"Not strictly consensual" itself tips it into the rape category. It's the same thing just with prettier wording.
Chuck needs to get help with alcoholism asap and start gong to AA or treatment. I would say "He took advantage of a friend once in an alcoholic blackout" at least.
Here's one possibility: Chuck is a terrific guy. Once, long ago, he was in an ambiguous situation where he had sex with a woman at a party who was drunk, didn't remember what happened the next day, but was acting normally at the time. He had every reason to believe it was consensual sex in the moment. When she wanted to talk about it later, she was accusatory and he was confused. Before then and since then he's been a model citizen. He treats women with respect. He listens to them. You'd call him a feminist.
Here's another possibility. Chuck is an asshole. He makes rapey jokes. He does many things to denigrate women. When he does date a woman, he cheats on her. He's only been accused of rape that once, but the rest of the time, he's always pushing at the bounds of consent anyway. He enters into ambiguous territory as to whether the woman wanted to be touched or felt compelled to agree despite not quite being into it.
Here's my point. Angry Confident has other reasons for wanting to avoid Chuck: "I didn't really care for him as we got older." Those reasons are plenty for not wanting to go to the parties he attends, and those reasons are good enough to give party hosts. You can keep your friend's confidence and support her at the same time by relying on your own dislike for Chuck.
Now let me read between the lines a bit. Are the parties Chuck enjoys really the sort you still enjoy yourself? I'm guessing not. The years go by, and your idea of a good time stops being one where you get drunk with friends. Try this. You don't just go to parties. You also sometimes entertain on your own. Invite your confidant. Don't enjoy Chuck.
Well, if it were me, I'd confront the rapist and tell him exactly how I feel about him and his raping people and how it affects me and my not wanting to be around him, ever. And then if there were engagements that I didn't go to because I didn't want to be around the rapist, if asked, I would state I DON'T LIKE THAT GUY AND I DON'T WANT TO BE AROUND HIM. I'd also be evaluating my friendships with people who clearly enjoy hanging out with the rapist. Life is too fucking short to hang out with or be subjected in any way to people you don't want to be around. Seriously.
Not strictly consensual... so... not consensual, right? So, rape. What's the "strictly" qualifier in there for? What's that even mean, "not strictly consensual?"
Speak up - or choose not to.
That’s a crappy situation. One way to handle it would be for LW to talk to Chuck directly. Say “I know what happened between you and ‘Sue’ and I want nothing to do with you. Please stop trying to hang around with my friends and start declining invites to our group’s parties, or I will have no choice but to tell everyone what happened. The only reason I haven’t told them already is out of respect for Sue, but if you don’t back the fuck off I’ll tell them anyway because you don’t deserve to be friends with us.” Maybe that will make him find a different group to spend time with.
I was sexually assaulted also under similar circumstances (only the guy drugged me!) and I have to see him out from time to time. It really stinks. I never outed him to my friends so they have no idea but luckily, while we may be at the same large parties/bars occasionally, he isn’t in my immediate circle. It happened 25 years ago and still, to this day, it makes me physically ill to see him. If the woman he raped is also at these parties, it would be doing her an enormous favor to make sure he isn’t there, whether she wants to call it a full-on rape or not.
I’m annoyed by all the ways that Dan - and to lesser extent the writer - are avoiding the word rape. Glad that the headline writer didn’t avoid it. Fucking someone who is passed out drunk is rape in all 50 states, people. I understand the part about “if she doesn’t label it that way you need to honor that....” yes, sure, to her face. Don’t contradict a woman about whether or not she’s been raped, that would be the epitome of mansplaining. But talking about it in any other situation, you can rely on the legal definition. Fucking a woman who’s passed out isn’t “rape-y,” it’s rape.
Back in college, a friend of mine was dating a jerk that her entire friend group hated, but we tolerated him because of her. (Geek Social Fallacies are real.) I was at a small gathering of the type that only really happens in college — five people, hanging out for more than 24 hours straight — when he took her aside to dump her, then returned to the rest of us to start aggressively hitting on another woman there he'd decided he wanted more. I talked to Friend about it, and she was deeply upset and crying, but she also tried to keep me from being angry at him, and tried to convince me he was a really good guy. That's when I learned that I didn't need someone's permission to be angry on their behalf, or to think something that had been done to them was shitty and inexcusable. She wasn't ready to label her ex's behavior as gross. I was. (So was the woman he was trying to get with, but that's beside the point.)
Point is, Angry Confidant doesn't need her friend's permission to consider Chuck a rapist. She shouldn't overrule her friend's feelings about it or try to bully her into seeing the event differently ("No, you were raped"), and she shouldn't go around spreading gossip the friend doesn't want spread ("You should hate Chuck, he raped my friend"), but she's absolutely within her rights to see the encounter as rape based on the details she knows, and react accordingly, even if her friend is cavilling about it. It's not uncommon for abuse victims to take a while to process and label what happened to them. In the meantime, Angry Confidant isn't a judge passing sentence, she's just a person with an opinion based on knowledge and experience, and she gets to process that experience as she wants and set her own boundaries around it.
@1 and @4 - the LW’s friend might be still be in a form of denial. I was assaulted by a friend several years ago, and it took me years to call it what it was.
First, I didn’t call it anything, because while he deliberately crossed a hard boundary that I had made clear to him, he stopped as soon as I asked him to, so I told myself that somehow made it ok. Close to a year later, I started calling it a consent violation. Somewhere in the midst of me too, I admitted to myself that I had been assaulted. That was painful but ultimately helped me to start healing. I think I avoided calling it what it was because admitting that I had been assaulted made the assault “real.”
My point here is that the LW’s friend may be refraining from calling what happened to her a rape as a coping or avoidance mechanism. It doesn’t necessary mean that she wasn’t raped. And it definitely doesn’t mean that someone needs to sit her down and tell her that yes she was raped.
At the same time, it might be helpful for her to hear that her male friend would not think she was exaggerating if she were to describe her own experience as a rape. For all we know, she’s described it as rape to others she trusts only to have them shut her down.
@3 "I'd also be evaluating my friendships with people who clearly enjoy hanging out with the rapist."
But the other friends don't know, hence the awkwardness of the whole situation. And as both the LW and Dan point out, it's not his (or your, in your scenario) story to tell.
Or does this grand plan of yours involve confronting the guy at a party and yelling, for all to hear, "Jane told me you raped her. Have anything to say, asshole?"
@7 she wasn't "passed out drunk" she was black-out drunk. There is a difference. Passed out is unconscious and there is no grey area about it; it's rape. Black-out means you don't remember what happened afterwards. Some people are quite capable of functioning and consenting when black-out drunk; it may not even be obvious they are particularly impaired. For example a friend of mine managed to go through check-in, airport security, and board her plane while black-out drunk and remembered none of it afterwards.
This is what the old social action of cutting someone was all about.
I don't think you can ask your friends to not invite someone else to a party or social event. You shouldn't put them in the position of choosing friends if they have nothing more to go on than "I don't like this dude; we have bad history." For one thing, the host(s) will doubtless ask what the issue is. And it's not your story to tell (unless you can tell it without naming or implicating your friend).
All you can do is to clearly snub the guy: don't interact with him. If it's a large party, and you are having a conversation with some other people and he comes over and tries to join in, you just leave. Join a different group of people. You can be pointed or subtle about it, but that's all you can do. If you are at a smaller, or activity-based gathering, you can say something like, "I forgot about another commitment" and leave.
You may have to miss out on fun events while he gets to enjoy them. That's not fun, but that's what having integrity sometimes looks like.
If you are particularly close with a member of the friend group, you could ask that person to not invite both of you to an event, or say that if that dude's there, you can't be. I think under those circumstances, you can say, "he raped a friend of mine when she was too drunk to give consent years ago and behaved badly when she tried to talk about it with him later. Although she confided in me, it's not my story to tell, so that's all I'm going to say. But I can't be at a party if he's there."
I would want to know whether my friend was drunk too and what about the encounter made it "not strictly consensual." Because if the only reason that it was "not strictly consensual" was that she was drunk too, then she raped him just as much as he raped her.
If the friend asked the LW for help in getting Chuck to stop coming around, then I'd have a different response, but as it is, my answer is- drop it. Hang out with Chuck and your mutuals if you like, give him the cold shoulder and pursue nothing with him personally, and let your friend decide how to handle it then support her. I wouldn't go around trying to white knight the situation and picking a fight doesn't seem useful either.
