My last post was about the guilty verdict in the Steubenville rape case. I saw a recurring train of thought in the comments sections of many online news sources. This was the alcohol theme. It’s an old and disturbing theme…girl gets drunk, girl goes with boys, certainly it’s the girl’s fault for being drunk in the first place. I have some thoughts…
The defense attorneys in this case used the argument that this girl never explicitly said no. And that this implied consent. Huh?? Yes, the girl was so very intoxicated that she was unable to walk, was unconscious at points in the evening. The trolls online agree that this drunkenness implies consent, even to the point of “asking for it”.
I want to compare this situation to one I was in recently with my ailing father. Dad, as you may remember, was in the hospital for heart surgery all through the Christmas holidays. Hospitals work on the premise of “informed consent”. Dad had to give his explicit consent for any and all procedures and treatments throughout his stay.
At one point, however, his kidneys were failing and dialysis was not working. Toxins were building up in his system and he became incoherent. He was slurring his words and was not making any sense at all. (Does this sound like a person who has been drinking heavily? I think it does!) At that point, the doctors turned to my mother to give consent for his procedures and treatments. He was not considered competent to give consent. Once the dialysis was sorted out and his cognitive functioning went back to normal, he went back to being the consent-giver.
This is normal practice in medical situations. When I had my youngest son, I lost a great deal of blood and passed out (again…sound familiar???) My husband had to give consent for the surgery that saved my life. I could not give it because I was incapacitated.
Somehow, there are actual people…adult people…who don’t get this concept and feel that an unconscious drunken girl can give consent for sex. I’m just appalled. I am SO glad that the court disagreed and did the right thing. I hope society in general will one day come to this same conclusion.