Can anyone help me get my head round this alleged rape?

(277 Posts)
StormyBrid Fri 30-May-14 22:52:37

A couple of years ago, there was an incident between two people I used to know but haven't really seen for years. I keep coming back to it and pondering it, because I just don't know what to make of it. I'd appreciate any thoughts.

I'll call her F and him M, for clarity. And all I know is hearsay, but confirmed by many witnesses. For some months there had been escalating flirtation between them, at social gatherings, with alcohol involved. F has a partner. On the night in question, their flirting was commented on by many people - both of them could have been described as up for it. By the time they disappeared into a bedroom, both were incredibly drunk.

No one knows what happened in that room. F says she remembers nothing, but it was clear from, ahem, the state of her trouser region that sex had happened. M says he barely remembers what happened, but that F was very enthusiastically consenting during.

Here's where my confusion comes in. M says F consented, but F was clearly too drunk for that consent to be valid. F says it was rape. So far, so good. But M was just as drunk, and so equally couldn't give valid consent. So surely if he's guilty of rape then she is too? Can two people rape each other at the same time? Wouldn't that cancel out?

CailinDana Fri 30-May-14 23:14:25

Rape is penetration with a penis, so a woman can't rape a man.

If you say "F was clearly too drunk for consent to be valid," then it was rape, surely? I mean, M would have had to at least be able to put his penis inside her, which involves voluntary action on his part - she could not have forced him into doing that if she was falling-down drunk.

So, it sounds like rape.

If F can't remember, how come she's convinced that she didn't consent?

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Fri 30-May-14 23:23:45

In M's view, did M consent to be touched by F?

Xena26 Fri 30-May-14 23:24:27

Did he go to prison?

weatherall Fri 30-May-14 23:29:11

Being drunk doesn't excuse anyone of any crime.

The power dynamics of this should be considered in the wider context of patriarchal power and the greater effects of sex (pregnancy etc) on women.

If a man can't trust himself not to have sex with a very drunk woman when he is drunk then he shouldn't get so drunk. Men should police their own behaviour, not women's.

Uplateagain Fri 30-May-14 23:34:31

God I fear for my sons. Everyone SHOULD police their behaviour... but can we all say hand on heart that we do when very drunk? F is allowed to be so drunk she doesn't know what she's doing, but M has to stay in control at all times? If that's not perpetuating 'patriarchal power' I don't know what is.

CrotchMaven Fri 30-May-14 23:38:15

Do you think it was a pissed up hook up and now she's regretting it because she has a partner?

LoveSardines Fri 30-May-14 23:45:03

Did this happen in real life, what was the outcome? Did she report him to the police? is this hypothetical?

These type of things come up quite a lot on FWR and it's nice to know the whole scenario

almondcakes Sat 31-May-14 00:01:30

Uplateagain, I've never sexually assaulted anyone while drunk (or not drunk for that matter). I'm very confident that I can police myself on that particular crime.

I do not fear for my son. I think most people can manage not to sexually assault people.

StormyBrid Sat 31-May-14 00:04:48

Cailin fair point about rape being defined as penetration by a penis. I could better have expressed that as: surely both of them are guilty of sexual contact with someone too drunk to consent? But then how drunk does one have to be to qualify as too drunk to consent? I should also clarify that F doesn't claim she was forced per se, just that she wasn't in a fit state to be eithergranting or refusing consent.

I swapped to the mobile app so I could scroll up and respond to everything in one post, but the damned thing's stuck in preview and I can't scroll anyway, so apologies for the incoming multiple posts!

StormyBrid Sat 31-May-14 00:11:28

Bill - M thought consent was mutual. Eyewitnesses totheir behaviour prior to them going into the bedroom described their interest in one another as mutual.

It's not hypothetical, and it wasn't reported.

Crotch I haven't really wanted to speculate on F's possible motives. It didn't seem a very productive line of inquiry, really. It's just the "too drunk to consent" angle that niggles at me.

LoveSardines Sat 31-May-14 00:13:18

So it's a kind of hypothetical thing really. In so far as no-one needs to "fear for their sons" because of this post as no-one has been reported or anything. As is normally the case when people collide in drunken situations.

