Student reflects on coping with rape experience

| Staff Reporter

Students march on the Danforth Campus in solidarity with the women participating in Take Back the Night on Tuesday.Genevieve Hay | Student Life

Students march on the Danforth Campus in solidarity with the women participating in Take Back the Night on Tuesday.

Most students on this campus are shocked to learn that one in four of their female peers are the victims of rape or attempted rape. But this is the reality that exists at Washington University and on college campuses across the nation. This week is Sexual Assault Awareness Week, and Student Life is taking a deeper look into sexual assault on campus and why so many rapes and rapists go undetected. In the hopes of debunking the myth that rape can only be defined as a violent crime between strangers, one student has shared her story of rape. Please note that the names of the rape survivor and her roommate have been changed to protect their anonymity.

 

Rachel was not brutally attacked, gagged or assaulted by a stranger. She did not go out alone, walk home late at night, or get lost in an unfamiliar part of town. But Rachel is a rape survivor.

The staggering yet silent reality is that Rachel is just one of an estimated 750 undergraduate female students currently at Washington University that have been the victims of rape or attempted rape.

These are not the violent rapes that are plastered on newspaper headlines, but the unspoken acquaintance rapes that pervade this campus. These rapes have gone largely unnoticed with the rapists rarely being confronted or facing consequence for their crimes.

According to Kim Webb, assistant director for community health and sexual assault services, nearly all sexual assaults on campus are assaults that occur between students, with the victim typically knowing the perpetrator.

A national survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice concluded that one in four college-aged women encounter an experience that meets the legal definition of rape or attempted rape during their college years. A survey conducted at the University in 2004 confirms that the occurrence of rape at Washington University is consistent with the national rate.

Resources

Student Health Services
(314) 935-6695

Tamara King,
judicial administrator

(314) 935-4174

Sexual Assault & Rape Anonymous Helpline (S.A.R.A.H.)
(314) 935-8080

Uncle Joe’s Peer Counseling
(314) 935-5099

The issue of sexual assault on campus catapulted to the forefront of the Washington University community nearly four years ago in the aftermath of the violent rape of a female student in Myers House on the South 40.

The case—which came to be known as “the Myers incident”—is the only case of stranger rape on campus grounds in recent memory. It occurred when a man tailgated into Myers House, forced his way into the room of a female student and raped her.

In April 2010, a female student was raped and robbed in the DeMun neighborhood as she walked home from campus in the early hours of the morning.

Despite the high-profile nature of these two rapes, these cases stand apart from almost every other sexual assault on campus in terms of their brutality, publicity and the involvement of non-student perpetrators.

“Before it happened to me, I thought it was something that happened to other people,” said Rachel, a senior. “It’s happening here. Not with some lacrosse team at some other school, but here.”

One student’s story

During the fall semester of her sophomore year, Rachel went out with some friends to Morgan Street Brewery, a bar in downtown St. Louis that is popular among Washington University students on Thursday nights.

She doesn’t remember consuming enough alcohol to blackout, but she has few memories of the night and and doesn’t know how she became seperated from her friends.

The next day, she woke up naked in a man’s bed—a man whose advances she had rejected the weekend prior.

She has a hazy recollection of being on her back in his bed and feeling pain in her vaginal region.

The male student—who was a senior at the University at the time—acted as if everything was normal. He was polite and drove her back to her dorm on the South 40.

Two days later, Rachel was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI), which erased any of her doubts of whether she had had sex.

“I blamed myself for getting too drunk,” Rachel said. “I told myself that my UTI was my punishment.”

Coming to terms with the rape

Like most rape survivors, Rachel didn’t think to classify her assault until a month later when she told her best friend from home what had happened. Her friend responded by saying that her encounter was an instance of rape.

“I said ‘no, I had drunk sex,’” Rachel said.

Rachel subsequently researched date rape and discovered that her story was more than just a case of regretful, drunk sex.

