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A Phone Call…

I received a call this morning that directed this blog post.  It was from a woman who is a survivor of what I have labeled Intoxication Rape.  The following is from my book:

Statistics:  Studies on intoxication rape center on college campuses because this is their prime mileu.  In a national cross section of 119 four year colleges (69% public, 31% private) “Rape while intoxicated is the major type of forced sex‘  (italics added by me).  Remember, there is no such thing as forced sex.  If it is sex, it is not forced.  Forced and sex cannot exist together.  The term is an oxymoron and a way to avoid a word that has no real power, except what we give it, rape.  The above study “…indicates that 1 in 20 college women experienced rape since the beginning of the school year.  Moreover, 73% of these rapes occurred when victims were so intoxicated that they were unable to give consent.”  This is from the Harvard School of Health College Alcohol Study (CAS) survey.  It included illicit drug use as well as alcohol.  (Correlates of Rape while Intoxicated in a National Sample of College Women,” Journal of Studies on Alcohol, January 2004.  www.hsph.harvardedu/cas/Documents/rapeintox/037-Mohler-Kuo.sepl.pdf.

Definition: Forcing penetration of any kind to a person unable, due to intoxication, to give consent.  “Rape may also be found when a person has sex with a victim who is deemed legally incapable of consenting if she or he is known to be mentally incompetent, intoxicated, or drugged.” (Rape Law & Legal Definition.” U.S. Legal definitions, c. 2001-2008)

The number of reported rapes by intoxication in San Diego County has increased 60% from 2007 to 2008.  The county has started an education campaign to reduce risk to youth. (“Web Site Targets Rape by Intoxication,” San Diego law enforcement, city officials launch new Web campaign, Web services SDNN, April 10, 2009…web-site-targets-rape-intoxication/trackback)

Story:  Susan was so excited to be able to become a sorority pledge.  She so looked forward to the sisterhood it promised.  Little did she know, that by joining, she was also joining a mindset of sorority/fraternity partying.  She did as expected and went to these parties.  At one of them, unbeknownst to her, it was the intent of the men at the fraternity to get the women drunk in order to ‘have sex’ with them.  Translated, that really meant this was a rape trap.  Susan was not alone in drinking too much.  She was goaded and encouraged to do so by men and women at the party.  So vulnerable at age 19 and far from home, she was easily influenced and passed out from too much drink.  She was then taken into a bedroom and raped on the bed.  She awoke much later and could see the evidence of what had happened to her.  Vague memories stirred as well.  Immediately she called her mother.  She was told that she should not have been drinking and that therefore it was her fault.  She never told anyone else.  In her mid thirties, as a young mom struggling with depression and issues with her mother, she came in for therapy.

Commentary:  A survivor is not to blame if while under the the influence of drugs or alcohol someone took advantage of her.  Might it have been better for her to be sober,  to avoid the type of company in which she found herself?  Of course; but I tell each survivor that even if she had been walking down the street nude, the responsibility for the rape lies with the rapist, not with her.  That you or I would blame each other for a rape under intoxication is an indicator that we ourselves are immersed in a rape-based culture that excuses men for aggressive behavior.  Getting drunk or high on something is indicative of a problem but it is not an invitation to be raped.

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