evidence-less he said/she said situation where the alleged raped party was drunk, to pretend that the drunken state of said party means they bear co-responsibility for the rape - if a rape happened.

We're surreptitiously going from one implication to the other, from "it's always rape when the woman is drunk" - which is bullshit - to "it's never rape when the woman is drunk" - which is also bullshit.

We're also confusing ethical/social/individual responsibility for one's own behaviour, safety, taking care of oneself, not drinking yourself into unconsciousness, whatever, to legal co-responsibility for rape (again, if).

We're also pretending the "she was drunk, she had sex with him, she regretted it later, she filed for charges, she got him arrested, she won the case" is THE classic most likely rape situation.

Which implies pretending that the word of a woman is so all powerful with police and courts that it just takes a "he raped me" statements and that's it, jail time. (Or the implication is that this is the situation being advocated by campaigners, you know, total lack of any fairness and due legal requirements, just the allegation should suffice!)

In short, we're pretending we haven't read what the linked articles say about the data about the very low rate of a) reporting and b) convictions and situation in the country this campaign is taking place in. Even for cases when there's a lot more than a he said/she said.

Is it the responsibility of every human around me now to be so keenly aware of my state of impairment that it is now their responsibility to be my keeper?

And here, we're pretending that making a distinction between being responsible drinkers and legal responsibilities for rape equals "women are incapable of taking care of themselves therefore should be granted special treatment like children" as well as "the difference between consensual sex and rape is sooo razor thin that it all depends on the mind-reading abilities of the sex partner".

Difficulties in establishing consent or lack of consent in court - not the same thing as difficulty in establishing consent or lack of consent in bed. Where bed can also stand for pub toilet.

If a man is really worried he doesn't know if his sex partner is engaging consensually or not, then, as long as that partner is still alive and breathing, there's such a thing as communication, verbal or otherwise, you know? And that seems to be the point of the campaign...

The possibility that one partner simply has regrets after consensual sex and calls "rape!" is a "the potential is always there" situation, it can happen, but, regardless of how often it does or how likely it is to happen - not much - it also requires a series of passages that some are taking for granted are easy peasy, as if the bias is so skewed in favour of not just of substantiated allegations, but even of purely unsubstantiated allegations, contrary to reality.

Sorry for getting so repetitive and lengthy, but seems to me there's so many assumptions to be unraveled here...
posted by funambulist at 2:20 AM on April 12, 2006


correction to "the only difference is in rape you can have situations where..." - that's obviously not "the only" difference... seen as there is no stigma and reluctance and other such cultural factors associated with reporting and handling and prosecuting cases of getting hit by a car, mobbed, assaulted, etc.

It's impressive how easily all that can be wilfully ignored and everything reduced to theoreticals about the least likely situations.
posted by funambulist at 2:34 AM on April 12, 2006


If two people go home drunk together, why is it automatically assumed that she couldn't consent, but he could?

Sorry to repeat this, but I still don't understand the rationality behind it.

Is a drunk man expected to somehow act more responsibly than a drunk woman?
posted by lenny70 at 2:40 AM on April 12, 2006


lenny70: Sorry to repeat this, but I still don't understand the rationality behind it.

I don't understand who participating in this discussion is making this argument.

funambulist: Which implies pretending that the word of a woman is so all powerful with police and courts that it just takes a "he raped me" statements and that's it, jail time. (Or the implication is that this is the situation being advocated by campaigners, you know, total lack of any fairness and due legal requirements, just the allegation should suffice!)

Well, just as a data point, a defendant was found not-guilty even with the alleged crime captured on video.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:01 AM on April 12, 2006


lenny, see KirkJobSluder's comment - that position is mentioned in the BBC article:

"I think a lady is incapable of giving consent when she is drunk"
Stephen Cooper
Campaigner against wrongful rape conviction


That belief is not the law and like KirkJS said, it's not really the general consensus in this thread either.
posted by funambulist at 5:03 AM on April 12, 2006


God, between this thread and the abortion one down the page, at least it's easy to tell who doesn't like women on Metafilter.
posted by klangklangston at 7:20 AM on April 12, 2006


"Oh, for fuck's sake. If you suspect it might be a "grey area" keep it in your pants and your hands to yourself. I don't know how it can get any more simple."

And I agree. That isn't the issue. The issue here is not practical advice, but legal responsibility.

As a practical matter it is also advisable to tell young girls not to go out and get drunk in a room full of strangers. However that advise is somehow "blaming the victim".

Since someone who is wrongly accused or convicted is also a victim, I wonder why it is Ok to tell men to avoid questionable situations but it is considered evil to give the same advice to females?

"I guess, on this interpretation, the police are stressed and over-worked; rape cases are perceived to be messy, and a lot of work for not much gain, as conviction rates in rape trials are also low; so police, on a purely cost-benefit analysis, tend to pursue other, more-easy-to-secure-a-conviction offences, rather than rapes?"

