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Dec 28 2006

“Sad sad England”: blokes to be held accountable for raping drunk, disgusting women

Well, here’s something. A new law up for consideration in the UK would deem a drunk woman incapable of giving consent for sex. You see where this is going? You grasp the cunning plot?

Predictably, there is mucho pained outcry from British subjects who are loath to see an important source of pussy evaporate. Witness the comments on the Daily Mail story, where men voice their concern by way of the venerable false accusation scenario:

“What if the woman, the next morning and thinking better of it, decides that she has made a silly mistake, and to salve her conscience reports the sex act. As a fib, she adds that she was drunk. Who’s word would be believed? We have seen enough cases of lying evil women shouting rape in the last 12 months, I think that this new law will make it far too easy for a malicious self-serving woman to destroy some innocent mans life; possibly even open up a new avenue for blackmail.”

Not to mention the irrational fear that such a law is sure to result in “a lot of rape cases being brought to court” which preposterous contingency “can only lead to injustice.” Imagine, clogging up the courts with a lot of stupid rape cases.

Self-policing women, who know after a lifetime as sex objects that male arousal is always a woman’s responsibility, admonish “Women must start showing more respect for themselves by not becoming so drunk and disgusting that they are putting themselves at serious risk.” And my personal favorite, Mrs C of Surrey: “When, oh WHEN will women be MADE to start taking responsibility for their own actions?” Because right now they’re just runnin’ wild o’er the countryside, rapin’ n’ pillagin’ n’ slappin’ the missus around.

As is always the case in these internet “discussions”, a lone woman tries to make the case for the notion that maybe men ought not to go around raping people, and is summarily shouted down.

“Jeez what ever happened to equality” muses Frank of Hertfordshire, sadly letting go of a date-rape dream.

46 comments

  1. ::Wendy::

    I’m proud of the UK government for actually taking steps to enable a fairer assessment of rape cases in the law courts. Given what we know of the patriarchy this is actually a step in the right direction, and I’m all for progress. Let’s hope this actually turns into some form os sensibly usable legislation…

  2. stormcloud

    We shall have to wait and see if the legislation gets passed or not. The dismal state of rape cases in the UK (5.3% conviction of reported rapes) really cannot get much worse. I believe that the law may already recognise that an unconscious or sleeping woman cannot give ‘consent’, however, many of these cases still do NOT result in conviction.

    One recent case is where two women testify against one man (one woman was asleep, the other passed out), and that still wasn’t enough to get a conviction. Rape conviction rates are a joke, however, I am not laughing.

    Read the story of the two women here.

  3. Urban

    Every time I hear the false accusation scenario I want to throw up. If it’s printed in The Daily Mail, the effect is far worse because I know that millions of people are reading it and nodding their heads, including my parents in law.

    I usually make it my tactic to try and hold back from convulsions of horror long enough to appraise them of the real statistics:

    “…only 5.6% of 11,766 reports in 2002 led to a rapist being convicted. Of the 11,766 allegations of rape made in 2002 there were just 655 convictions, 258 of which had come from a guilty plea. Only 14% of cases pursued made it to trial.” Source

    The italics were mine, because even I am shocked that this puts the conviction rate where the perpetrator pleads not guilty and the CPS has to bother to do some actual case-making, down to 3.3% of ‘allegations’.

    I follow up with a lengthy lecture on the fact that if the statistics are so clear (and the conviction rate is dropping, not rising), then there’s something very, very skewed in the ‘justice’ system, that the ‘something’ is the patriarchy, and that if the gubment fails consistently to do something about the situation, therein lies a human rights violation of such frightening magnitude that it has caused me to lose sleep. Then I direct them to “Eve Was Framed” by Helena Kennedy even though I know they will never have heard of Helena Kennedy, much less read any of her books.