Still, Rachel did not label her experience as rape and struggled to reconcile the violent images she typically associated with rape with her own assault.

“I didn’t feel like I had a right to be upset,” she said. “I didn’t remember it—why should I be mad at something I don’t remember?”

According to Webb, this reaction is common. She says that rape on this campus is so underreported because students often don’t label their assaults as rape.

“People don’t label it for what it is. People oftentimes don’t label acquaintance rape as rape,” Webb said. “Their vision rape is somebody jumping out of the bushes—it’s always violent, and it’s always a stranger. But that’s not what we see on this campus.”

Progress in Congress

Vice President Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced guidelines on Monday that will require universities that take federal funding to investigate reported incidences of sexual harassment and violence, and to prevent them from reoccuring. The guidelines reinforce existing rules pertaining to Title IX — a law that bans sexual harassment and discrimination in schools. They clarify the existing requirement, under Title IX, for universities to implement sex discrimination policies, and to have an administrator who oversees the university’s compliance with Title IX standards.

Rachel said the nonviolent nature of her assault coupled with the fact that her rapist was a Washington University student further complicated her ability to grapple with her assault.

“He was one of us. How could he be this bad person?” Rachel said. “If he was a big scary rapist, then I’d be the victim of a big scary rape.”

She tried to repress her tangled emotions about the rape she couldn’t remember, but seemingly innocuous signs triggered thoughts of the night and consistently left her in tears.

There were days when she struggled to go to class and wished she could tell her professors what happened so that they would understand why she wasn’t fully invested in school.

The stress of school, personal issues and the assault eventually took their toll, and Rachel was forced to confront the rape.

A year after the rape, she confided about her experience to her roommate, her best friend from home and her boyfriend at the time.

But still, Rachel didn’t fully understand her emotions, and while she was relieved that they knew of her assault, she tried to hide her pain and was frustrated when they didn’t recognize the extent of what she was going through.

“I was finally in a bad enough place where I couldn’t deal with it emotionally anymore,” she said. “I was hiding it, but angry that people didn’t see how hurt I was.”

Her roommate Katie said she initially did not know how to help her. She eventually found that the most effective way to help was to listen, to always watch out for her and to make sure she felt safe when she went out.

“She didn’t know it was okay to be upset,” Katie said. “All I can do is be there. There are times that she has to cry for seemingly no reason, and I am there.”

When Rachel came to Katie about possibly going to therapy at Student Health Services, Katie said she actively encouraged her to do so.

Therapy helped Rachel to realize that her emotions were justified, and that the fact that she wasn’t violently raped by a stranger didn’t mean that she wasn’t raped.

“My reaction wasn’t as extreme as some reactions you read about, but it didn’t mean I wasn’t going through the same emotions,” she said.

Reporting rape on campus

Like most rape victims on Washington University’s campus, Rachel opted not to report her rape to the police or the campus’ judicial system.

She said that by the time she contemplated reporting her rape, it was a year after the fact, and her assailant had already graduated.

Had she woken up naked in a stranger’s bed that morning, she said her immediate reaction would have been to call the police.

Although national and Washington University-wide surveys indicate that one in four undergraduate female students will experience rape or attempted rape during their college years, only a minute fraction of these rapes are actually reported to the authorities.

According to the latest statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Education, of all the rapes thought to occur on Washington University’s campus in housing facilities in 2009, only five were reported to campus authorities.

The five incidents of reported forcible rape in 2009 represent a decrease from the six reported offenses in 2008.

This small number of reported rapes suggest that a larger problem exists within the campus culture, compounded by a lack of open discussion about assaults between students.

Both Webb and Washington University Chief of Police Don Strom said that many factors contribute to a person’s decision not to report a rape. These can include victims blaming themselves, a fear of not being taken seriously by authorities, and a lack of awareness of what constitutes as rape.

