Perhaps I would get fired if I worked for one of those big network television stations, if I dared to suggest such a thing, and in that case it’s probably a good thing that I am, perhaps one of the few remaining, who is able to speak my mind, and not worry about the repercussions. It’s not like someone is going to blast me for what I say here, I mean for all I know, nobody even reads my thoughts about our criminal justice systems (and yes, there are two).
Maybe nobody took the time to read that book written by the author Scott Turow, about the ‘limitations’ in the system which portrayed a fictional judge facing what took place in his college years. Troubling as it was, he came to realize that some of the things that went on when he was in college might not have been lawful, and could have been attributed to the risky behavior so often exhibited by college ‘kids.’
Yesterday, in the midst of horrific news that was unfolding about four young men, whom many would still refer to as ‘boys’ may have been murdered by another young man, there was a backlash on social media, and in the regular media, as well. It had to do with something someone said, and the apology that came afterwards.
Before I continue, I want to say that I have not taken the time to listen to the words or read the words that were first spoken that supposedly were ‘flippant’ and alleged that about 90% for all sexual assault on campus can be attributed to “drunken sex” but I will, only I can already form an opinion on the way the media ran with what was said. How horribly to suggest such a thing, it’s so wrong and it’s blaming the victim, is what was going across the screen in one way or another. Really? I am not defending the person who said anything, and of course, numbers such as these should be backed up with a credible study, but if what was said holds any validity should there have been an apology for what was said, as opposed to how it was said or that it was perhaps an opinion rather than a fact? If that’s the case, then yes it’s wrong for anyone is such a high position to state something alleging something such as this without the credible backup data BUT…
What bothers me is that we as a society overall seem to be afraid to talk about the role alcohol and drugs play in criminal acts, especially sexual assault. Why???? If we do no understand our opponent’s argument we will fail to understand our own. Why are some of us so afraid to consider that sexual assault is often triggered by irrational, primal behavior that might have been triggered by a substance such as alcohol or drugs? We have no problem looking at drugs or alcohol as a contributing factor in deaths on our highway, so why then is it wrong to think that “drunken sex” is alive and well on campus, to the point that it’s an epidemic and the largest contribution to sexual assault, overall?
I do not take full responsibility for what happened to me when I was sexually assaulted at the time when I was too drunk to make proper decisions, and was if I remember correctly 23 years old, but I also know that I did allow myself to drink too much, would not ever do that again, and learned the hard way how horribly crucial it was that I keep my wits about me when I was around those who were drinking. Some lessons in life come to us by learning from mistakes and it just plain sucks, but that does mean it’s wrong to take some responsibility for your part in what happened. It also does not excuse the actions of the other party but at least if we look at the circumstances with a desire for totality of circumstances rather than through rose-colored glasses, we can begin to look for solutions rather than blame.
In my opinion, it is not wrong to suggest that a person be mindful that alcohol and drugs can lead them to make incredibly risky choices that can land them dead, raped or in dangerous worlds. It is also not wrong to tell someone it’s risky to run alone in Central Park. Of course, it’s a shame that a person should not feel completely free to exhibit such freedom and that running alone in Central Park is not a welcome mat for sexual predators, but it’s not wrong to say that running solo can put one at risk. Add the variables of running alone at dark, and being drunk and you’re going to increase your chances of something horrible happening. It’s prudent risk management, of one’s person, to take good care of one’s self.
The actual number of “drunkensex” is not going to ever be known, and the true number of sexual assault is not going to be known, because it’s perhaps one of the most underreported crimes. Yet, speak to those who have examined their own behavior after they were sexually assaulted, or survey young men and ask them without judging them if they are truly able to manage their brains when they drink too much, and you might realize that very often alcohol does play a role in criminal behavior. We MUST not be afraid to talk truth, and we must realize that it’s NOT blaming a victim for the crime, but it is educating others about variables that might put one at risk. We should be talking to both men and women about what can happen to you if you let yourself drink too much. Googling about what happens to a man after he’s had nine shots, and he’s lying dead in a basement is not going to help when you are facing charges for his death. These are things we need to know before the man is dead, not after.