    Women apparently have so much time on their hands that many of them can spare several hours/days down at the police station being swabbed, inspected, violated, patronised, accused of contributory negligence, attend follow-up court appearances and/or video-tape evidence, and made to feel the size of a pin-head, all to get back at a man because women are vengeful bitches and shouldn’t be allowed out in public because they can’t be trusted to keep their various impulses in check.

    Give me strength.

    Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!

  4. Keeshond

    I’ve seen the “what if she regrets it the next morning and calls it rape” argument about a billion times now and it STILL makes no sense to me. How does A cause B in a situation like that? Where does this weird paranoia come from? I’m not making the critical leap here. Is the “regrets it the next morning” clause really just a code phrase for “realizes I totally took advantage of her” for misogynist asshats on the prowl?

  5. TP

    It’s so difficult to legislate morality in these cases. Are you prevented from drinking before sex by the nanny state? Should the considerate and law abiding man refuse to lay with you after you’ve had a few?

    I guess the hard-core drunk-rapists of England will soon be turning to their last legal prey, young men.

  6. Keeshond

    I’ve heard the “what if she regrets it the next morning and calls it rape” attack about a billion times now and it still makes no sense to me. How exactly does A cause B in a scenario such as that? How does ‘regret’ come to equal ‘rape’ in the feverishly paranoid brains of dudes like the one quoted above? And how, in their tortuous logic, do they think redefining an unfortunate case of beer goggling as a criminally punishable act would absolve a woman of her regret? To me the false accusation claim makes about as much sense as “what if she regrets it the next morning and buys a briefcase”. I’m not making the critical leap here so if anyone can explain this mystery to me, I appreciate it.

  7. Ephiny

    It’s true that rape cases can be very difficult to decide, but that’s true of cases involving many other crimes as well. It’s ridiculous to suggest that this means no couple will be allowed to have sex after a glass of wine without one being dragged off by the secret police and automatically convicted of rape, as some of those commenters seem to imagine. The main advantage I see in this is that it will hopefully reduce the cases where a rape victim’s claim is doubted because she had been drinking. This happens, and I would guess it happens a lot more often than ‘evil lying women’ deciding to invent a rape for fun.

    Maybe this would be seen as more acceptable if it was discussed in more gender-neutral terms — presumably when the legislation is developed properly it will also apply to the situation where a man rapes another man who is too drunk to consent. Perhaps some of these men who are complaining would see the purpose of such a law better if they imagine the situation where they themselves are raped by another man after drinking, and no one is sympathetic because he had been so dirty and disgusting as to have a drink. Though it’s a shame they can’t identify with the situation when the victim is female.

    Not to detract from the fact that the overwhelming majority of rapes are committed by men against women, just that, you know, it might help make the point that this is not an anti-man thing, but anti-rape.

  8. Twisty

    I can only speculate that the men who make that lame argument are the date rapists.

  9. finnsmotel

    “To me the false accusation claim makes about as much sense as “what if she regrets it the next morning and buys a briefcase”. I’m not making the critical leap here so if anyone can explain this mystery to me, I appreciate it.”

    It comes from a place of fear, I would guess.

    Fear of having your game shut down.

    Fear of the balance of power shifting.

    Fear of loss of money.

    I will say this, though, I am having a hard time not agreeing that it could be an easier avenue for blackmail. Pick out a rich dude. Get drunk and have sex with him. Blackmail him after.

    Maybe I missed something there.

  10. Sam

    finnsmotel, there’s nothing stopping a British woman from making a false accusation of rape right now that will change if this proposal takes effect. Ask yourself why there is not an epidemic of women falsely crying rape now and you’ll have the answer to why there will be no false rape epidemic after the law’s passing.

  11. antelope

    I think it’s more likely that they’re mostly just porn-watchers who want to fantasize that date rape scenarios look a lot like what they see on their screens all the time. They’re not defending their right to rape personally, so much as their right to continue blurring the line between porn and reality.

    I readily admit that I have no data whatsoever to support this theory – just a suspicion that most date-rapists don’t take the time to write letters to the editor. They don’t have to – they have armchair date-rapists to do it for them.

