Drinking and Date Rape - Page 2

By Amelia McDonell-Parry 01/11/12

She thought she'd just lost her virginity—until she found out someone had already taken it two nights earlier. Without alcohol, none of it would have happened.

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As I’ve mentioned, one of the things that came up for me was what role my drunkenness played in what happened, in that it inhibited my ability to know exactly what was going on. This was one of a few incidents in my life that have made me realize that I need to be mindful of my limits when drinking. I have been known to exceed those limits. (I once wrote about being so drunk that I fell on a New York City street and could not get back up.) When looking back on that night, both the week after and today, I have wondered, If I hadn’t been drunk that night, would I have been more aware of what was happening? Because if I had been more aware, I would have told him no. Again. This is not at all to say that I blame myself even one iota for what happened. He was told no, explicitly, deliberately, and with further explanation about my virginity. He understood. And yet he chose to have sex with me without getting enthusiastic consent from me. This was especially essential, given my earlier LACK of consent. I cannot emphasize this further. I blame him for what happened, for choosing to believe that my not saying no again was enough to override the very firm no I had issued earlier. But yes, I do wonder if I would have been in a better place to offer that no if I had not been drunk. If I had been aware of and attentive to my limits with alcohol on our date. That I had taken better care of myself. Maybe it still would have happened. I guess I won’t ever know.

I know so many women to whom this has happened. Where sex occurred under the influence of alcohol. Sometimes sex that was simply regrettable—“Ugh, why did I do that?” Sex you wish you hadn’t consented to. And then there are those times when sex that wasn’t explicitly consented to, where the booze haze caused confusion, an inability to speak clearly, or led to memory loss the next day. Sex that leaves you conflicted about what happened and how you feel about it. Sex that was really rape. Can’t we find a way to talk about that—sex and rape that occurs in relation to binge drinking—in a way that does not blame the victim or immediately get labeled as victim-blaming? 

I hope this is a start.

This essay originally ran on The Frisky, where Amelia McDonnell-Parry is the Editor-in-Chief.  When she's not working, she enjoys having long conversations with her dog, complaining about online dating, and eating grilled cheese sandwiches.

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Amelia McDonell-Parry is a writer, reporter and editor with over 16 years of experience in digital, print and broadcast media, andan obsessive interest in subjects like crime and criminal justice reform; pop culture and television; arts,crafts and DIY; intersectional feminism and progressive politics. Find Amelia on Twitter and LinkedIn.