Two people get drunk. (It happens all the time.) While too blotto to know any better, one of them has an incredibly stupid idea. The other agrees with the idea, and they act on it. When they sober up, they realize just how stupid an idea it was. In fact, a crime was committed. But only one of the drunks is arrested; the other is immediately labeled “the victim” and put on the opposing side from their drinking buddy.
Inexplicable? Not if the “incredibly stupid idea” was to have sex.
Now, I’m not interested in discussing sexual politics or the nature of rape or just what constitutes date rape. This is a simple question of law that has bothered me off and on for almost two decades, most lately revived by the William Kennedy Smith scandal (take II). If a man and a woman both get equally drunk, both agree (drunkenly) to have sex, and both regret it after, why is the man held more liable than the woman? “Too drunk to say yes” outweighs “too drunk to say no?”
This has more far-reaching implications than I’ve heard others discuss. If women are to be held to a lesser standard of responsibility when drunk than men, where else should they be held to a lesser standard? And if women are held to this lesser standard, does this mean they are lesser citizens? We hold juveniles to a lower standard than adults, but withhold corresponding rights and privileges. Should this carry over to women?
I’m not looking to start some huge fight here, just some serious discussion. Under the current law, men are being held to a higher standard than women are. Is that right? Should that stand? Are there genuine reasons why this should stay unchallenged?
(Who, for various and sundry reasons, largely medical, has never been drunk in his life)