Oh, I didn't see the letter said "blackout drunk;" I was thinking, "passed out drunk." There's difference.
If they were both blacked out, I don't know how the friend knows what happened to her. It's much harder to hold someone responsible for his/her actions when they weren't conscious as they acted. He may well have no memory of the sex. He may not believe he is capable of rape. He may not believe that he raped someone.
The bigger issue to me, then, under these circumstances was that the woman tried to talk to him about it later and he didn't react well. But again, when one has no memory of an event or of acting, it's hard to take responsibility for actions.
@14– really??? What a horrible person you are. A complete douche.
Holy shit, does this hit way close to home. I think that was the exact specific term I kept falling back on when I was too ashamed and fearful to admit that that's exactly what happened, and no one was drunk in my own case. I feel like right now, the only person she's potentially damaging with this is herself, though, and it's definitely not Friend's place to fill in the blanks. This is EXACTLY why I'm so fearful of certain friends wanting to reenter my life, and why they are still in the dark to this day.
I think Dan hit it on the head. It's perfectly fair to tell this person that he won't be there, because they don't click. IF, however, SHE IS going to be there, he might want to go, as her friend, just in case. Maybe she's testing herself, maybe she's trying to heal or get answers, or maybe she's just in denial about things.
However, if he DID straight-up ask his friends to uninclude Chuck, he'd better expect some follow-up questions, and she's obviously not ready for any of that. "Not strictly consensual" is highly evasive phrasing for whatever reason, and Friend needs to guard her story, no matter if he attends or doesn't. It isn't his place.
I find it pretty telling how many people are interpreting HER being blackout-drunk as her own fault for what transpired. If someone is so damn drunk they can hardly talk, keep your hands the hell off them.
@19: pollyc, that's the thing about blackout drinking: it's very difficult for anyone witnessing the behavior of the blacked out person to know that that's what's going on.
It's like sleepwalking: the mind and the body are disconnected. It might look like the person is conscious, because they can walk and talk and dance and drive and, yes, fuck without necessarily slurring their words. They can appear to be in complete control. But they are actually unconscious--it's like their brains are turned off. Sometimes people do things that are seriously out of character when blacked-out, but unless you know them really, really well, that can also be hard to discern.
Bottom line: everyone needs to be drinking less.
@11. I can’t speak to every jurisdiction, but in many places, a person can be too intoxicated to give consent, such that sex with them is sexual assault. Just because your friend was able to safely navigate the airport does not mean that she would be per se viewed as capable of giving legally cognizable consent to sex.
@14 That’s a pretty bold blanket statement. If he was drunk too, but all she did was not resist when he initiated and continued sex, that makes her just as much a rapist as him? Taking that thinking to its logical conclusion, every rape survivor who did not manage to stop the rape is just as guilty of rape as their assailant is if the assailant was drunk. That’s absurd and cruel.
@10 NO (reading comprehension skills matter). I would confront the person directly one on one (as in the two of us alone). I would inform people when asked (directly, one on one) that I didn't like the guy. I have no interest in creating a public scene and in no way did I imply that is what I would do. And honestly, I'd still be evaluating my friendships with the people who were hanging around with the guy. How do you know they don't know he's a rapist? That's an assumption being made by the letter writer and the friend who was raped. Even if they don't know, there's still value in evaluating the relationships one has with people and why you're friends with them and/or socializing with them.
Dadddy @17. Seriously? Have you been reading? Where is your sympathy for those of us who have been assaulted? It takes some nerve to jump in here and tell survivors that their experience of assault is invalid. And people wonder why more don’t report or come forward...
xina@22~ You beat me to my answer!
This is about to turn into a shitstorm but so be it.
Truthspeaker5@18 FU! I said what I meant I meant what I said. You are the douche if you think the drunk person with the penis is a rapist when he has sex with a drunk person with a vagina just because he has a penis. I said if the ONLY reason the friend considers it "strictly consensual" was they were both drunk then she is certainly as culpable for her behavior as he is for his.
BeeDeeTee@21 Reading comprehension is your friend. It is certainly possible the reason she considers it strictly nonconsensual is something other than the fact that they were both drunk or both in blackout situations. Once again, it is B.S. and I will always call it out as B.S., when people say that when two people "incapable of consent" due to drunkness have sex, the penis haver is a rapist and the non-penis haver has been raped.
@6 I would agree except for that would out Sue to said acquaintance. Without knowing much about him, this could make Sue's life more difficult in a way she had hoped to avoid.
I've been in this situation before where I don't know any more details than the victim wanted me to know, so all I can do is follow her wishes. If pressed by someone in the circle why you dislike him, I think letting go a "I was told about some shit but it's not my story to tell" paints a clear enough picture.
xina@10 Agreed that reading comprehension skills matter. That's why not only do we not know whether or not this guy's friends know he is a potentially accused rapist, the LW doesn't know that the guy is a rapist! All we know is that the LW's female friend described an encounter with the guy as not "strictly consensual."
It's sad, but I just realized I am going to have to agree with Sportlandia on this one when he eventually shows up.
@25 quick to the insults, eh? Look up “reading comprehension,” and once you’ve learned what it means, try working on yours. You are projecting a whole lot on to the letter and the comments. Clearly this is a touchy subject for you.
You know what? It’s touchy for me too because I WAS ASSAULTED. Statistically, it’s highly unlikely that I’m the only person in these comments who has been.
I offered the perspective I have from that experience as relevant to the issues raised here, and you trample all over it and insult me to boot? If you’ve had a traumatic experience, I sincerely hope that you get treated with more respect and compassion when discussing the issue than you’ve shown others here.
@28 So what did I read wrongly?
Someone might say "not strictly consensual" if parts of it were consensual, or if they initiated and it went somewhere they didn't want or they changed their mind midway through and didn't successfully get it to stop, or if the nonconsensual parts were quick or immediately backpedaled.
A low-level example of that last one is saying ahead of time or during "don't hold my head down", then the other person pushes your head down and holds it. You pull at their hands and they let go, maybe they even say "sorry".
Or let's say you want to have oral sex and no PIV. The other person starts to initiate PIV, you say "wait, stop", they don't immediately stop, and instead of continuing to argue or try to physically fight, you lie there until they're done.
@30: Your examples don't fit your argument. Both occur after the sex has started that is inherently consensual.
@29 I have no reason to believe you have an honest interest in having that question answered. Have fun with your agenda. I’m done here.
"Not Strictly Consensual" is what I would also call encounters I've had while blackout drunk. I went to a show with a very good friend and ended up in bed with him while blacked out. Admittedly there had been some sexual tension between us, but we'd known each other for years and weren't inclined to sleep together. I do remember hanging all over him while being drunk and could easily have crossed the line to eager participant, but the fact remains that I have no memory of the sex and definitely wouldn't have done it sober. I know that if I told him that, he would be mortified. But I wouldn't call it rape. It caused more confusion than trauma. I've also woken up in a complete stranger's bed having no memory of ever even leaving the bar the night before, even though I was apparently "very lively and engaging". Talk about an awkward ride home. Being blacked out is some scary shit. I had to stop drinking entirely. But yeah, the whole "he didn't react well" when confronted is a good sign that he's kind of a shitty person and should probably be avoided anyway.
@12 reducing alcohol consumption to reduce rape was rejected over a decade ago by the feminist establishment.
@16 eliding between passed-out and blacked-out is de rigeur however - you'll see a lot of articles regarding campus rape that freely go back and forth and assuming that a drunk person is "obviously drunk", which is not true. As someone above noted, people are capable of quite a lot when blackout drunk. I don't recall any part of my first drunken one-night stand - I don't remember ever meeting the girl in question, just waking up in the bed together with my clothes on the floor.
@17 there's the case of an Armaan Premjee - who was expelled from USC for sexual misconduct even though the video makes it very explicit that his partner was an active and enthusiastic participant who took several steps to engage in sex. Google him.
@20 they are not "unconscious". They're making decisions in real time according to their level of inebriation just like people who aren't black-out drunk. What they aren't doing is storing short term memories (because alcohol can interfere with the process). It's totally unlike sleepwalking.
@27 we have no idea what "not strictly consensual" really means. For eg, Louis CK masturbating in front of female comics was strictly consensual, but still bad. And Katie Hill fucking her staffer also was strictly consensual, but that's just kink-shaming.
