Alcohol, consent and perceived opinion.
It really pissed me off"
Then I remembered something a taxi driver told me a few days ago, about a gang of girls in his cab and the way they spoke about 'shagging and banging and sucking cock, if ye'll pardon me french luv.' He, a father of three and no slouch or prude, had been shocked. He said these girls could not have been any older than twenty and yet they spoke like 'hoors'. He rounded it off with 'Sure it's no wonder things happen to them.' ( we had been listening to a news story about the comedian Russell Brand and his alleged involvement in a rape at his flat)
No wonder? Deserve? Hoors and prostitutes? Interesting. So who is to blame for this line of thinking? Is it men? Is it women? Society?
While I would let no man talk shit about women in front of me, I have to wonder if women are doing themselves a great disservice these days. What the hell is going on?
I did a quick poll of my male friends.
What do you lot think about the women you meet on a night out? I asked.
Drunk, was the resounding answer, drunk and easy.
Are we? Is that the perceived opinion of women? And these guys are not bastards, they're just normal guys with normal appetites.
Drunk and easy. Sweet fuck. And I don't swear a lot.
It is depressing. But reading the papers and watching tv is proving them right. Shit, going into any city centre bar on a Saturday night is proving them right.
Deserve. I don't like the sound of that word at all. It has too many connotations for me. But what is going on? Are women losing the battle for respect and sympathy due to our own actions? Are we shooting ourselves in the foot?
Many years ago a friend of mine slept with a man, or at least she thinks she did. She woke up in bed with him, naked and covered in love bites. But to this day she has always wondered about that night. She used no contraception, claims she can't remember leaving the nightclub, sure as shit can't remember going to the guy's place and does not remember either taking her clothes off or agreeing to sex.
Her sister was and is furious and to this day says very angrily and vocally that it was rape. To me, and I know not everyone agrees with me on this but hey, my blog, what that man did to her was not rape, although he ought to have been slapped for the hickeys.
I don't think it was rape for a number of reasons. And not because she was too drunk to stand either. But because she probably did say yes, she had firted with him all night, she probably fondled him the whole way back to his house in the back of the taxi, that she herself climbed into with a dismissive and drunken wave of her hand when some of her friends tried to suggest she was blotto- I know I was there.
Deserve, I am troubled by that word.
In the Sun today is film-maker Roger Graef’s, a man whose groundbreaking documentary about the treatment of rape victims by police shocked the country when it was screened in 1982.
Eleven million viewers watched A Complaint Of Rape and were horrified to see officers aggressively interviewing a woman who reported she had been gang-raped.
The landmark programme revealed for the first time how heavily the legal system was weighted against the victim. As a result, police were re-trained in how to handle rape cases.
Graef is backing the tabloid's Sunwomen Stop Rape campaign and while he talks a lot of sense, one sentence makes me wonder.
"We must also recognise the victim’s right to refuse consent whether drunk or sober.
If they are too drunk to give consent consciously and clearly, then intercourse is rape. Pure and simple."
Is it? I mean is it pure and simple? By that reasoning the man my friend slept with did rape her, pure and simple, despite the fact she came on to him and she was sexually aggressive with him, pure and simple right? She doesn't remember giving consent, so that's that then, pure and simple. But let's stall the ball for a second, let's shine the spotlight on the man in question, let's have a quick glance at our vicious predator.
He was blind drunk, having been at a stag all day, he was weaving as he left the night club and had dropped his house keys numerous times. He and she were acting like two teenagers, snogging on the street, her hand up the back of his shirt, his not so firmly planted on her arse, she waved away any concerns we-her friends- had for her safety and got cross when we tried to make her come home with us. Pure and simple? Is it? Did he 'deserve' to be arrested the next day and charged with being a rapist? Pure and simple right?
Is it only rape then if the girl is too drunk and the man sober? Or is it still rape if they are both drunk horny irresponsible idiots? Where is the pure and simple line drawn. Is consent always verbal or can actions be considered consent?
Drunk and easy.
It is no secret that the majority of my friends are male. I find the chaps good company and have a 'what you see is what you get' attitude that I like. I've often been out on nights out as the only female in their company and I've heard the way they talk about women, and although I've never heard them call a woman a 'hooker' in reference to the way she dresses, I know they can spot an'easy' girl a mile off, and nine times out of then she will be drunk and wearing very little.
But on the other hand, I"ve seen the way women act around them-especially one of the Italians, a very good looking wolfy chap, and I gotta tell ya, it ain't pretty. They practically get on his lap. What's he to do? Send them home with an admonishment? Is he a bastard for taking advantage of their drunken selves and lowered inhibitions? Or does his responsibility for their welfare stop the moment they sit on his lap and stick their tongue in his ear?
In this day and age with everyone jumping up and down and screaming about their rights and demanding to be treated equally a lot of common sense has gone straight out the window. Fed on a diet of girl power and booze, women are taking risks they didn't take before. Drinking until they pass out, acting with sexual aggression, celebrity pole notching, kiss and tells, dressing like porn stars and taking more and more risks.
It is an unpopular thing for a woman to say-I know I always get slated by my female friends whenever I say it- and the sister of my friend gets particularly angry about it, but while yes, every woman has the right to be safe and not assualted or raped, those rights must go hand in hand with good sense.
If you are a young woman, staggering down a dark street, blind drunk, with hardly any clothes on, in the middle of the night, it does not mean you 'deserve' (I am really starting to hate that word) to get raped, far from it. But if you do get raped following the above scenario, you do need to ask yourself, did I practice good judgment? I don't deserve this, but was there anything I could have done to minimise the danger I put myself in.
At the end of the day rapists doesn't give a fiddler's fuck about rights, girl power, deserve, Sun campaigns, bloggers or consent. What the rapist is looking for is vulnerability. And that is something where we women can hold the upper hand.