“[The numbers] misrepresent the problems and unfortunately that results in an ambivalence about the issue and the seriousness of it,” Strom said. “Sometimes people have this sense that we don’t really have a problem because the numbers are so small or even nonexistent.”

Strom added that sexual assaults reported on campus are rarely reported to law enforcement but rather to administrators or other programs on campus.

The often-ambiguous nature of acquaintance rape makes the cases difficult to process in court, according to senior Laura Jensen, president of the student group S.A.R.A.H. (Sexual Assault and Rape Anonymous Hotline). Jensen said S.A.R.A.H. has never heard of an acquaintance rape case in St. Louis County that has gone through the courts.

Rape is not only limited to females. According to Webb, one in six males experience some form of sexual assault by the time they are 16. Many of these males come to terms with, and address these assaults, in college.

As discussion and education on sexual assault increases, Webb said that she hopes there will be an increase in the number of reported assaults as students learn what constitutes rape and feel more comfortable reporting their experiences.

“We need to work hard not to perpetuate the image of violent rape because that’s not what our students are experiencing,” Webb said. “I really think this campus is ready to address this issue.”

Defining rape

The University Student Judicial Code defines unacceptable sexual behavior as “sexual contact with any member of the University community or visitor to the University without that person’s consent, including but not limited to rape and other forms of sexual assault.”

Both the University judicial code and Missouri law clearly stipulate that a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol cannot give consent. Given the nature of alcohol on college campuses, this provision complicates many on-campus sexual encounters.

“My steadfast rule is that if you are drinking or having any drugs, you should not take or give consent because it is a hard line to define,” Webb said. “If alcohol is involved, typically consent is not, so it is rape.

While the relationship between alcohol and sex is not likely to fade away from college campuses in the near future, Jensen said the campus needs to focus on discussing what consent actually entails.

“I think we have got to be willing to talk about healthy sexual relationships on campus, and we have to be willing to talk about asking for consent and what consent means,” Jensen said.

In an effort to reduce sexual assault on campus, University administrators and students are currently finalizing the plans for the Green Dot Initiative—a strategy already implemented on many college campuses that is designed to promote social change by recognizing all members of the community as bystanders to violence and sexual assault. The program will train these bystanders how they can intervene during a potentially dangerous situation.

After years of controversy surrounding the hiring of a sexual assault prevention coordinator, this year marks the first academic year that Webb’s post as the sexual assault prevention coordinator has been filled.

Strom said that Webb’s position coupled with the Green Dot Initiative is a major step in confronting the misconceptions and myths surrounding sexual assault on campus.

“I think we are on the right track with having [Webb],” Strom said. “The Green Dot program reinforces what we are trying to do. Our community has to understand that it is a shared responsibility.”

Lessons for the future

Rachel and Katie’s experiences with rape changed the way they view sexual assault and how they make decisions when drinking and going out—they keep track of their friends in an effort to ensure that no one leaves alone.

“I never thought I would be so close to rape in this sense,” Katie said. “It’s shocking to realize that it’s not just happening in your community, but to someone that is close to you.”

Although Rachel is still coping with the rape, she is hoping to spread awareness of the prevalence and often nuanced nature of sexual assault.

“People don’t associate rape with a successful Wash. U. student. I feel like everyone is aware [of rape], but they don’t think it can happen,” Rachel said. “Getting through this and Wash. U. is something that I’m proud of.”

  • Wash U Alum

    Imagine the following scenario:

    Joe and Jane are drinking with their respective groups of friends. Joe has 4 beers over a couple hours. Jane drinks too much and ends up black-out drunk. Jane is the kind of drunk who always appears to be more sober than she actually is.

    Later, the two run into each other at a party. They bond because they have something in common. Joe is excited because he thinks Jane is cool and because she appears to like him. He can tell she has been drinking a little, but has no reason to suspect she is blacked out. He asks her to go back to his room, one thing leads to another, and they have what looks like consensual sex.

