No means no. Really? Okay, so what about when she doesn't say no? What about when she doesn't say anything? That's a loophole, right? It's a get out of jail free card, isn't it?
Sadly, it frequently is. Blaming the victim of a crime is ridiculous, but when the victim is unconscious? Yet we see cases where rape of an unconcious girl is downgraded to aggravated assault, and with the Big Red Steubenville rape, in the eyes of the community the boys did no wrong. It was all that drunk girl. It was her own fault. And say it ain't so - but even Joanna Lumley, our beloved AbFab Patsy Stone places the blame squarely on the drunken dame: "I promise you it is better to look after yourself properly, which means behave properly, be polite, be on time, dress properly...don’t be sick in the gutter at midnight in a silly dress with no money to get a taxi home, because somebody will take advantage of you, either they’ll rape you, or they’ll knock you on the head or they’ll rob you."
Okay, no doubt being drunk enough not to know what's going on is stupid. But my stupid does not release you from acting like a decent human being. Even if I'm that girl, it doesn't give you permission to be that guy.
(T)argeting the behavior of victims is not only ineffective, but also contributes to and increases self-blame in survivors. Instead, the SAVE campaigns targets potential offenders - ultimately the ones who hold the power and responsibility to end sexual assault.
Thank goodness for Canada, Oh Canada. A couple of years ago Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton (SAVE) came out with "Just because she's drunk , doesn't mean she want's to f**k". They're back with a new series of posters address the issue of the ability to give consent and ongoing consent - as in I have the right to change my mind.
Edmonton's Don't Be That Guy campaign won't change things, at least not overnight, but with posters in the men's rooms of bars and clubs, maybe it will make someone stop and think. It won't stop the guy who thinks it doesn't matter because she's so drunk she'll never know. But maybe it will reach his buddy and instead of standing by and watching, or walking away, that guy will speak up and say "Hey, no dude. That's not sex, that's rape."
Jodi Sh. Doff is a New York-based writer and photographer. Her work frequently includes autobiographical elements of drug-use, alcoholism, and the strip clubs and nightlife of New York City’s Times Square. As part of the harm-reduction/street-outreach movement, she educated and advocated for active addicts and street prostitutes, while working towards the decriminalization of prostitution. www.onlythejodi.com