@20, nocutename--I agree. Everyone SHOULD drink less. I can even admit that that's almost entirely the reason I seldom even drink anymore...because my behavior is too out of control when I do. The problem is, though, that neither her friend nor we have enough info to interpret what she ACTUALLY means by "blackout drunk" and this "not entirely consensual" encounter, and her friend should DEFINITELY err on the side of caution in this case and keep his lips sealed--for her sake, if for no one else's.
I'd really like to know how old these people were when it happened. It's no excuse, but it's just possible that HE didn't interpret what he did as criminal/unethical. Were they adults when it happened?
Whoa, whoa, raindrop, @31! That DOESN'T matter! You can and should be able to withdraw consent, WHENEVER, and agreeing to A does NOT mean they're entitled to B or C!
This entire thread is becoming a bit much......
Everything here depends on the meaning of 'not strictly consensual.' Is the friend rounding down from a rape, or rounding up from a black out or drunken episode? If it was 2 drunk people, one of whom believes drunkeness is mutually exclusive with consent, then everyone should chill out a whole bunch imo and take it as a learning experience. If, on the other hand, the friend wanted to stop or not do something (including the sex itself) and said so and the dude did it or made her do it anyway, that's something else. Something called rape. We don't know which it is though.
All that said, it sounds like the friend doesn't want to go into it. That means regardless, imo, the l-dub needs to leave it alone publicly. Otherwise, he's just the second person violating his friend. I don't see anything in the letter about her asking him to be her white knight.
Sounds like a classic case if male solutionizing. Your friend wanted sympathy not a solution. If he doesn't want to be around the guy, great! But making the reason public without the consent of his friend would be a violation of her, imo.
@31 No means no. And stop means stop. At any point in the process. Imo, depending on how vigorous things are at that moment, it could take a second or two for the message to register through the sex fog, but that's all you get. Gotta be tuned in to your partner and stop if that's what they want. It's part of the gig.
@35: Yes, I am not at all sure what the lw meant by "blackout drunk"--I think people mean different things when they use the phrase. The lack of a standardized, agreed-upon meaning makes it much more difficult to know what to do with cases like this.
It's likely that the female friend meant that she was too drunk and found herself doing something she didn't want to do. This is rape, because you can't obtain true consent from someone who is too intoxicated to fully understand what they're consenting to, but I am uncomfortable shifting all the blame onto the man and making him some sort of monster; I tend to think that both parties are to blame and that it's got to be very difficult to not take someone's "yes" at face value, when they seem to be consenting to something one wants as much as sex. Unless the guy is a predator who deliberately preys on women who are that drunk--and there are such people--I assume he was too drunk to be able to accurately read her, and again, I don't know that we can or should put the onus on the person receiving the "yes" to ascertain that that "yes" was legitimate.
I say this as someone who has been raped--by all definitions, and unambiguously--but not through violent force by a stranger. I've also had blackout sex, some of which I've regretted, or at least felt icky about later, but I wouldn't call that rape, because I think the men had every reason to assume I was genuinely consenting (and I might have been, in the moment).
This is why/how bystander intervention is so important: if you see your friend is drunk, you should try to keep them from getting in trouble. People, especially young people with little experience with alcohol, should attend parties together and leave with the same people they came with. If you are sober, or more sober, I think you have an obligation to look out for others. This includes stepping in and stopping a conquest if you see it starting up and one or both of the participants is clearly really intoxicated.
But a lot of drinking and flirting takes place much more privately; and a lot of people can't really accurately judge the level of someone else's intoxication unless they're slurring their words, and weaving when they walk. AND a lot of people don't show their drunkenness that obviously.
Speaking as someone who loves her glass of wine or cocktails, and wouldn't want to give them up and who knows how Prohibition turned out, I still think we all drink far too much. And nothing good ever comes from it.
My answer to the headline question: You can't.
If your friend comes to you asking for support getting the friend group to shun this man, that would be one thing. If she hasn't, as much as you want to see him punished, you run the risk of re-traumatizing her even with good intentions. So follow her lead, ignore the guy at parties/attend less parties if needed. Don't try to drag other people into this without her explicit consent. Sexual assault victims are often not believed and defending yourself is freakin' exhausting. Your friend may not be up to it.
As a lifelong non-drinker, I'm thankful that I just don't like it when people have been drinking, so that the chance I've ever been without someone blackout drunk is virtually nil. I suppose my mother might have been in that state on some of the occasions when she hit one of her children and denied doing so the next day.
I'll agree with Ms Cute - everyone should drink less, and cutting had its utility. This feels rather like Vanity Fair, although we do get an example in Miss Austen of Mr Darcy's cutting Mr Wickham - for excellent reason.
I do think that letting Friend take the lead (and change that lead at will) is advice LW needed to hear, but saying anything more would be going out of my depth.
In my own experience of being black out drunk (something that I did more than once in my younger years) and also in my experience of hanging out with a friend who used to drink until she was blacked out pretty regularly and I was often the one to need to get her home, I've found that we did not do anything too far from our typical behavior- just judgement is off and inhibitions are gone. What I mean is, black out drunk, I might come on strongly to the hot guy that I'd only flirt with if I were sober, but I would not come on to a female buddy or my brothers or suddenly become interested in children etc. Again just my experience- perhaps some people behave very much outside the norm when they are drunk so I'm not saying this to negate other's experiences, just to add my voice to the ones saying that you sometimes cannot tell how intoxicated a person is. When I've been black out drunk, even people who knew me well would not be able to tell that I was anything more than loosely uninhibited, more boisterous than usual, etc.
Regarding the switching around of blackout, passed out- I think it's a good idea to remember that someone who is drinking is still going to get drunker after they quit. I mean, if you take a couple shots with someone in a bar and then walk out together and go to their apartment, by the time they start metabolizing those last couple shots, they might already be in their underpants. Someone who is black out drunk will very likely pass out in an hour - Back in those days, I've initiated sex while drunk, started out very into it, and then found myself starting to get sleepy or going in and out of consciousness in the middle of it. So some of the switching around of the words may not be bad faith arguments, but rather a person who doesn't remember any of it (being active but blacked out when they started) who was snoozing not to long after starting or who might "wake up" from it wondering how they go there.
Alcohol is a tricky thing, and yes, I agree it's a good idea not to get really intoxicated on anything with new people alone, just like it's a good idea not to go somewhere where you'll have to drive or where you'll be in a position to make big decisions, etc.
As for sexual assault- yes it's a good idea to just not fuck someone who's intoxicated unless you are already in a relationship with them. Though as I said it's hard to tell sometimes if your sexual interest has a nice buzz or if they are totally blitzed, especially if you are drinking too.
I'd like to believe there are far more cases in which people are confused about the level of intoxication of their partner than there are people who literally seek out passed out drunks to fuck. The existence and popularity of rape drugs however makes me think that there are unfortunately many of the later as well. And honestly I don't really know a way around this except not to seek new sexual partners in situations in which people are intoxicated. I know that's not really a satisfying answer.
EmmaLiz, I agree. I had a couple of episodes of blackout drinking when younger, and even without drinking to the point of blacking out, drank too much and felt the effects after I had stopped the drinking. Like you, my inhibitions were lowered (apparently once taking off my shirt and dancing topless on a table at a party in college--which all my friends made sure to tell me about over the next several days), but my basic nature or preferences didn't change, nor can I imagine they would (i.e. I wouldn't have sex with a child or an animal; I wouldn't commit arson or steal money out of a cash register).
But I certainly had sex I wouldn't have had if I had been sober, sometimes initiating it.
@43: To clarify: I didn't then and don't now consider those to have been non-consensual sexual experiences, at least on my part. Even if I have no memory of the sex. Even if I had sex under circumstances or with men I would likely not have been interested in while sober. Even if I regretted the sex (which I don't, seeing as how I was unharmed by it).
Okay, I’m willing to admit that I’ve elided the terms “blackout drunk” and “passed out drunk.” Im also willing to admit that I’m not an unbiased commenter, because when I was fourteen and was given hard alcohol for the first time in my life, I passed out fully clothed and woke up naked some time later with some man’s chest in my face unable to breathe or protest what was happening or even identify who was raping me. I’ve also, later on as an adult, had sex while inebriated that I regretted, and I don’t have a hard time distinguishing between those experiences. I know it’s technically possible for a woman to be blacked-out and to seem to be an enthusiastic partner, and it’s technically possible that’s what happened here. But it’s a fuck-ton less likely, statistically speaking, than it is that a man decided to take advantage of a piss-ass drunk woman. And for the ass-hat saying “oh if he’d been drinking then she raped him too,” I’ll accept that argument from a penis-haver if you still hold the same position after you’ve woken up in a pool of vomit with a bleeding asshole.