    It’s kind of like all the Dads who love to tell anyone that’ll listen how they intend to protect their daughters from “young men with only one thing on their mind who will stop at nothing, and I know, because I was one.” I think the vast majority of these Dads were not ever date rapists, and yet, they need to fantasize that they were, or could have been – because isn’t that what a truly glorious male youth is all about?

    They don’t really see much difference between implying that they took women by force and exagerating about the size of the fish they caught last weekend.

  12. norbizness

    In any event, this would only work in situations where the rape is reported immediately, and likely wouldn’t have much of an impact on the miserable statistics cited by Urban above, but rather in a fairly narrow range of cases. The histrionic people in the article’s comments don’t realize that couples who normally consent aren’t going to be getting tested against their will by roving bands of breathalyzer-wielding police.

  13. Twisty

    Not that I would know personally, but there have to be more efficacious ways to blackmail a rich dude than by threatening to have him prosecuted for rape. Everybody knows convictions are super-rare, and nobody ever believes the victims. The rich dude would just laugh in your face.

    Incidentally — and I address this to all and sundry — the “lying/blackmailing bitch” argument is bogus, and doesn’t fly on this blog. Women are just lookin’ for a little justice for once, you know?

  14. gennimcmahon

    I always fall back on “statistically insignificant” as important when discussing legislation. I am certain that, if you combed the earth, you could find a woman, maybe even two women, who have lied when claiming rape. So what? Law cannot be made to address every possible eventuality, only the most likely of eventualities, which means that it’s overwhelmingly likely that if a woman reports a rape, it’s because a rape occurred.

    The issue that offends me the most, from an IBTP perspective, is the idea that by existing, a woman is “asking for it.” All these laws are structured to qualify exemptions to that underlying assumption. She’s not asking for it because she’s wasted/passed out/naked/etc. When we finally recognize that the assumption should be that a woman is never asking for it, then maybe laws will function to prevent reprehensible behavior.

  15. figleaf

    “Self-policing women”

    See, there they go again with the “self-policing” stuff. Whatever happened to self-policing men anyway? I’m reading Elizabeth Abbott’s The History of Chastity at the moment and she spends quite a bit of time documenting the shift away from the older and far, far more common (though still, of naturally, misogynistic) idea that men needed to be constantly self-policing themselves against women’s amoral tendencies to seduce any man they could get alone with them.

    Either way it’s just as stupid to put either all the blame for propriety on one gender and impropriety on the other.

    I mean, geez! It’s not like there’s any difference between men and women when it comes to, oh, say, either libido or self-control. We’re perfectly capable of having plenty of both, and assertions to the contrary just infantilize… whichever gender society is choosing to blame this century.

    figleaf

  16. KTal

    Some of the dumber statements the Daily Mail reporter writes:

    it would open the way to prosecutions of husbands or regular boyfriends who have sex with drunken wives or partners

    This is a bizarre statement seemingly based on the typical assumption that when a women is tied to a man by romance or marriage, she gives up the right to refuse sex. Therefore, the new angle on the interpretation of ability to consent is seen as granting these women the right to refuse sexual activity? That people still have a problem with this concept shows how far women still have to go.

    The law already suggests that a woman who is asleep or unconscious is less likely to have consented to sex.

    I cannot fathom how anyone can argue that someone can give consent while asleep or unconscious. How is that done? Through dream communication? Can one interpret snores?

    Also, I’ve never heard of the ‘rape card’ being used to land a man. How does that happen? The wealthy man in question is so overcome with guilt at your threat that he signs over his estate pronto? The courts would pass through the trial phase right to sentencing, saying, “Yes, but you are a wealthy man, we know you are guilty, so you must give her all your money now to this angel-virgin. We will break with legal protocol and not allow you a defence and break with conventional practice and now even test to see if she’s a deserving angel-virgin first!”

