Wednesday, March 22, 2006

On Rape

This will be the last post I make on this issue, as I suspect Rich and I have some unconsolable differences he, the most important one being that he regards drunken consent as consent (see his comments).

Still, I will attempt to argue even with this position. I am fairly certain that I would not have sex with any drunken girl who propositioned me (unless perhaps I was dating her at the time, or was rather drunk myself). The important thing here to establish, of course, is intent. The reason I set very clear circumstances is that for something like this to be rape, there has to be knowledge on the part of the guilty party. He/she must KNOW that that the other party is not in adequate control of their facilities, there must be the intent to take advantage of the other person (which is also why a stranger was specified). This is a very specific instance, I admit, and possibly difficult to prove in court, but that is fine: the very fact of this offence being created would, I suspect, affect peoples actions, and possibly even lead to a cultural change. There certainly needs to be a challenge to the laddish idea of "getting someone drunk", an abominable notion.

On responsibility. I misspoke before. Of course one takes responsibility for what one does on a night. One always takes risks, and, to take Rich's simple example, one might well vomit. That doesn't mean that it's right that these things happen to you, and you are perfectly entitled to pursue legal action if someone, for example, cons you out of money while you are drunk. So, if you agree that it is immoral to take advantage of someone who is drunk in a sexual manner, then I think it follows that you are perfectly entitled to take someone to court for it. So Rich, while obviously your argument about the wallet theft is true, if there IS evidence of misdoing, then the judge would pursue it. If, instead, the drunk had given their wallet to someone while drunk, and they now refused to give it back, claiming that the person had given it to them of their own free will, I am fairly sure the judge would order the person in question to return the wallet.

If we agree that it is immoral to have sex wth someone who is too drunk to make an informed decision, then we move on to legality. I admit this is far more difficult, because the burden of evidence is difficult, but I think it is possible to build a case, from witnesses at the scene- again, as I stated, the burden of evidence would be suitably high.

Ultimately it comes down to whether you think that taking advantage of someone who is drunk is immoral- I would be inclined to say it is, you are of course entitled to think otherwise.

[on a side note, to address your point about the low conviction rate. This is true- they may well have all been innocent, but you do have to weigh this against much higher conviction rates in other nations (also, a completely invalid "common sense" argument would point out that it seems unlikely that that many women/man would falsly accuse people of doing that. However, common sense is not necesssarily correct)]

Finally, I'd like to say I enjoyed this argument, and perhaps we could repeat it on other issues in the future?


At 8:29 pm, Blogger Kelly said...

Arguments are fun! Bring it on!


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