Don’t have sex. Don’t get drunk

Guest post from Mazzy, because here is a better place for it than on her family site.

I am enraged by a Campbell Live article I caught the end of tonight, featuring Dr Makary and his ‘Time for a change’ campaign to change our culture around alcohol.

Putting aside the whole alcohol culture discussion, which I actually agree needs a shake up, I cannot believe what I heard in this story (which you can watch on the TV3 on demand site). The message that came through loud and clear was if a girl drinks then it’s her fault she gets sexually assaulted or raped. I mean, she put herself in that position. If only she didn’t like sex and didn’t drink – then this wouldn’t happen! The story title by the way is ‘Is alcohol ruining how young people interact?’ Watch it and see for yourself.

For those who can’t watch it, what I write below is in chronological order from the item where they talk about girls drinking in NZ. It’s slightly paraphrased but not by much. Most of it is word for word:

  • NZ is the only country in the world where women are more promiscuous than men according to a 2007 Durex study.
  • It’s cause and effect. You lose your inhibitions because you want to have sex and you have sex because you lose your inhibitions. And that’s putting young women at grave risk.

They then give an example of a school student who was drunk and comatose at a school party in the Coromandel. She was sexually assaulted and the sex act was filmed and passed around by students’ cell phones.

Actual quote directly following this example: “Once a girl puts herself into this position it’s very difficult to defend her and it’s very difficult for her not to compromise her safety and the rest of her life.”

Really? Really?

So first of all, women liking sex is a problem. We’re the only country where women are more promiscuous than men. Something must be wrong! It must be because we drink. Drinking makes us promiscuous and therefore promiscuity makes us drink…because then it’s easier to have more sex! and by wanting sex and getting drunk, we’re the ones who are putting ourselves at risk of rape and assault. It’s our fault. If only we weren’t so damn horny and intoxicated.

Do you hear the angry sarcasm in my voice right now?

The example and that quote were the last straw. Last time I checked, being drunk and comatose was not consent to engage in any kind of sexual activity. That student had every right to be drunk and vulnerable and safe. She was at a school party. She was probably with friends. Her only regret should have been a terrible hangover the next morning. By getting drunk she did not suddenly become open to sex with anyone, and she didn’t ask for those non-consensual sexual acts to be filmed and distributed.

The people who put her in grave risk, the only ones who compromised her safety and the rest of her life, were those who sexually assaulted her and the ones who filmed it and passed it on. They are the ones whose behaviour needs public derision and to be made an example of. They are the ones who should be held up as an example of what is wrong with our culture.

Were the people who did this to her mentioned at all as part of the problem? No. They were not.

I hope against hope the victim in that example didn’t see Campbell Live tonight and that she never becomes aware of how her ordeal was used as an example of how women are responsible for getting themselves assaulted. Imagine the grief and trauma she is already dealing with – then add this on top of it.

Now multiply that by the thousands of women who have been through something similar and think about how that message made them feel. Their fault. Not their attackers’ fault. Theirs. Because they had the gall to get drunk or enjoy sex or think they were safe.

Imagine that.

7 responses to “Don’t have sex. Don’t get drunk”

  1. It was quite strange in that it seemed to imply that bad sex was something that happened to drunk girls, but that it didn’t involve men at all.

    Dr Makary is a gyno, but surely he knows that men play a big part in drunken rooting.

    He’s talking at the IIlot Theatre on Tuesday, so interested parties can perhaps ask questions:
    http://ywcawellington.org.nz/2010/12/07/intoxicatedyout/

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  2. Perhaps he only treats lesbians. I’m a little bit tempted to go along on Tuesday, but suspect I’ll just be far too enraged.

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  3. Thanks Mazz (and Jo!) – the more people that call this shit out, the better. ARGH RAAAAGE.

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  4. I had a similar rant the other day.

    Why can’t re-frame the debate and ask perhaps why it is that young men drink and then rape?

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  5. well said and well done.

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  6. Ugh. Stuff like this makes me very very mad. I didn’t prosecute the guy who sexually assaulted me because he was drunk at the time and ‘that was the only reason it happened’ Of course, now I regret that more than anything else, but at the time, in my screwed up guilty mindset it seemed like he was right.

    So why is it that alcohol can be a mitigating excuse for an attacker, and a damning admission of fault for a victim?

    I really wish I’d had someone to explain it to me that way back then!!

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  7. Oh, that makes me mad! Like the man/men involved don’t have any control themselves. It makes me think of women in burkas, having to cover up or expect men to become uncontrolled in their lust for female flesh.

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