    Finally, so many seemingly forget, time and time again that rape means that a man coerces, cajoles, threatens or abuses his potential ‘conquest’ to the point of her having no choice but to give in. Last I knew, you can’t force, cajole, threaten or abuse anyone to enter into a binding agreement of any kind.

    Except when a man wants to get laid and right now, because really, that’s all that matters.

  17. maribelle

    Should the considerate and law abiding man refuse to lay with you after you’ve had a few?

    Yes. If there’s any doubt at all the woman is capable of consent, back the fuck off.

    Pick out a rich dude. Get drunk and have sex with him. Blackmail him after.

    News flash: jumping in bed with someone is a risk. Maybe these “dudes” need to think twice before they try to screw every woman they meet.

    Aside to noone in particular: why is a man’s non-existent “right” to consequence-free 24/7 pussy seen as more important than a woman’s actual legal right to bodily autonomy?

  18. darkymac

    From the host’s post:
    You grasp the cunning plot?

    Easy one, and using my between-the-lines reader, I see that the defence of a man being too drunk to understand no will be given its big foot in the door.

    The between-the-lines reader is very handy; if there is something that’s not said in-the-lines, then you can just about guarantee that the unsaid is vraiment la chose critique.
    So in this case, justice is going to get deferred again, apparently.

    Gem of the comments-from-within-the-dense-fog-of-privelege collection is this one from Paul of Livingston.

    If a male is drunk and decides ends up sleeping with a woman who he would not normally do, can he claim rape? And if they are both drunk, then who raped who?

    But gee, Barry E Platt of Palm Beach Florida USA, holds out a clue that there really might be a rip in the space/time continuum:
    How long will it be before just having sex will be rape.Sad sad England.

    I wish.

  19. maribelle

    Should the considerate and law abiding man refuse to lay with you after you’ve had a few?

    Yes. If there’s any doubt at all the woman is capable of consent, back the f*ck off.

    Pick out a rich dude. Get drunk and have sex with him. Blackmail him after.

    News flash: jumping in bed with someone is a risk. Maybe these “dudes” need to think twice before they try to screw every woman they meet.

    Aside to noone in particular: why is a man’s non-existent “right” to consequence-free 24/7 p*ssy seen as more important than a woman’s actual legal right to bodily autonomy?

  20. Sandinista

    I think that this new law will make it far too easy for a malicious self-serving woman to destroy some innocent mans life

    But that just doesn’t make any sense! Assuming this absolutely absurd intent, women can react to morning-after regret by crying rape just as easily now. How is lying about rape-by-alcohol different from lying about rape-by-lack-of-consent?

    “a lot of rape cases being brought to court” which preposterous contingency “can only lead to injustice.”

    What. the. bleeding. hell?!

  21. Bernice

    Or the fear of “she’ll do me for rape in the morning gov” is simply recognition that upon waking up slightly sober, the beer googles have vanished and the pastey balding overweight Man United supporter leering at you is definitely not Mr Darcy. Enough reason one would think to have anyone charged. But hey, as an evil doing dyke, I’d prefer a small chainsaw and a copy of ‘Dissection for Dummies’ to regain my equilibrium.
    & as for “she’ll pretend she was drunk gov”, a simple blood test taken within 24 hours would prove or otherwise this point. Not blessed the boys are they? Though its odd to agree with Frank “Jeez what ever happened to equality”

  22. stormcloud

    Twisty, did my comment earlier today get deleted? I’m sure it posted, but now it’s gone.

  23. Twisty

    Stormcloud, I don’t ever delete comments unless they’re just hideous illiterate rot. But I am constantly trying out new spam filters. It’s a kind of obsession, or disease, with me. I have just found a bunch of legitimate comments in the trash, of which one was yours, which is now restored.

    Please, everyone who gives a crap about their comments, compose them in a text editor and save them in a vault for posterity! And read the spamulation instructions on the FAQ.