@45: gueralinda, I'm so sorry to read about your horrific rape. Know that I'm holding you in my heart.
Here's another sex during black out story. I was at a party once, very young this time, and suddenly "woke up" being fucked- missionary so I was probably snoozing- by a guy. It took a moment to understand, I thought people were in the room watching and I was terrified. Then shortly as I became more awake, I started to realize where I was, that it was dark, that me and whoever this guy was, that we were alone. The voices I was hearing were outside the room- the party still going on. Oh yes, I'm at a party, OK where? who? Still a little panicked I remember thinking to myself about a guy in my friend group at that time who I liked a bit and thought was hot but I'd not pursued anything with him (for a lot of reasons that are irrelevant) and I remember thinking to myself, laying there waking up, I really hope it's that guy. Not because I wanted to have sex with him (I didn't) but because it would make sense and not be scary. But I couldn't see/think straight so I just laid there a bit longer.
Now I have no idea from the guy's point of view how long this confusion and my sleepiness lasted. I think about it a bit now because I'd assume any halfway decent lover would start to notice when their partner was literally sleeping and/or non responsive, regardless of how the encounter started. But we were barely adults and likely he was intoxicated too, anyway somehow I did realize it was that guy, felt some relief, and it either ended or I fell back to sleep- I can't recall now.
OK so a few hours later, I woke up for real, guy was snoring next to me, (it was that guy btw) there was still some music/voices in the party in the main room. I got dressed and went back in there to my friends. Eventually went home. Next day, I met the guy (at that time we were sort of a cliche on campus so we'd meet most mornings) and he was all openly affectionate, apparently he's my boyfriend now- that's how it worked in those days. I asked if he used a condom, he said of course, surprised I didn't remember, so I pretended the whole thing was fun. I asked a mutual friend about it, apparently we'd been dancing together, then went to the balcony to make out, then naturally progressed to the bedroom- seemed normal enough to all present as there'd been some chemistry leading up to that as I said.
Now here's the part that is funny in retrospect but so awkward at the time and includes something I think about a lot. Because he was a nice guy and a friend and we were all in a group, I continued to be this guy's girlfriend which I really didn't want to be and had sex with him a couple more times (sober) just because I couldn't really think of much a way around it without being rude. Holidays were coming up and I knew that he'd go away and then I could do a natural break then and that just seemed easier to me than being all "I have no idea how I ended up in bed with you but I'm not actually interested" which I do think says a lot about socialization of women - even though this guy was kind hearted and not pushy. He just seemed so... happy. And also a lot about our cultural awkwardness around honest conversations about sex.
The other thing is, when we had sex the second time, we were back at his flat, sober, and he suggested we fuck out on the balcony. Now there's no way I'd want to fuck out on the balcony- it was cold, people could see, that just seemed nuts, why even suggest such a thing? I laughed but he meant it seriously, apparently it was my idea and the first time we'd had sex, during my black out, when we were making out on the balcony, I kept trying to get him to fuck me there. I laughed about it and said I was just drunk but I know it was true because he told me that I told him about a scene in a novel that was important to me at that time in which one of the main characters had in fact brought a girl to a party and fucked her on the balcony. OK so I had to sit with that for a second- not only was I an active enough partner that I was initiating sex, but also I was coherent enough to ramble about the books I was reading. And I remember none of this. Many years later, with my sexuality and alcoholism both more mature, I also find that I have a minor exhibitionist kink so who knows...
Again, none of this to take away from either the LW's friend's situation nor any other person's experience- absolutely there are predators and opportunistic assholes and absolutely people should be more conscientious of their lovers' responses/conditions, individual experiences will vary. But alcohol is a social lubricant, so it's everywhere, and people are frequently indulging when they meet/flirt/hookup- and it's a really fucking tricky thing. I'd say honestly we should prepare better ahead of time (regarding what we want, how we plan to travel about, how much money we are going to spend) and generally just stay away from new sexual encounters when more than a couple drinks is involved.
Gueralinda, crossposted, I'm likewise sorry about that horrific experience. You were also a child, drunk or enthusiastic or not (and you weren't) that's just predatory horror, I'm so sorry.
You've hit the nail on the head I think with knowing the difference- yes that's the case. Again why the LW should follow his friend's lead. SHE is the one with the info, she's the one most likely to know what's happened to her.
Given LW's attitude towards Chuck, it does sound likely that the friend is describing something more deliberate and sinister.
How's this for advice (which I don't think anyone has given yet)- should the LW ask his friend to clarify what she means or how she feels?
I just don't know if that's the right action either. She may not want to go on about it or feel the need to explain herself. She might just want support from her friend, regardless.
Which again brings us back to Dan's advice- best to just let her guide and let her label her own experience.
Also like I said before, the existence and popularity of rape drugs indicates that in fact there are loads of predators who not only seek out these opportunities, but also deliberately create them, as baffling and horrifying as that is, and yes statistically it's not uncommon.
@22 I comprehended what you wrote; my reponse was hyperbole due to /your/ assumption that their mutual friends know Chuck is a rapist.
While I'm always aware that, particularly between couples, these letters are one-sided, I don't like to play hypothetical games with facts that the LW presents. Given the situation as described, I think it's reasonable to assume that the mutual friends don't know. My opinion still stands that you are passing judgement on people for their response to an incident of which they are likely totally ignorant.
Emmaliz and NoCute - thank you for your kind comments. That event was some thirty-five years ago, and it also was (unfortunately) not my only experience of rape. Alas, I had a shitty-as-fuck adolescence, which is irrelevant except that it afforded me at least a dozen sexual experiences that serve to illustrate the various gradations of grey between “totally consensual” and “criminal.” I really do understand, deeply and in my soul, that any given sexual experience can be extremely ambiguous, and even that a single event can have both positive and negative aspects. I would like to suggest that we can hold space both for that ambiguity as regards subjective experience AND for the relative certainty of legal definitions. In other words - a sexual
experience that meets the legal definition of rape and ought to be prosecuted as such might have a different or ambiguous meaning for the victim. Especially and
emphatically so if we are talking about child victims
of incest. I wish I could speak to the experience of men who believe they are having a consensual sexual encounter when they are not - as some commenters have postulated. I don’t know, or pretend to know, if the man (men?) who raped me while I was unconscious thought they were having a consensual encounter. It’s hard for me to imagine they did, but I must admit the possibility. What I don’t know and can’t imagine is, if they did, what should be their punishment? On the one hand, I was indisputably harmed in a lasting way. On the other hand, if they believed they were acting in accordance with my wishes, should they be punished for that, even if I were harmed and they ought reasonably to have known I would be harmed? Those are complicated philosophical questions that go beyond definitions of rape. Legally?? I was raped. What should happen next? I dunno.
@4 its likely the "not strictly consensual " thing comes down to the fact that sexual assault survivors have the tendency to minimize and blame ourselves. Even the strongest woman can fall into that thought process for 2 reasons; 1: girls are raised to be accommodating and to believe that they are somehow responsible for the behavior of boys and men, and 2: even though things are a little better now we've all had a lifetime of watching the way survivors are treated by police, the court system and even their communities. We've all been conditioned to expect to be blamed if we come forward and that's not going to go away with a year or 2 of women OCCASIONALLY avoiding the shitty end of the stick in these situations. We minimize to protect ourselves from the consequences of calling it what it is and doing something about it.
@gueralinda, I really appreciate the nuance and complexity you bring to the discussion of what constitutes rape and what to do about it. All too often, that's lacking, and I suspect it's because the whole topic is uncomfortable for many people, particularly the less obvious, clear-cut, purely evil rapes and rapists. Because having an honest, really disturbing conversation about the way sex is experienced by far too many people (as acts of betrayal, coercion, violence, etc.) forces people to confront their own behaviors both recently and in the distant past. Many of us wouldn't like the conclusions we'd reach about ourselves and our complicity in rape or our use of the word to cover our guilt and shame and regret. It's so much easier to tell ourselves that "no always means no, so this is rape," or "if she didn't want to have sex, why'd she sit on my bed and eat pizza?" No one wants to think of him/herself as a bad person.