I do think there is a point here that if she was unable to walk / etc and he was able to have sex with her then she was quite a bit more incapacitated than him. If they were both as drunk as each other and assuming that what happened in the room did involve both of them joining in vigorously then I suppose in theory they may have assaulted each other but in practice it's all a bit moot as no-ones reporting anyone for anything and this all goes on all the time.

However to me, if someone says they were assaulted then they probably were - if she says that she was too wasted to know what was going on and he fucked her then that is clearly wrong isn't it.

It's one of these things that some people like to post on here on threads about rape. To kind of muddy the waters (not saying that is what you are doing!). Of course IRL if people say they have been assaulted then they almost certainly have, drunk people who engage in consensual sex do not generally accuse people of crimes after the event, and in fact people who do get raped while drunk or otherwise also rarely report it. So with that backdrop, I find these hypothetical questions a bit, I don't know, pointless? They are so far from reality that I feel worried about giving them airtime, in a way.

LoveSardines Sat 31-May-14 00:15:06

The eyewitnesses thing is a red herring.

It's a bit "asking for it". If she had said outright, he raped me, and he had, then all of those people saying "well she seemed up to it to me" takes a different light, doesn't it.

almondcakes Sat 31-May-14 00:16:56

You said F remembers nothing but M remembers F consenting. In that case they were not equally drunk. F was more drunk than M. M admits to having sex with F, we assume, or he wouldn't have mentioned that she consented. F does not admit to any memory of having actively touched M, nor has he said that she did. So neither of them has claimed F has done anything which could amount to sexual assault.

StormyBrid Sat 31-May-14 00:20:02

The thing is, I have no problem with the idea that a person can be too drunk to consent to sex. If he'd been sober, or a lot less drunk, I'd have no trouble calling it rape. But he was just as drunk as she was. My brain keeps getting stuck at that point.

almondcakes Sat 31-May-14 00:20:26

If one or either of these people were too drunk to consent to sex, why did this room full of eyewitnesses let them go into a room alone together?

Why did none of them intervene and stop this from happening?

slithytove Sat 31-May-14 00:21:49

It's difficult. If for instance, she was on top, actively participating, is it still rape even if she doesn't remember consenting?

LoveSardines Sat 31-May-14 00:26:34

I must admit I don't understand the trousers thing either.

When you say it was obvious they had sex, by her trousers, what do you mean?

I assume by sex you mean piv? I don't know how you could tell exactly what acts had occurred from someone's trousers? I can try to imagine but easier just to ask!

itsbetterthanabox Sat 31-May-14 00:27:57

Obviously he says she consented. He's not going to just admit raping her is he!

StormyBrid Sat 31-May-14 00:28:25

I mention eyewitnesses because their accounts make it clear that when they went into the bedroom, she was able to walk and talk, she wasn't passed out.

Custardo Sat 31-May-14 00:31:31

drunk people fuck. not all of them ofcourse, but its not uncommon. to suggest that other people at the gathering should say " now now old chap and chapess, dont go having any of the old argy bargy as you have had the odd too many martinis" is just not reality. sometimes i think mumsnet is a world of it's own i really do.

the flirting beforehand is irrelevant, no one knows what went on in the room.

if i was to speculate - i would say it was two very drunk people fucking.

fuckinglondonballs Sat 31-May-14 00:32:51

Well I would hope that someone would have stopped them if he was dragging her unconscious body in behind him...

almondcakes Sat 31-May-14 00:33:14

The issue here is one of whether or not one or either of these people was too drunk to consent to sexual activity. Unless every single one of the eyewitnesses was also incredibly drunk, some of them must have some opinion or idea on whether or not either or both of these people was too drunk to consent.

F has said she was too drunk to consent. M has not said he was too drunk to consent. Nothing in what you have said so far suggests anyone, including M, believed he was too drunk to consent. So the only one we have any reason to believe may have been assaulted is F. Unless you are about to drip feed further information.

StormyBrid Sat 31-May-14 00:33:18

Sardines I was trying to be delicate! She could tell by the state of her genitals afterwards.

almond, that is a bloody good question, and one I don't have an answer for.

slithy I'm not at all sure on that one. Can't think my way through it. Would appreciate anyone else's view on that one.

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