  24. finnsmotel

    Sam sez:

    “Ask yourself why there is not an epidemic of women falsely crying rape now and you’ll have the answer to why there will be no false rape epidemic after the law’s passing.”

    I didn’t mean to suggest it would be an epidemic. But, it does change the definition of consent.

    Clarify this for me. If a man and woman meet in a bar, both are drinking heavily. She suggests they go back to her place. They have sex without any other form of coercion, suggestion, or pressure. Is this a rape?

    gennimcmahon sez:

    “Law cannot be made to address every possible eventuality, only the most likely of eventualities, which means that it’s overwhelmingly likely that if a woman reports a rape, it’s because a rape occurred.”

    I agree. And, I agree with the intent and spirit of the law. I’ve seen guys taking advantage of drunk women and it’s gross.

    I think what I’m responding to/struggling with is the redefinition of consent.

    Twisty sez:

    “Women are just lookin’ for a little justice for once, you know?”

    Understood.

  25. Mar Iguana

    “…whichever gender society is choosing to blame this century.” figleaf

    I’m not aware of any century when men were blamed for everything rather than women.

  26. stormcloud

    Twisty, it was not so much that my comment was earth-shattering, but I was perplexed as to how great was my grip on sanity (seeing it, then not seeing it – it was the fact that it disappeared after posting!). I assume it was because I had two hyperlinks.

    Recently I tweaked my filter, and spammed some of my ham.

  27. Kali

    “I didn’t mean to suggest it would be an epidemic. But, it does change the definition of consent.”

    Yes, to better include rapes of women incapable of consent. Is that a problem for you?

    “Clarify this for me. If a man and woman meet in a bar, both are drinking heavily. She suggests they go back to her place. They have sex without any other form of coercion, suggestion, or pressure. Is this a rape?”

    Does she claim she was raped? Why would she if she wasn’t? You wan’t to make the lying/blackmailing bitch argument? Fine, but think harder. Or read what Sandinista has written above if you still don’t get it.

  28. sam b

    (The Sam login does not appear to be valid from home)

    “I’ve seen guys taking advantage of drunk women and it’s gross.”

    What you saw was men raping drunk women, or preparing to. The place in your gut that had your conscience telling you to apply the word “gross” is where ideas of consent are more clearly understood than in law books. You knew the consent was unfairly inhibited and witnessed men knowing it too.

    “If a man and woman meet in a bar, both are drinking heavily. She suggests they go back to her place. They have sex without any other form of coercion, suggestion, or pressure. Is this a rape?

    If there is no coercion, suggestion, or pressure then no one is calling it rape, most importantly the people engaged in the consensual sex. But if there was a charge of rape then the benefit of my doubt goes to the situation not being as free from coercion, suggestion, and pressure as thought.

    I trust that when women translate your feeling of “gross” into the feeling their bodies have been unwillingly broken into that they know they’ve been sexually abused. Considering how hard it is for women to use the word rape for their sexual abuse and how daunting the idea of going to the police for many reasons, I believe women coming forward with the charge of rape have been raped.

  29. Pony

    finnsmotel you need to go the Christi’s blog. Google “Christi skinny” and scroll down to “because you wore a short skirt”.

    This list is on many blogs but Christi has a powerful image to accompany. This is rape.

  30. finnsmotel

    “How is lying about rape-by-alcohol different from lying about rape-by-lack-of-consent?”

    If the law is simply trying to broaden the leverage women have for proving they did not consent to sex, it makes perfect sense. But, something about conferring more of the consent determination to the man creeps me out.

  31. finnsmotel

    “if there was a charge of rape then the benefit of my doubt goes to the situation not being as free from coercion, suggestion, and pressure as thought.”

    I agree.

  32. auguste

    If there is no coercion, suggestion, or pressure then no one is calling it rape, most importantly the people engaged in the consensual sex.