Or that the shifting definition of what rape is - from forced sex to coerced sex to regretted sex and now slightly drunk sex might in fact be resulting in many, many more cases that are simply incapable of being proven to a legal standard.

It's unfortunate to many I suppose that you can't (yet) always just convict someone on the accusation without any back up.

"Reports show you're talking out of your ass. Got a cite?"

While I have no idea what he is "citing" there are some disturbing bits of study out there that cast some question on the claim that false sexual assault accusations are minimal.

For instance there is some work by Eugene J Kanin of Purdue University that is of interest. According Kanin, in over 40 percent of the cases reviewed, the complainants eventually admitted that no rape had occurred (Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 23, No. 1, 1994).

As for the veracity of Kanin's work, some in the UK parliament seem to find it valid.

Linda Fairstein, who headed the New York County District Attorney’s Sex Crimes Unit wrote "Sexual Violence: Our War Against Rape". The book includes this quote: “there are about 4,000 reports of rape each year in Manhattan. Of these, about 50 percent simply did not happen.”

There is more of course. Obviously most of the reports are only really mentioned on "Men's Rights" sites and as such will be dismissed but of course any link to a horror statistic found on a rape activism site is considered sacrosanct.

It is awesome when one side in a debate (in this case trying to ascertain he incidence of false reporting/accusation) can claim that the other side are just subhuman rapists sympathizers or misogynists as is often done (though not so far in this thread).

"The problem with the drunken he said she said situation is how you determine, legally, that the crime happened, not whose responsibility it is in case it happened."

I agree. However more than most rape is a crime (especially under recent laws in many places) that is almost entirely a matter of opinion and viewpoint. That is not common in the legal system.

"We're surreptitiously going from one implication to the other, from "it's always rape when the woman is drunk" - which is bullshit - to "it's never rape when the woman is drunk" - which is also bullshit."

Certainly I have not seen that second assertion made. Nor are we headed that way that I can see.

"Which implies pretending that the word of a woman is so all powerful with police and courts that it just takes a "he raped me" statements and that's it, jail time."

Actually no, it isn't that way - yet. The fact that yours till need evidence or witnesses is a crucial part of the law - and the reason or the low convection rate. Yet instead of recognizing that reality and realizing that from a legal standpoint it MUST be that way we are seeing a legal shift to try and remove those nasty little details (evidence) so that the rape conviction numbers can be brought into line with political necessity.

What is never considered is the possibility that the conviction rate is right where it should be. Given that the crime often has no direct evidence and that there are indeed false accusation problems maybe the reality si that the low conviction rate doesn't reflect systemic anti-woman bias but the realities of a legal system that still needs to act on "innocent till proven guilty".

Trying to convict rapists while still keeping the innocent out of jail is not "anti" anyone.
posted by soulhuntre at 7:57 AM on April 12, 2006


soulhuntre: And I agree. That isn't the issue. The issue here is not practical advice, but legal responsibility.

Why? The FPP is about an ad campaign delivering practical advice. The quoted snippit from the BBC article is from a private investigator offering practical advice on how to avoid being accused of rape. Given that we are not talking much about either statutory or case law, I'm a bit baffled as to where you are coming from?

As a practical matter it is also advisable to tell young girls not to go out and get drunk in a room full of strangers. However that advise is somehow "blaming the victim".

Since someone who is wrongly accused or convicted is also a victim, I wonder why it is Ok to tell men to avoid questionable situations but it is considered evil to give the same advice to females?


Well, I'll ask yet again. Exactly who engaged in this discussion is making the claim that it is evil to give the same advice to females?

Or that the shifting definition of what rape is - from forced sex to coerced sex to regretted sex and now slightly drunk sex might in fact be resulting in many, many more cases that are simply incapable of being proven to a legal standard.

Exactly who in this discussion is shifting the definition from coerced sex to regretted sex?

Yet instead of recognizing that reality and realizing that from a legal standpoint it MUST be that way we are seeing a legal shift to try and remove those nasty little details (evidence) so that the rape conviction numbers can be brought into line with political necessity.

Exactly who has advocated that evidence should not be considered in rape cases? (And remember that the accounts of both the accuser and accused are also evidence.) Exactly how does pointing out that people really should obtain explicit consent before sex change the standards of evidence required for a conviction? Exactly how does an advertising campaign change the definitions of "legal responsibility"?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:28 AM on April 12, 2006


It's just baffling to me that such a simple little bit of advice, "ask before fucking" is somehow to blame for changing the fundamentals of due process and evidentiary procedure on two continents.