In a culture that is still profoundly slut-shaming towards women with obvious sexual appetites and agency, it is far too tempting to cast regretted sex that was alcohol-fueled as rape, because women can't afford to live with the ambiguous position of being a sexual woman who just didn't really want to have had /that/ sex, and to be classified and vilified as a slut. Think about it: we live in a culture that says it's preferable to be a rape victim than a woman who has indiscriminate sex.
Here's what makes me sad: I am a middle-aged woman with two daughters. Each of us has been sexually assaulted in 4 different ways, and not once was alcohol involved. But only one of the assaults was seen even at the time, unambiguously as rape.
I was raped twice. The first time I was 18. The rapist was a friend of mine, a guy I had regarded as a sort of "big brother." Ironically, he walked me to my car for safety's sake, then got in, and raped me. I struggled and protested, but there came a point when I realized he wasn't going to honor my demands that he stop, and my only choices were to try to gouge his eyes out as I'd been told to do in my P.E. class on sexual assault, or lie still and wait for it to be over, hopefully, quickly.
I couldn't bring myself to treat a friend as a rapist (even though that's what he was), and I think part of me hoped until it was too late that he wouldn't really do that to me, a friend, when I so clearly didn't want him to. Afterwards, he blamed his behavior on my not having been wearing a bra, and so at 18, having never heard of date or acquaintance rape, I also blamed myself. Of course, I deserved to be raped; I wasn't wearing a bra. Naturally, I didn't report it to the police; shame kept me from telling our mutual friends. In fact, I saw him at various social events for the next 2 years or so, until the friend group naturally dissolved. That was almost 40 years ago. He's tried to befriend me on Facebook, and I have ignored the request, but it makes me wonder how he would characterize that incident. I'm fairly sure he'd say that we had sex, by which he'd mean we had consensual sex. Because he was raised in a culture that tells boys that if you hear, "no," you keep trying. So the fact that ultimately, he was able to stick his dick in me and thrust a couple of seconds before coming is proof to him that my initial protestations were just game-playing, something I thought I "had" to do so he'd "respect" me, or some such bullshit, 1980-style. Because he certainly wouldn't think of himself as a rapist. And there were no weapons; I was in no danger. He is a good citizen. He pays his taxes, is a good dad, loves his mother. How could you suggest that he's a rapist?
The second time I was raped I was 21. I had gone to a bar (but only had one drink, so alcohol doesn't factor in), and picked up a guy, a stranger who was traveling for business and staying at a nearby hotel. I came back to his hotel and we had consensual sex. Shortly afterwards, he announced his intention of having anal sex. I told him I didn't want to do that, and his response was to tell me that he didn't "give a shit" what I wanted; he intended to have anal sex, and he was going to. Then he slapped me hard, yanked me by my hair, flipped me over, and brutally, with no preparation and no lube, just shoved himself into my anus. The word "hurt" doesn't begin to cover it. After he finished, he rolled over and went to sleep. I quietly gathered my clothes, put on the bare minimum I felt like I could be seen in, should a cop pull me over (it was the middle of the night, somewhere around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. on a weeknight), and crept out, terrified that he'd wake up and beat me to a pulp. I don't know that he would have, but I had no reason to expect anything decent from him. Naturally, I didn't report it. I had gone willingly to a stranger's hotel room to have sex; under those circumstances, could anything that happened in that hotel room be considered rape? I knew no lawyer, judge, or jury would think so. I just tried to tend to myself. It was 20 years before I could consider having anal sex.
My younger daughter was sexually assaulted repeatedly from ages 6-11 (which I found out about when she was 17 and told me), by a girl the same age (when I heard this, I immediately suspected the girl of having been assaulted herself) who threatened her with the promise that she (my child) would have no friends if she told anyone. It broke my heart when I found out. All the years of playdates and sleepovers I'd obliviously agreed to or hosted. I told her that if she'd ever even breathed a word of any of it to me I would at the very least made sure she was never alone with that child again. But she had believed that her social life would be over if she told me, so she'd kept quiet for YEARS. And that poor girl--the one who victimized my daughter, who must have been a victim herself, who was probably only doing what she knew to do because someone had done it to her.
And then my older daughter was the victim of a classic violent rape when she was 16. A man broke into our house in the early morning hours as we slept and violently raped and strangled her. Hers is the only rape that was reported. Luckily for my poor, traumatized child, she was believed: she fit the very narrow profile of a true victim: young, innocent, virtuous, virginal (and let's not forget, white), and with parents who have good educations, living in a "nice" neighborhood, so a "good family". She had been sleeping in her own bed in her family home when she was attacked and in fact, hadn't been out the night before, and the attacker was violent and unknown to her.
But it fucking burns me up that the only way a woman doesn't encounter harassment if she reports a sexual assault, is if she meets the rigorous criteria that my older daughter established. That's wrong. Most rapes aren't that straightforward, that cut-and-dried. Neither our laws, nor our vocabulary, nor our values, nor our frame of references allows for more subtlety than that, and thus excludes the vast majority of victims.
EmmaLiz says it (finally) @48: LW could ask their friend what kind of response they want and if there's anything they could do that would help, ranging from listening sympathetically to getting Chuck shunned without revealing her identity. If she feels that he's a potential danger to others and would not feel comfortable seeing him socially, I don't see what's so hard about "I'm not at liberty to share the details but I have it from a reliable source that Chuck is a consent violator and he's not welcome at any event I'm hosting and you may want to consider the same." One of the problems with abusive people is the lack of social repercussions because people don't want to act as judge and jury based on hearsay, even though social shunning is not a legal proceeding and due process does not apply (FTR, the same is true of impeachment, Moscow Mitch).
I shared my story of assault in a public forum here for the first and probably the last time. If these comments are to be believed, it did not happen (or was “BS”) and does not matter, or I just don’t. In any case, lesson learned.
I just know that we should #believewomen, even when the tell us something that doesn't fit our narrative. Our narratives are based on our own personal experience usually combined with what we've personally gleaned from social media and the like and a whole host of other things, but they are never to be the gold standard for everyone. If she doesn't go as far as to say "rape", believe her. If one day she changes her mind about the situation after maybe having more life experience and comes to realize she was actually raped, believe her. If she NEVER comes to that conclusion, believe her. I've seen a lot of comments on here that basically come down to not believing the woman in question - or at the very least questioning her level of understanding of what happened, because it doesn't fit the narrative of the person commenting. Yes, there are statistics. Yes, there is our own personal experiences in the matter. No, they don't matter to her personal story. BELIEVE HER. That's the best thing the LW can do and act accordingly.
Dan! "Not strictly consensual" is the words a rape victim uses when they blame themself, for instance if they were passed out drunk and therefore, as society would have it, responsible for putting themself in that situation. "Not strictly consensual" is the words the victim uses when they don't want to make a big deal of it, when they don't want the can of worms reopened. Anything that is "not strictly consensual" IS rape, Dan, didn't you teach us that? This woman was blackout drunk. She needs people like AC to take her side, not people like you to apologise for people like Chuck. (Whom you really missed a beat by not nicknaming "Brett" or "Brock.") It's clear that for AC, the rape was the icing on a cake of shit that is Chuck, and it's a bit shocking that you're advising him to just suck it up and hang out with this douchecanoe. Did you write this to prove to Dadddy and Sporty that you DON'T hate straight guys on principle? You picked the wrong straight guy's side to take.
Roger @11, yes, that's a good point. When one is "blackout drunk" one can even initiate sexual encounters. It should be the recipient of the initiation to recognise that the person is too drunk to know what they are doing and say no, but not everyone is that ethical, particularly if they too have been drinking. Friend seems to be partly blaming herself, but perhaps that is not inaccurate. I disagree with L Hand @14 that AC should press for details. Friend probably (a) doesn't remember much and (b) doesn't want to relive what she does remember. (I'll note that the letter doesn't state which of the two was blackout drunk.)
It is still entirely within AC's rights to decide that this episode fits with his previous impression of Chuck as a dirtbag and avoid him. In which case the options become, keep doing what he's been doing (it's correct not to tell others Chuck is a rapist), or attend the events and blank Chuck, which is what I do with a couple of people I've fallen out with over the years. One argument in favour of continuing to attend the events is that AC can keep an eye out for any women who've had too much to drink and might end up alone with Chuck, and put them into a taxi home instead.