    See, from the description of this law, that’s exactly the problem: The law is calling it rape. Even if the woman doesn’t press charges – because she did consent – that doesn’t change the fact that the way the law is written, she was actually incapable of consenting due to the alcohol.

    From the Daily Mail story:

    A rape law making it an offence to have sex with a woman who has reached a set level of drunkeness is to be proposed by the Home Office committee…

    Isn’t that, in fact, taking away a woman’s agency? I’m not, at all, claiming the “I’m worried she’ll change her mind” argument is valid – I’m not even claiming this law will necessarily lead to one single false rape conviction – I’m just wondering if it’s a good idea to make a man a de facto rapist if a consenting woman blows a .08, or whatever.

  33. auguste

    Or is that de jure? I can never remember.

  34. maribelle

    FWIW the UCMJ defines having sex with a woman too drunk to consent as rape. And if even the Army can figure this out, no one else in polite society should question it.

    If the law is simply trying to broaden the leverage women have for proving they did not consent to sex, it makes perfect sense.

    Leverage? The real question is why women always have to prove that they didn’t consent–the man should have to prove that they did consent if questioned. (Don’t get crazy, I’m not suggesting witnesses. I’m saying a man should make DAMNED sure he has consent and verify this verbally, with eye contact and clear communciation. If a man is asked about consent in a rape trial, he should not be able to use “she didn’t fight me off” as evidence of consent.)

    This is not some technicality to trap men; REAL HARM is done to REAL WOMEN everyday and night in the form of coerced and/or forced sex. One frequent way men get around their objections is with alcohol. This would make it harder for them to get away with it, and less likely to do it. Win/win.

    But, something about conferring more of the consent determination to the man creeps me out.

    Tough. Men thinking they have ipso facto consent unless I bean them with the nearest pole has “creeped me out” my whole life. Men need to make damned sure they have consent before going anywhere near a woman.

    Moreover, men have no business trying to get sex from women too drunk to consent. If you think she might be too drunk, don’t have sex with her. When in doubt, leave it out.

  35. auguste

    Moreover, men have no business trying to get sex from women too drunk to consent. If you think she might be too drunk, don’t have sex with her. When in doubt, leave it out.

    So specific to this law, if this law is a good idea, how drunk is too drunk? What number should they set? Is it .08? Is it .0000001? Where should the law state that a woman loses her ability to consent?

    I agree with the spirit of what you say – there’s a common sense element which many men lack, that needs to be redressed, and moreover, rape is rape no ifs ands or buts.

    But is this law the solution?

  36. auguste

    Btw, I’m aware that calling not raping someone “common sense” is criminal understatement. I simply mean that, like you said, it’s NOT THAT HARD to recognize when a woman is too drunk to consent.

  37. KTal

    “I simply mean that, like you said, it’s NOT THAT HARD to recognize when a woman is too drunk to consent.”

    So true Auguste, until the raped woman is brought up to the stand and forced to testify as to what her actual level of intoxication was and how exactly that incapacitated her and removed her agency.

    The spirit of the law now is that although in our culture women aren’t capable of doing much of anything, one thing they can do is give consent, even when stone cold passed-out or fallen-down drunk.

    Of course as many of the English Daily Mail commenters illustrate, the law probably still won’t get a girl or woman off the hook, cause then she’s got to convince the judge and jury that she didn’t mean to get drunk and she doesn’t get drunk all the time or hang with boys while drunk or wear those skirts and pink thongs.

    So sure, its NOT THAT HARD to figure this stupid shit out, until a man is in jeopardy of the prison sentence, then suddenly in proportion to his social standing (race, economic and social position), his freedom must be defended at all costs!

  38. auguste

    No, I agree with you. But is the solution to set a number? That’s all I’m saying.

    Now, if the law were that all “rape kits”/investigations were to involve a recording of the woman’s blood alcohol level, so that it could be entered into evidence as part of the totality of evidence, I’d be unreservedly in favor of it. I just have a problem with a law which decides for the woman at what point she loses her ability to consent.

