If she's drunk, he's a rapist. How absurd.

If she's blotto, he's a rapist. How absurd

By Mary Wakefield
(Filed: 12/03/2006)

This week, British men will have to suffer perhaps the most aggravating bout of bossing the Government has yet undertaken. It starts on Tuesday with radio ads and posters; by next Sunday, London will be slick with stickers: Men! Be sure you have a woman's consent, or risk being convicted of rape!

It's a serious business, this campaign for consent - costing 500,000 and fuelled by frustration: despite a decade-long attempt to reduce the incidence of rape, to the Government's intense irritation, there are still roughly 12,000 allegations a year and only 1 in 18 men convicted. No progress. Not good enough. More aggressive mollycoddling needed.

So as part of the same campaign, the Home Office also plans to amend the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 so that a drunk girl can't say yes. Though she swoons as she staggers, and begs a man to stay the night, if a woman is utterly pie-eyed, the new law will say her consent to sex means nothing. And if she then takes the man to court, she'll win. The man can swear she wanted him, produce friends to testify to her drunken attempts to unbutton his shirt, but if she claims to have been blotto, he'll be banged up for rape.

It's a surreal scenario, one guaranteed to make men feel bitter and blame New Labour's feminist agenda. But the campaign for consent isn't simply a cruel swipe at men - it's more mysterious than that, and shot through with misogyny too.

There's the suggestion, for instance, that girls are feeble, sexless creatures who'll keep mum unless they're asked. That if he wasn't reminded constantly of his duty by posters in pubs, a chap might undress his date and have his way while she stood, silently, waiting to say "No".

Then there's the implication that women are, by definition, unable to take their drink. According to the amendment to the Sexual Offences Act, a woman can be in her right mind one minute, and out of it the next.

Why this peculiar disparity between how the genders are judged? If a woman, when drunk, isn't responsible for her actions, then why should a man be? If Stella Artois can force a girl to assent to sex against her will, then why can't a man claim it was the Stella that removed his trousers too?

It's not that women aren't often genuine victims, but that the picture of them here is absurd, almost Victorian, and there's something both suspicious and patronising about directing the anti-rape campaign at men. It's as if there's no point warning women to carry alarms or to book taxis home; no reason to print posters encouraging teenage girls to think before they drink, because the puddle-brained little loves won't understand.

Instead, all 500,000 has to be spent on encouraging men to follow a creepy and unnatural code of behaviour. Ask for consent, say the stickers, but how and when? Before dinner or after? If it's obvious she's up for it, won't a question offend?

The world as imagined by the Home Office is a caricature - full of women without responsibility and men without consciences, and with a mystery at its heart. Why, of the 12,000 or so rape allegations made each year, has the Government chosen to focus on the 4,000 that women admit were fuelled by drink? Why, when there are 8,000 more savage sex offenders out there, is it so keen to convict the men most likely to be in court not for knife-point rape, but for a boozy wrangle over semi-consensual sex?

The answer to this, and the reason that the whole curious world view entailed by the consent campaign makes no sense, is that there's a hidden agenda. The point of the project is, of course, not to see fewer women assaulted, but to secure more convictions instead.

Neither the campaign nor the new law, if passed, have a hope of changing male behaviour, but they will make it almost impossible for juries not to convict men who have had sex with drunk girls, and then, for once, the Government can brag that they've sent a few more rapists to jail.

Mary Wakefield is Assistant Editor of The Spectator

Let me tell you about a girl I know,
had a drink about a hour ago.
Sitting in a corner by herself, in a bar in downtown Hell.

She heard a noise and she looked through the door.
And saw a man she'd never seen before.
Light skin, light blue eyes, a double-chin and a plastic smile.
Well, her heart raced as he walked in the door
And took an empty seat next to her at the bar.
"My brand new car is parked right outside. How'd ya like to go for a ride?"
And she said."Wait a minute I have to think."
He said, "That's fine. May I please buy you a drink"
One drink turned into 3 or 4 and they left and got into his car
and they drove away someplace real far.

Now babe the time has come.
How'd ya like to have a little fun?
And she said."If we could only please be on our way, I will not run."

That's when things got out of control.
She didn't want to, he had his way.
She said, "Let's Go"
He said, "No Way!"
Come on babe it's your lucky day.
Shut your mouth, were gonna do it my way.
Come on baby don't be afraid,
if it wasn't for date rape I'd never get laid.

He finished up and he started the car
He turned around and drove back to the bar.
He said."Now baby don't be sad, in my opinion you weren't half-bad."
She picked up a rock.,threw it at the car, hit him in the head, now he's got a big scar.
Come on party people won't you listen to me.
Date Rape Stylee.

The next day she went to her drawer, look up her local attorney at law,
went to the phone and filed the police report and then she took the guy's *** to court.
Well, the day he stood in front of the judge he screamed, "She lies that little ****!"
The judge knew that he was full of **** and he gave him 25 years
And now his heart is filled with cheers.

One night in jail it was getting late.
He was butt-raped by a large inmate, and he screamed.
But the guards paid no attention to his cries.

That's when things got out of control.
The moral of the date rape story, it does not pay to be drunk and horny.
But that's the way it had to be.
They locked him up and threw away the key.
Well, I can't take pity on men of his kind,
even though he now takes it in the behind.

But that's the way it had to be.
They locked him up and threw away the key.
Well, I can't take pity on men of his kind,
even though he now takes it in the behind.

-Sublime, Date Rape

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