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  • Diana Fletcher

Rape and Alcohol: Let’s Talk About It

Without even stopping to think too much, I could come up with the names of at least ten women who have been raped. These are people I know personally. Given a few minutes, I could add extensively to the list.

None of them reported the rape. There were a variety of reasons: shame, fear, embarrassment, and often, not realizing that the assault was actually rape.

I had two friends who were raped in high school; one by her boyfriend as her introduction to sex, and another by an ex-boyfriend. This particular young woman told no one because of the fear that her current boyfriend would go after him, and she was scared that the rapist, being bigger and meaner, would hurt him.

A friend of mine was raped on the beach, at knifepoint, while on vacation. She did not tell anyone until she got home and told her husband.

There are so many things to consider when violence occurs. Today I want to address the part that alcohol may contribute to assaults.

I know many women who have had too much to drink and have lost control of  situations that ended in rape. Many do not even realize that it was rape. It was.

College offers an abundance of opportunities to be taken advantage of sexually. This is also rape. When one person is forced to have sex in any way, or if one person is drunk and unable to say when she wants something to stop, this is rape.

I can think of quite a few friends who were raped after college drinking/parties or other instances when they were drunk.

One of my fears, having daughters, is the prevalence of “date-rape” drugs. My friends and I warn our daughters about watching their drinks, etc, so nothing can be slipped into them.

But, I think the drinking itself should be addressed. More young women will experience violence and assault when there is alcohol involved than people will ever fully realize because these acts are never reported.

Men, under the influence of alcohol, may behave in ways that we could never imagine. This can be dangerous for all women.

But what about women drinking alcohol?

When drinking, a woman is taking the chance that she may use poor judgment in picking company or choosing destinations. She may not be able to accurately assess situations. She may misunderstand signals that would be clear if she were sober.

So, does this mean women are not allowed to drink because they are women?

Sadly, it means we have restrictions on us because of the way the world is.

Is it fair? No.

Is it reality? Yes.

And we should teach our daughters about this. We should remind our friends.

Fair has nothing to do with it. If life was fair, all men would have a curfew so that all women could go out at night, at any time of night, wherever they wanted to go and stay safe as a result.

If life were fair, many things would be different. There are situations we can control, and there are situations we cannot control.

We need to teach our young people the difference.

We need to think about what we ourselves can control. Control what you can control. And do your best to stay safe.

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