  39. Lesley

    Auguste, this whole impaired = unable to give meaningful consent is not a new thing in common law. It’s a very old theory that applies to contracts. If you believe you were too impaired to enter into some contract you signed, you can contest it. It is not automatically nullified, however. If you do not contest it, then the contract is valid. If you do contest it, it must be proven that you were too impaired to consent. For real life examples, consider wills that are challenged by family members because they believe the testator was impaired and unduly influenced by the beneficiary.

    This law does not decide for a woman at what point she loses her ability to consent, because no woman is required to avail herself of its benefit. The law only applies when a woman believes she was too drunk to meaningfully consent and presses charges. In that instance, the woman herself has already decided she lost her ability to consent. It simply sets a bright line so that a man accused in that case cannot use the “honest belief” defense. No agency is removed, because it does not give the state the right to press charges on its own.

    Further, how do you feel about arbitrary limits in DUI? That’s an actual instance where your own feelings about your mental capacity are irrelevant, unlike the law in question in this post. Look, a specific driver may well be capable of functioning with a BAC of .08, but if he/she gets pulled over and tested, too bad. The state can press charges on its own, even if no one was actually harmed.

  40. auguste

    This law does not decide for a woman at what point she loses her ability to consent, because no woman is required to avail herself of its benefit.

    As I’ve said before, whether the woman avails herself or not, the law states what the law states. Unless the Daily Mail reported it wrong, which is clearly more than possible. Here’s the point I’m making: How do we know no one will ever decide to charge men with rape against the woman’s wishes, a la “consensual” statutory rape*?

    The law only applies when a woman believes she was too drunk to meaningfully consent and presses charges. In that instance, the woman herself has already decided she lost her ability to consent.

    My above concerns aside, what happens if a woman claims she had lost her ability to consent: “I was too drunk to consent, test me.” And let’s say she was, in fact, raped. What if she tests at .06 (still assuming we’re talking about .08, like DUI) and the prosecutor – or at the very least, the goddamn vulture opportunist MRAs – say “nope, sorry. You blew too low. We can’t possibly convince the jury you were too drunk to consent. Go home.”

    Look, a specific driver may well be capable of functioning with a BAC of .08, but if he/she gets pulled over and tested, too bad. The state can press charges on its own, even if no one was actually harmed.

    Yeah, that’s actually my fear. When the state starts removing agency, it seems like a can of worms.

    * Not arguing that the statutory rape laws are poorly handled, necessarily. Just saying that the dynamic could be the same.

  41. AoT

    Check out this article if you are in any doubt that england needed this law.

  42. Lesley

    How do we know no one will ever decide to charge men with rape against the woman’s wishes, a la “consensual” statutory rape*?

    That would depend on how the statute is worded, and what other laws it modifies. Since the state currently doesn’t bring rape charges on its own, as I don’t believe they have the right to unless a girl is under the age of consent, this shouldn’t change anything barring an explicit statement of the right of the state to do so.

    what happens if a woman claims she had lost her ability to consent: “I was too drunk to consent, test me.” And let’s say she was, in fact, raped. What if she tests at .06 (still assuming we’re talking about .08, like DUI) and the prosecutor – or at the very least, the goddamn vulture opportunist MRAs – say “nope, sorry. You blew too low. We can’t possibly convince the jury you were too drunk to consent. Go home.”

    You mean, more or less what happens today, except less of the time? Certainly this statute isn’t going to solve everything. However, given the sorry state of rape convictions in England, every little bit helps. Are you aware of the Ryairi Dougal case? The woman was drunk and unconscious. But because she couldn’t remember if maybe she had uttered some word that the rapist might have possibly taken as “consent,” the judge directed the jury to acquit. That’s only one example of the current state of affairs in England. There was also a doctor who raped two drunk women (one passed out and the other asleep) in one night who was acquitted.