This bit of advice does not shift the burden (at least in the U.S.) from the prosecution to provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the accuser did not or could not consent to the crime. (Which recent high-profile cases in Colorado and Illinois suggest is rarely a slam-dunk.) But it might go a little way to reducing the number of cases.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:45 AM on April 12, 2006


we are seeing a legal shift to try and remove those nasty little details (evidence) so that the rape conviction numbers can be brought into line with political necessity.

Really? We are seeing this legal shift where? in the UK? or more generally speaking?

The articles linked in the FPP point at the opposite, and the problem with low reporting and conviction rates is not that there should be higher conviction rates as an absolute rule just because it's fun to send more people to crowded jails, or because all those man-hating sex-hating radical feminists are brainwashing the police, but because police and government and everyone dealing with the situation know there are difficulties in bringing a conviction even when there is evidence, and that there are more rapes than reported, and the two things are related, and there are cultural factors at play. See that "one third of people in the UK believed a woman was partially or completely to blame for being raped if she had behaved in a flirtatious manner", nevermind if she was drunk. Is that research invalid? Is the question wrong? Or is it simply irrelevant?

If you're telling us you are convinced the bias now is being slowly but surely skewed all the way round in favour of completely unsubstantiated allegations, I have to wonder what reality are we talking about.

Obviously most of the reports are only really mentioned on "Men's Rights" sites and as such will be dismissed but of course any link to a horror statistic found on a rape activism site is considered sacrosanct.

Hmm, the data being reported in these articles and related links posted to the thread are from the UK government. I'd say that's probably a more reliable source than any kind of 'activist site', don't you think?
posted by funambulist at 8:50 AM on April 12, 2006


Rather than driving this campaign, they need to target the cause - women getting so drunk that they stumble home with someone they have no interest in.

I know this comment is rather far back on the thread but...

"Rather than"? So you are basically saying that the only strategy to prevent rape should be to tell women to be careful. Because, you know, that is certainly a novel approach that hasn't been tried before. Wow, I'll bet no one has ever thought of telling women that they shouldn't get drunk/wear provocative clothes/be alone with a man/go to a party/whatever in order to avoid being raped. @@

Telling women what not to do so that they don't get raped is not anything new. So adding the component of reminding men that they really ought to make damn sure that they have consent doesn't seem like it should be considered all that radical.
posted by kayjay at 10:48 AM on April 12, 2006


One woman's perspective.
posted by bobbyelliott at 2:11 PM on April 12, 2006


Given that we are not talking much about either statutory or case law, I'm a bit baffled as to where you are coming from?

I could be wrong, but I believe the links of the post itself discussed the proposed legal changes as a topic. Yup, they did.

Well, I'll ask yet again. Exactly who engaged in this discussion is making the claim that it is evil to give the same advice to females?

Upon review it would seem no one here has, so I apologize for the comment. It is just such a common thing in these discussions for people to be confuse rational advice with "victim blaming" that it was on my mind.

Exactly who in this discussion is shifting the definition from coerced sex to regretted sex?


I don't think it is anyones intention - but it is the effect of the proposed changes to the law in England. They will take an already difficult to handle crime to a whole new level.

Exactly who has advocated that evidence should not be considered in rape cases? (And remember that the accounts of both the accuser and accused are also evidence.)

One of the linked articles bemoans the problem of judges stopping trials where a woman cannot remember the events in question as a social problem and an indication of police and societal bias.

Exactly how does pointing out that people really should obtain explicit consent before sex change the standards of evidence required for a conviction?

The proposed law itself is a substantial change in the consent issues in question and will obviously have a huge impact on what evidence is required in such trial - bringing with it entirely new standards we can be sure.

Under the new law once it has been established that sex took place then the burden is ont he male to prove that he obtained consent. In other words once you sleep with someone you are guilty of rape in the eyes of the law unless you can prove you obtained positive, active consent.

Exactly how does an advertising campaign change the definitions of "legal responsibility"?


The post and the linked articles raised the issue of the proposed law changes.

See that "one third of people in the UK believed a woman was partially or completely to blame for being raped if she had behaved in a flirtatious manner", nevermind if she was drunk. Is that research invalid? Is the question wrong? Or is it simply irrelevant?


I believe the research, on scrutiny, will prove to be invalid. Not only don't I consider Amnesty International to be an impartial organization (the are eminently political and agenda driven beyond their stated goal) but the exact wording of the question would be crucial.

I am fairly sure the question deliberately or unintentionally led to a confusion between exactly what we are discussing here - practical concepts and legal ones. Obviously I can't say for sure how accurate that study was without details.

Hmm, the data being reported in these articles and related links posted to the thread are from the UK government. I'd say that's probably a more reliable source than any kind of 'activist site', don't you think?


Do we honestly believe that governments are objective and that politics don;t ever influence their view of "the facts"? I mean, I know I quoted the parliament but I was mostly kidding :)
posted by soulhuntre at 5:44 PM on April 12, 2006


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