NoCute @20, agree with your bottom line. If you get so drunk that you have sex (or do anything else) you don't even remember, this should be a wake-up call. This goes for AC's friend (who is still not at fault if she was indeed raped while drunk), this goes for Dadddy's girlfriend (sorry, Dadddy -- bring this chick to AA), and this went for me. If AC does want to support this friend, if she was the person who was blacked out, he could help her in any efforts she's making to quit or reduce her drinking. If she is not making any efforts, he could watch her closely to see whether she gets herself into dangerous situations while she's drinking. And the first time he needs to save her from herself or anyone else, he should give her a tough love talk about her drinking problem.
Sending hugs to those who have painful memories that are being triggered by this column. There are far too many of us.
Especially those of us who have MULTIPLE stories to tell. Yeesh. Can't believe alcohol is legal while weed isn't, as I have never heard any story of someone who got too stoned and had sex they had no intention and have no memory of having.
@45guerlinda I am the supposed ass-hat. In any event, just to clarify what I said - if the ONLY (ONLY, ONLY) reason the friend of the LW considers the sex to have been "not strictly consensual" was her state of a drunkenness AND he was in a similar state of drunknness, why are we calling him a rapist and not her?
I am so, so sorry for everyone who has been raped and has been telling their stories here. And I understand that affects your own view of this story and similar stories in particular. And @BiDanFan, I will agree that the friend's use of the "not strictly consensual" terminology likely means there is more to this story than they were both drunk.
Having said that, can someone explain to me why. if two people have sex and neither remembers anything about it other than they were drunk and sex happened, you have any real justification for calling him a rapist (or even describing it as "not strictly consensual").
By turning what is MUTUALLY the fault of both parties into the male's fault simply because he has a penis does a disservice to actual rape and rape and victims (not to mention the damage it could do to a totally innocent person accused of rape).
Skipped over a lot of comments because HOLY SHIT RAINDROP @31! Consent to one sexual activity is not consent to all sexual activities. You are absolutely 100% able to set limits during sex and if someone crosses them they don't get to argue about it. If a woman agreed to give you a blowjob then halfway through shoved a 12 inch dildo up your ass would that be ok because sex had already been initiated?
L Hand @61, as you say, unfortunately we don't have enough information to know what actually happened. Is she describing the sex as "not strictly consensual" because she was too drunk to consent (which is true), because she has no memory of consenting, or because she does have enough memory to know that what happened was that she said a "soft no" that was not heeded, as Ankyl describes @30? Is she being evasive because she blames herself, because she thinks she may be blamed, or because she actually is to blame? Or just because it's really fucking hard to talk about this kind of thing when it's happened to you and you feel violated and disgusted? Unfortunately the only way to find out would be to press the victim for details, which is invasive and rude, so it's not an option. For me, a key factor is that this story chimes with AC's overall impression of the guy. How many times does a victim come forward and people say "no way, he'd never do that, he's a nice guy?" But AC is saying, yes he probably would do that, he's an asshole. So in the absence of unknowable facts I think AC is correct to follow his instincts about this guy.
@63BiDanFan Reasonable and logical opinion as always. Dan's was similarly reasonable. I just needed to be clear, because as you saw, multiple people were misconstruing what I said and what I meant (hopefully not intentionally).
I get it- I do. I am a penis haver and I've never been raped. I'd like to think I've never slept with someone who afterward thought I raped her or that our sex wasn't "strictly consensual." I HAVE been drunk and gone home with (or taken home) drunk women who I had never previously met and had sex. I will say these all involved at least leaving from a bar or party and going somewhere else with this person.
By the way, I guess I could revise the never been raped. There was one time where me and someone else started an MFM (all of us at least tipsy if not drunk) situation and shortly after I decided I wasn't into it and went into a separate bedroom, closed the door and fell asleep. I woke up to my getting a blow job from this woman which turned into sex. I say I wasn't raped because I don't feel like I was raped, I didn't regret it, and I continued on to full-on sex after the entirely non-consensual BJ.
So, for the record, it is not only women who have these kinds of stories.
a) after all these years, there is NO excuse for not knowing the difference between 'passing out' and blacking out.
b) for decades, blackouts were considered a defining symptom of advanced alcoholism. most people cannot reach a blood alcohol level high enough for a blackout without vomiting or losing consciousness.
c) the addition of date rape drugs into the situation has made 'b)' much less certain.
d) the original letter isn't clear as to which party, if not both, was actually blacked out during the incident.
Chuck maybe a stone rapist, in which case he may have many more victims than the letter writer knows about. OR, the incident could have been a typical 'drunken hookup' with horrible doubts lingering afterwards.
In any case, Stranger's readership as a whole seems unwilling to recognize that alcohol is a Major League Drug and a real hazard.
Manscape instead of mansplainting. Paintball Political Joust, ironic patriarchy bullshit obsolete in design. Own your disdain and stoping placing the blame on another
second hand nonsense used fuel for this fodder, slandering someones honor.
Respect yourself by addressing YOUR unspoken drama because at the end of tbe day youre missappropriation of your "friends" crisis and use her trauma as your soapbox doesnt make you brad pitt in fight club.
just dignity that is inalienable trust
Fidelitilty cant be controlled or owned
Resolve uspoken issues that need to be address.
Also reallyinteresting forum
L's comments are why I don't like the changing of the meaning of the word rape to include non-penetration. To me that's what the word sexual assault is for. It's also the only term used in law.
L you very possibly did rape someone and I think that's why a lot of guys are so damn hesitant to believe women. You have no idea if you're a rapist or not. Maybe start there.
I've met people who black out on two drinks and no one can tell. I notice in the comments this black out situation is overwhelmingly if not exclusively applied to women. Equally likely is that men black out and rape women. Judgement and inhibition impaired by alcohol, sensory input disregarded, of course they do. The consequences of this action are far more severe than the reverse despite L's insistence. Men are physically larger, stronger, and more violent. They do more harm when out of control. If anyone needs to stop drinking it's not the women.
It is absolutely everyone who blacks out though. Most people don't. Those susceptible aren't safe unless at home, w sober friend to monitor and no car. It's just fundamentally unsafe. Choose a different drug.
@67no Why do you think I "very possibly" raped someone. Because I took home or was taken home drunk by a drunken girl and had sex?
Based upon my description of getting a non-consensual blowjob, was I raped?
Is it possible the "rape" word gets thrown around far too often?
Dang, missed it by one.
Jesus Christ, NoCute, thanks and I'm sorry also to hear all that horror- it's a double trauma as a mother.
Poly in my experience that is true of adults, but unfortunately in our culture, it's fairly common for young people (teenagers, early 20s) to binge drink. Also we don't know for sure about this letter, but it sounds like this happened when the people were young. It's pretty common for young people to have multiple experiences of getting too intoxicated when they were young and then learning to handle their alcohol as they got older. This is also a contributing factor why campus rape etc is a thing.
Regarding L Hand's statement, if I can clarify how I interpreted the communication on each side (and I'm sorry if I'm putting words in anyone's mouth, tell me I'm wrong if so)- Both a man and a woman could mutually make a decision while they are both in a black out. However, it's also true that it's unfortunately very common for a woman- who is too drunk to consent- to be assaulted by a man who deliberately looks for that opportunity. The reverse also happens- women do take advantage of men while they are too drunk to consent. I think the argument here is about the tendency to make too many excuses for the behavior when alcohol is involved despite the statistical and anecdotal reality that raping someone while they are passed out or too drunk to consent is very common.
However if you are a woman having conversations like this around men, you'd know that there are some ways that some people start to argue for a stance that seems reasonable (for example, look at Daddy's comment) which then escalates pretty quickly into denials of other situations, self-defense of their own questionable actions, over-emphasis on a few yeah-but-look-at-this-counter-example, and general questions like "don't you think we talk about rape too much".
And it gets sort of exhausting so sometimes people respond immediately to any indication that this is the turn a man is going to take the conversation to. It's a trope, and for people for whom the conversation is real and emotional, it's tiresome, you can see it coming.
Like compare your story to NoCute's or Guera's and then tell me that you are honestly trying to have a conversation about this.
BTW when I said look at Daddy's comment, I was saying that it was a reasonable comment that fit into the conversation as was L Hand's first comment about "what if they were both black out drunk". But Daddy's did not escalate into "do we talk about rape too much". You learn to guess when a conversation is going to take that turn.
