Yesterday in a bizarre ruling, an Oklahoma court found forced oral sex with someone too intoxicated to consent, legal. Huh? Can that be possible? “Yes” is the sad and inexplicable answer. The case that produced the ruling involved a 17 year old boy and 16 year old girl. A later hospitalization showed the girl had a blood alcohol content of .34, which could produce death. She was drunk, bone saturated drunk beyond recognition and certainly beyond any ability to consent to anything. There were no reports regarding the boy’s level of intoxication, if any. Rightfully so, there are numerous public outcries from advocacy groups and just about anyone with a a sense of humanity. Think about the message here: pesky courtship and dating rituals, consensual decisions are way too bothersome, all you need is a 12 pack and a passed out date. There are so many issues with this that should be examined and the media is alive with condemning the court’s decision. Much of the attention is focused on the boy. That he was a calculating sexual predator. He might be but there is a massive oversight when discussing the problem and that is the alcohol. Of course the alcohol doesn’t excuse the behavior and certainly doesn’t let anyone off the hook but it’s playing a big role here and we should take a look at it.
Link Between Alcohol Use and Sexual Assault
For years and years we have said “don’t drink and drive” and “designate a driver”. That’s good policy but doesn’t do anything to address the many other things that go wrong when alcohol is poured freely. One of those things is sexual assault. Research is clear on this very simple point: rise in alcohol use, rise in sexual assault. The vast majority of sexual assaults on campuses are when both parties had been drinking. It’s not that the boy who did this isn’t responsible, he is, but alcohol shares in his culpability.
What if there were no drinking involved. Maybe the two teens would have gone to a movie and he would have nervously tried to kiss her. Maybe it wouldn’t have been that wholesome of a scene, who knows. As Americans, our relationship with alcohol is so woven into our lives that we seem to forget to take a look at the role it plays when things go south.
This is an insane ruling in the state of Oklahoma, my sincere hope is there are efforts in place to change this. The alcohol problem has long reaching tentacles and it’s a problem we all share.