    Look, your concern for the agency of women is nice, but the reality is that women get raped while drunk and their rapists are acquitted or never even tried. That’s how the agency of women is being taken away in our society. I’ve never even heard of a case where the state brought charges on its own if the woman was over the age of consent. As I said earlier, I don’t think they can. Not all crimes can be prosecuted without the victim’s agreement. Your concern might be an interesting hypothetical, but we need to have laws that address the reality, not something that might perhaps remotely happen if the world changes dramatically at some undetermined future date.

  43. L.

    Like Auguste, I have a problem with a law which decides for the woman at what point she loses her ability to consent.

    Perhaps this is a small minority of cases, but I am thinking very particularly about sex involving minors. I myself had drunken sex when I was a minor — never drunk to the point of being ill or passing out, but I would certainly not have operated a motor vehicle, so I imagine I was legally drunk. I was always in a controlled setting with a steady, trustworthy (also teenage) boyfriend, and I gave my consent, and the experiences were always mutually satisfying (and make me smile to remember now, several decades later).

    Now, what if my parents had come home early and caught us en flagrante delicto? What if they had carted me off to a lab, to obtain evidence that I was both legally drunk and that I`d had intercourse? Could they have said, “She was drunk, so the fact that she gave her consent and was a willing participant means nothing,” and had my boyfriend prosecuted for rape?

    I just hope the law can`t be used that particular way.

  44. roamaround

    Who owns desire? Men obviously do since sex is seen to be something taken by men from women. Used to be that a man had to get permission from the proprietor of a virgin’s womb, her father. Then her so-called favors were the husband’s property. Now women (in a few places) are the protectors of their own pussies, but it’s still assumed that it’s women’s responsibility to ward off uncontrollable males. If they take it without her permission (consent), that’s stealing (rape).

    This is the paradigm we’re all so indoctrinated with that it’s hard to get our heads around the idea that women have powerful desires too, and that women’s sexual desire is just as valid as men’s. Even good women, like yo’ mama, might like to fuck, before during and after alcohol… gasp!!

    The main reason for a woman to wake up with a hangover and cry rape is SHAME, and where that shame comes from should be no fucking (!) mystery: several thousand years of suppression of female sexual freedom. Sexual shaming is still, everywhere, a very powerful and prevalent way of keeping women in their places.

    Most women don’t falsely condemn anyway because of the stigma and inconvenience, but let’s not pretend for a second like it’s an even playing field where sex is concerned. If it were, it wouldn’t enter our minds to assume that a woman would cry rape for “malicious and self-serving” reasons, any more than she would sue her host after a dinner party.

    If we could understand sex to be a mutually fulfilling, but very intimate and often complex, amusement that is sometimes entered into unwisely, drunk lovers might wake up and think “oh shit,” but there wouldn’t be any reason for false rape charges. Rape would be a result of coercion or, if someone is incapable of consent, violation of bodily autonomy. And yes, that would apply to any kind of (human, I guess?) partnering over the age of consent.

    The thing is, we aren’t there yet. A few decades of a half-won revolution haven’t changed the paradigm. So we still discuss sex as if a woman is handing over property. Hmmm, sounds like patriarchy to me. Claiming desire: yet another reason for the revolution. Meanwhile this law is long overdue.

  45. trabisnikof

    Why couldn’t the legislation have been gender neutral? Now this piece of legislation only continues the patriarchal concept that women need protection. Sure, it’ll make make men more legally responsible, but only in a “women can’t control getting drunk, silly girls” kind of way.

  46. J

    I think it’s amazing that practically everyone of those men who had something to say about the law obvious did not even understand how it worked. Most of them think that a drink before sex is tantamount to rape! Hardly the case. It is only like this if you assume, in the woman-hating fashion, that a woman will take advantage of you when the cards are in her hand. Ironic indeed. What this law changes is the sphere of culpability, so that rape cases that start with a drunk woman are automatically understood in terms of non-consensual sex.

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