For example, if a group of people are talking about our experiences with racial/sexual bigotry and someone brings up Yeah But What About Jussie then... I mean there are ways to talk about why something like that happens, but most of the time it's just someone who wants to turn the conversation to how this whole thing is overblown or how they are the real victims. Or same old same old when you are talking about Medicare For All and someone's all They're Eating Rats In Venezuela. Or the sort of person that really just can't stop arguing about how lots of teenagers are mature enough to consent to fucking older men. ETC. You can tell when someone is going down a path like that- the initial responses you got from some women posters here are in response to that, and it's not always easy to pin-point exactly what someone is doing in bad faith, but it's common, exhausting and infuriating to be expected to pretend you are engaging honestly.
There are just certain ways of talking about certain things that indicate that you are dealing with someone with an axe to grind, and L Hand you've checked most of them off that list.
There's a basic issue being exposed here, it's the Roshomon effect. We've heard plenty of stories of women 'waking up' to find someone having sex with them...
Here's my story, which is the closest I've gotten to being the guy on the other end of that encounter:
Took a girl I was newly dating to a bar with friends - we're partying, doing shots, the whole thing. She gets pretty drunk, and has me pinned to the wall of the bar aggressively making out with me; like literally I broke away at one point saying I wanted to actually hang out with friends and she grabbed me and pushed me back against the wall to continue making out. This went on for about 40 minutes. Eventually, it's time to leave, she goes to the bathroom, and predictably passes out, and we have to send in some random girl to drag her out - at this point, she's sloppy drunk, can't talk or walk properly, the whole deal. She tries to call her own cab to go home, but IMO in her state, that's a bad idea, so we cab to my place. I get her some water, we get into bed, I'm planning to go to sleep. At this point, she's coming to a little bit, I can tell her mind has sobered up a bit in terms of what she's trying to say, but her body isn't cooperating, but whatever - I'm going to bed. About as soon as I start to drift off, she's on top of me, making out with me again... which I don't hate. After a few minutes she demands that we fuck (the words, literally - while straddling me as I'm laying in bed were "fuck me now"). I vaguely protest, since, you know, I WOULD like to have sex with her but I was kind of in caretaker/take-it-easy mode with her, but I can tell she's not taking no for answer, just as she has not taken no for an answer all night, so I relent, we have sex for the first time, we finish, go to bed.
I really have no idea if she remembered that at all. She could totally reasonably have a story just like the many we've heard "I came too and he was having sex with me that's obviously rape". Unfortunately, from my perspective, she's the initiator of sex and I have limited ability to prevent her without, you know, punching her in the face, which is not something I want to do to a girlfriend. If this story comes out, I 100% that no one would believe my side of the story and I'd definitely be going to jail.
Of course, that's not the only time a drunk woman has been sexually aggressive with me. I remember a particular NYE with a then-girlfriend who was crunked out of her mind and would not take no for an answer to sex. There was the fuck-buddy who, while drunk at the bar, threw a drink on my face when I told her I wasn't going to go home with her that night. There was the straight girl at the queer dance party who was so worried about being hit on by a woman that she demanded I "pretend to be her boyfriend" (I had only met her hours previously, friend-of-friends) although, as she had more drinks, wouldn't stop putting her hands in my pants. I did eventually have to physically push her away, at which point she starts crying and flees. I didn't feel bad about that, but I'm sure 100% of the people there assumed I was the asshole there.
I personally don't feel responsible for any of those scenarios - not morally at least. I assume if it ever came to public opinion or legal consequences, I'd be 100% responsible however. Shrug I guess?
@34 Sportlandia: Reducing alcohol consumption can absolutely reduce rape. Most people are less likely to rape when they're sober.
If I hadn't been drinking, I wouldn't have maybe sexually assaulted someone. At the time, I thought we were doing some light Dom/sub play that we were both into, tucked away in a public hotel lobby. In retrospect years later, I am not certain. Maybe she remembers it fondly. Maybe I'm the perpetrator in a #MeToo incident. I don't know. If I had reduced my alcohol consumption, I wouldn't have done it.
If I hadn't been drinking, I wouldn't have considered raping someone. At the time, her fiance and I didn't frame it as "raping" her, it was "we're going to do the sex we've been dancing around all night". I was traveling in a new city and she approached me at the bar; the three of us ended up bar hopping together and setting the stage for a threesome as the night went on. Luckily, as we were leaving to return to their place, she threw up in the parking lot. "Holy shit I didn't realize how drunk she is. She was into it earlier, maybe she still is... Oh my god no, I absolutely can't do this now, thank god I learned about consent and intoxication." If I had reduced my alcohol consumpion, I would have realized sooner how drunk she was and wouldn't have even considered it.
L Hand@69~ The Rules Committee generally frowns upon posting a throwaway line just to score a lucky number, and only awards half-points for such subterfuge (not that I haven't done it myself).
@68 L. Yes, I do think it's very possible you raped someone, as you said "you think" you didn't, which implies you agree with that.
And yes, you were sexually assaulted. I do not think I was unclear.
As far as the term rape and your usage of it, which I admit is the vernacular but not legal use of the term, I agree with the sentiment of guerlinda in comment 45 above. Obviously we differ on that.
I'd just like to say I appreciate everyone's stories here. Especially Sportlandia's @72 and Ankyl @73, since I rarely get a chance to hear men speak about this.
Emmaliz, one does wonder how often they argue with men who have been raped by men about what the definition of rape is.
Ankly, thank you. I think that's the thinking a lot of people, especially men, are afraid to do.
L - the word rape is vastly underused. It's happened or almost happened (they fought their way out, someone else got them to safety, sometimes too late) to 100% of the women I know, including grandmas, and most of the teen girls. And has to 100% of the women you know. If they're not telling you, it's obvious why.
I think your time would be better spent talking to male victims of men. Your rapport and subsequent understanding would be better. Then you wouldn't have to live in this state of perpetual confusion. You really need to hear these stories in person from people who trust you. Then you can tell them yours. It's important.
My serious advice is the part of Dan's answer relating to following his friend's lead. I'm pretty uncomfortable with him rounding "not strictly consensual" up to rape. If she thought it was rape or was willing to discuss it in those terms, she probably would have said so. The are a lot of shitty things a person can do to pressure an unenthused person into having sex. Some of those things are not rape, but the consent given is only to avoud a fight, because it's easier than fending the guy off for four hours, because of a fear of adverse consequences with mutual friends, or something like that. Take her at her word.
Less seriously, if the LW is bigger than the not-strictly-consensual sex-haver, another idea comes to mind, but kicking the guy's ass at parties might be more likely to result in the LW getting uninvited, not the other guy. Might be fun though.
Returning to being serious this LW has "white knight" and "nice guy" written all over him. This letter reeks of unrequited desire and an intent to defend this woman's honor, whether she likes it or not, so vigorously that he will totally prove what a nice guy who deserves sex he is. Then, when she still doesn't want to fuck him, he'll decide that she's a huge bitch who only likes bad boys, complains when they mistreat her, and refuses to fuck nice guys like him.
I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I am.
@21, I can only speak to the law in California, but the bar you have to clear to be too intoxicated to consent is extremely high. I'm too lazy to look it up, but the phrasing is something like that the person must be so indicated as to be unable to appreciate the sexual nature of the act. That's essentially catatonic, eyes open, but unable to perceive that a dick being shoved in you is a sexual act. I suspect the law in almost all other states limits this variety of tape at least as strictly.
Sportlandia @72 "Eventually, it's time to leave, she goes to the bathroom, and predictably passes out, and we have to send in some random girl to drag her out - at this point, she's sloppy drunk, can't talk or walk properly, the whole deal. She tries to call her own cab to go home, but IMO in her state, that's a bad idea, so we cab to my place. I get her some water, we get into bed, I'm planning to go to sleep."
Why in the world would you "cab to your place" instead of cabbing to her place and making sure that she got safely inside? More puzzling, why would you "get into bed" with her? Did you not have a couch, or floors?
You weren't "kind of in caretaker/take-it-easy mode with her". You wanted to fuck her "since, you know, I WOULD like to have sex with her" and you took advantage of her and the situation.
"I (knew) 100% that no one would believe my side of the story and I'd definitely be going to jail." That's baloney. According to the Wikipedia entry regarding Rape in the U.S. "Based on Department of Justice and FBI data from 2010-2014, RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) calculates that for every 1,000 rapes, 384 are reported to police, 57 result in an arrest, 11 are referred for prosecution, 7 result in a felony conviction, and 6 result in incarceration."
