November 24, 2005

News Flash From the Dark Ages

From BBC News | Wales: Drunk consent rape case scrutiny

A man charged of rape in Swansea has been acquitted, after the judge ruled that (quote) "drunken consent is still consent."

Oh, right, that's why drunken people are allowed to decide for themselves whether or not they can safely drive home— because their judgement is not even in the slightest impaired.

If you think that's bad, listen to the rest of the story...

"The alleged victim told the court that there was "no way" she would have agreed to have sex in a corridor.

But when questioned by the defence, she acknowledged that she could not remember anything and therefore could not definitively say if she consented to sex or not."

Now, I'm sorry, but this is just the most pathetic, appalling pile of putrid crap I have ever heard. I realise that in cases where the victim has only had one or two drinks, there's a little bit of uncertainty over whether or not they can be said to have given informed consent or not— but this poor girl was so catatonically drunk that she can't even remember any sex having happened! I don't think that, in such a state, she would have been capable of making a particular good judgement about anything, and, whether or not she "consented" at the time, the alleged rapist should be sent to jail for being such a self-centred dumb-ass as to have sex with someone who could barely stand up.

But I think the worst part (other than that the woman actually said "I feel like I am to blame") is that not only did the defense make such a disgusting case, not only did the judge buy it, but the prosecution bought it too, and abandoned the case! I mean, what the hell?!?!?! 'Oh, gee, you're right. I hadn't thought of that. Drunken consent is consent. I feel like such a fool.'

*Andrew's head explodes*

*Andrew is late for class*


At 24/11/05 13:18, Anonymous dustin said...

You seriously think that people should be charged with rape because the other person was drunk and can't remember what happened? If the legal system was like that it would be crazy. I've gotten drunk at your house, who's to say how drunk I got. I don't remember anything happening, but maybe it did... Maybe you're guilty... But there's absolutely no evidence of any crime! There's a reason they have that "beyond a reasonable doubt" line in there. It's to prevent innocent people getting convicted wrongly. That's why the judge and prosecution dropped this shit, because to keep it going would be ludicrous in a legal sense.

At 24/11/05 14:24, Blogger Andrew said...

Yes, I do think that people should be charged with rape if the victim was so drunk that he/she cannot remember what happened, and feel, on sober reflection, that they were unfairly violated.

In fact, to continue in such a case would not be legally ludicrous, and the law actually provides that any person under such heavy influence of alcohol or any other substance is not capable of giving informed legal consent. So even if the woman in this case did 'give consent' at the time, in a legal sense this consent is void and irrelevant, and any sexual intercourse must thus be considered, at least potentially, to be rape (it's the same deal with minors: they can 'give consent', but in the eyes of the law that consent it not in any way valid).

If the woman was this wasted and, say, had a shotgun wedding, she'd be able to have it annulled. If she was this wasted and had signed some form of legal contract, that contract could be contested on the grounds that her judgement was impaired. If the woman had been drugged with Rohypnol it would be considered rape, even if the person who had sex with her was not the same person who drugged her, because she would obviously have been incapable of giving consent.

The point is, treating somebody as if they are capable of making good, rational choices, when, in fact, they are clearly not, is both highly irresponsible and, in my opinion, highly immoral. If you are in a position where you're able to have sex with somebody who is obviously completely shit-faced, you have a moral duty (and, I would argue, a legal obligation) as a human being to keep your pants firmly on. If you really want to have sex with that person enough, you can wait until they're composed enough to decide if they want the same thing.

If Mr Dougal (who, as I understand it, had never met this woman before) really felt a connection with her, and wanted to have a physical relationship with her, fine. But he should have had the good sense to put her to bed and come back the next day, when she was capable of making an informed choice. Fucking some girl you've just met in a corridor, when she is so drunk she can't even stand up, is opportunistic abuse, end of story.

At 24/11/05 22:07, Anonymous Ken said...

In Canada there is an express inclusion in the laws surrounding sexual assault that consent given while under the influence is not, in fact, consent. I am surprised Britain would not have something similar.

At 25/11/05 14:45, Blogger Andrew said...

Thanks for the back-up, Mr SACOMSS!

There is a similar law in Britain, that was just passed two or three years ago, which is why it's doubly shocking that the judge could make this kind of decision...

At 25/11/05 17:54, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, [boring, boring legal technicalities].



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