You had witnesses at the bar that saw her all over you. She went to your home and got into your bed. There is ZERO chance you would have "gone to jail". FFS.
BeeDeeTee I'm sorry you aren't being heard, and I'm sorry for what happened to you. People like L like arguing with people (I'm being generous here, it's probably just women) who have experienced severe trauma by trying to minimize or deny their experiences. I'm not sure why they do it, but please don't take it personally. They enjoy inflicting pain and will do it to anyone (again, probably just women). Unfortunately not rare.
This is a letter I can identify with, because of late I have been told a similar thing about a man I know. And I have no idea how to let him know I know, when I see him, without it causing more pain for the woman concerned. Give him the evil eye is my best bet. Maybe that’s what you can do too, LW. Go to the parties, and when you catch his eye let him know you know that he’s a rapist.
It is not your story to tell, that’s true LW. Can you talk to the woman and ask her to warn the other women? If he’s done it once with a drunk girl..
gueralinda@50; thank you for sharing. Hugs to you. What do you want to do now, to help you heal... I landed on your comment first, so thank you in advance to all who shared their pain around rape and being raped. Group hug.
@83 she lived in astoria and i lived in brooklyn. any other stupid questions?
@72, Sportlandia: she wasn't taking no for an answer?? When she was, by your own admission, "sloppy drunk" and could hardly "walk or talk"? You were incapable of pushing her back, or brushing her off?? BULLSHIT!!
AND AS FAR AS "RAPE" not counting as RAPE, because you agreed to something--fuck you, and how dare you? I gave someone I thought I loved and who loved me EVERYTHING under the sun but PIV, and not only did this man who taught me self defense, who taught me pressure points and to defend myself against everything BUT RAPE, take the one thing from me I told him he couldn't have, because I was afraid of getting pregnant, but he ALSO got me pregnant.
And even though he got off of me a few minutes later, and realized it was a mistake, I STILL had to go through a pregnancy and miscarriage I shouldn't have had to go through and him blaming me and then thanking me by the end of it and shaming him for blurting out that he raped me, because "there are real victims out there". So what was my pregnancy if not a rape? An "oopsie"??
I think you need to SERIOUSLY reevaluate what rape is and isn't, and maybe consider getting the sloppy drunk girl a ride home with someone who isn't you next time.
@86, LavaGirl, apparently my ex had raped another girl before we started dating and the charges were dismissed because she MAYBE called rape on him simply because he used her for sex, but knowing what I know now, and learned later, idk. I never met or heard of this girl, so I only had his version of events. He told me this heartbreaking story of this unfounded accusation that almost sent him to jail while I was just his stupid ass girlfriend and so confident in the word of this guy I'd known and loved for years, so. Idk. Explaining how it caused his mental breakdown and how he ended up briefly hospitalized as a result. Maybe there IS a responsibility to somehow warn women in attendance...they might not believe it, but at least the LW did what he could to put them on their guard.
Maybe you’re right pollyc, if the woman doesn’t. He’d need to tell her that he was going to tell the women in the group of friends.
One hopes she’d do it herself as other women need to be on guard.
I’m sorry you got caught with a lying rapist.
Why do you bother coming back on here, Mr D, and now one of your sidekicks, L Hand.. where’d you dig him up? Every time you comment you show your hatred and disrespect for women.
And somebody always calls you out.
I’m not sure why people are doubting this woman’s words. Not strictly consensual, is what she said.
Then she confronted the man afterwards, that’s how sure she was she’d been raped. I take her word for it.
Just outed your self as an opportunist sexual assaulter Sportlandia, if not a full on rapist. Doesn’t sound like you were so drunk. You knew what state she was in.
You lot been sent here from the boys who hate women movement, the insect crowd. Trying to infiltrate?
You’ve got real issues Sportlandia. Calling people bitches and talking of guns. You need to get a grip on yourself. Such abusive and threatening responses to someone outlining a different perspective, one which pointed out how you failed this woman and indulged yourself, show further what an underdeveloped man you are.
@94, if I had known about it beforehand, I never would have dated him. But it came out after we were already together, and he was the man who wanted to "save" me from my past, to "rescue" me from a life of sexual assault (LMAO), and we had been through so much together. How could the man who tried to help a sexual assault victim ALSO be a sexual assaulter? Too bad I didn't know anything about Ted Bundy back then. Now I just wonder how common that is.
Sportlandia, your responses are definitely shady and the explosive and violent anger at being challenged by or about women (and ALL your angry comments seem to revolve around women, I've noticed), are in no way helping your case.
Dude. Seek help.
I'm lucky compared to most straight women. The only "consent issue" sexual activity I've experienced is when a guy in college didn't stop fondling and taking off clothes until I said "no" several times and shoved him (I'm 5' 7", so it was a firm shove). He actually ejaculated on my shorts as I shoved him. We had both had a few drinks, but were not drunk.
What that sexual assault? Of course. Did I report it? No, I didn't (most of my friends didn't report much worse things). I doubt the police would have done much in the 1990s, or sadly probably now. Since I went to a large state school, I never saw him again. But if he was hanging around, I would have appreciated LW asking me how I wanted to handle it.
Yes, NorthernVirginiaEllen, an acknowledgement that he violated you and an apology.
They must bury these behaviours deep, some of these men.
Wow. Um, OK, Sportlandia is a shitty person, but when he says he was raped I believe him and don't blame him. For once his outbursts are justified.
BiDanFan @102 Are you saying that the woman who passed out in the bathroom of a bar and was too drunk to even catch a cab home by herself raped Sporty?
Look Sporty, I don't know if this is the same story you've told before- you have told before about being sexually assaulted by a woman and I believe you too and we'd talked about it before.
But the story you are telling now- if this is the same one- you've added new details that are very... disturbing. Like first off there were other friends there, and the woman wanted to take a cab to her place. YOU decided to put her in a cab with you and take her home- she was so drunk she was passing out and you were sober enough to feel that you needed to intervene as a guardian. Then YOU again decided to put her into your bed and get into your bed with her. That's three choices in which you as the more sober person took a woman who was so drunk that she was passing out to your apartment, in your bed, then got in bed with her.
Now you are correct that all these drunk women behaved badly both in their sexual aggressiveness and in their responses when you rejected them.
But this particular situation, you were not being a caregiver. You literally took a passing out drunk woman who wanted to go to her own place home to yours instead, put her in your bed, got in bed with her, then had sex with her while she was too drunk to consent. You did all that.
And yes, if Astoria was too far for you to take her home, then you put her in a cab and let her go- like she wanted. Is this the most responsible thing to do? No, but cabbies deal with drunken people all the time, and it's more responsible than taking her home to your place when she wanted to go home and then putting her in your bed then getting in bed with her then having sex with her. Other options might've been to see if another friend was around to take her home or to decide not to feel responsible for her or to put her on your couch or for you to sleep on the couch or to put her on the floor with a blanket which is uncomfortable and she'll have to face the consequences of not sleeping well when you get so drunk that other people have to change their routines to take care of you. But instead you put her in your bed then you got in the bed too then you had sex with her even though she could not consent.
I mean, cmon man...
BDF I don't know if you read Sporty's story. I skipped it the first time because I thought it was the one he's told before in which yes I agree he was raped and I believe him too.
But after reading some of the other poster's responses to him, I went back and read it which I suggest you do as well. Sporty was not raped by the passed out friend who wanted to take a cab to her own place but instead he put her in a cab and took her to his place, put her in his bed, climbed in bed with her, then had sex with her when she drunkenly came on to him- so drunk that he could tell what her mind wanted even though she couldn't really coordinate her body.
He's literally describing raping a woman who was sexually aggressive with him earlier in the club, you know before she passed out in the bathroom, had to be fetched out of there, then tried to take a cab home until Sporty intervened. To act as a guardian.
Also I just gotta say the word choice...
"Unfortunately, from my perspective, she's the initiator of sex and I have limited ability to prevent her without, you know, punching her in the face"
To be fair to Sporty, because even he has not normally written such horrible things as describing the rape of someone, he says they were "newly dating" and if they were already in an active sexual relationship then the taking her home with him would not be as weird. I don't know what people mean by "newly dating"- is this your first date? Have you had sex? Has she been to your place before? Etc
And this would certainly change my interpretation and horror and I apologize if that's the case and I read it wrong.
But regardless BDF- this is not a description of Sporty being raped. Period.
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