    The next morning Jane wakes up and can’t remember anything. She is terrified and she runs home and cries. Joe is confused.

    Joe should probably have been more careful about having drunk sex with a girl he just met. But is his conduct so bad that we want to call him a rapist?

  • Wash U Alum

    More emphasis should be placed on what the man thought. Consent is judged on an objective standard (because it’s impossible to “get inside someone’s head”). Whether Rachel gave “consent” hinges on what a reasonable person in the man’s shoes would have thought.

    For example, if a woman says “yes” and has sex while secretly thinking “no,” we don’t want to convict the man of rape. Similarly, we probably don’t want to hold a man liable if he and a woman both have a few drinks and then have sex without explicit consent, but without anything to indicate that that sex is not okay (no saying “no,” trying to leave, physical resistance, looking scared, etc.).

    How much alcohol should play into “reasonable person in the man’s shoes” should be limited. For example, we wouldn’t want him to get off the hook by saying “a reasonable person after 10 beers would have thought she meant yes” when the woman was resisting.

    So, it depends. If she was clearly wasted and he could tell, but had sex with her anyways, that looks like rape. If they were both wasted and she saying no, that’s rape. If they were both wasted and she was all over him, its harder to tell, but in that case the man’s conduct is less “blameworthy.” It’s complicated, but a man has to do more than “have sex with a woman when she is drunk” to merit being called a rapist.

  • Concerned Scootergirl

    What I am most appalled by in this is that so many people comment about whether there is enough evidence to convict the guy of rape, how drunk Rachel was, or how this compares to more violent rape scenarios, and then completely miss the point of the article! What happened to Rachel was terrible. She didn’t want or deserve it, in ANY way. It also isn’t very uncommon, and often times isn’t reported (the reactions of many commenters here can probably tell you why). That’s a problem. No matter how you slice it.

    What we need to be doing is looking at our own seemingly harmless interactions (male and female) and think more carefully about whether what we are doing is right. If we are about to have sex with someone who is clearly intoxicated, we should think less about whether our actions would legally “count” as rape and more about whether this person that we are about to commit a deeply emotional act with genuinely wants to do it.

    I can’t speak for everyone, but I personally would not want to do anything with someone that they would regret in the morning, or ever. If that itself isn’t enough of a motivator, think about the fact that there are lots of Rachels out there, and each of them is someone’s daughter, sister, or friend. This situation, whatever you want to call it, shouldn’t happen to anyone.

  • Dorothy He

    let’s all agree that it’s not good if someone gets raped. correct? because it is a violent act that occurs AGAINST someone’s will, and can have terrible consequences.

    alright. now let’s say that the girl who was raped was drunk and was not in a good enough mental state to make good decisions. yes, it is her fault for indulging in too much alcohol and not being careful enough to maintain a good mental state. also, to those who raise the point that that girl may have been wearing revealing clothing–yes, that may be the case. these are all things that the girl should keep in mind to *protect* herself from those who may not have such good intentions, and are up to the girl’s own discretion. however, it is NOT her fault if she is raped. just because she chose to drink a lot or wear revealing clothes does not mean that she was ASKING to be raped. that is quite a large leap of faith to make in logic. she may, however, have wished for attention from the opposite sex, which is quite normal. but to say that someone WANTED to be raped is a completely different matter. i am pretty sure that few have that kind of desire.

    the only thing that is truly up to a girl’s own discretion is how much she chooses to drink and/or how she dresses. that may prevent her from receiving unwanted attention from males. but the rape is an entirely different act–it is a deep violation of a human’s mental and physical being. rape is the rapist’s fault. the act of CHOOSING to force someone into unwanted and/or unsave sexual intercourse is completely immoral. the choice to rape someone or not belongs to the (potential) rapist. the choice to protect oneself from unwanted sexual advances or attention, however, is the girl’s.

    let’s please keep this distinction in mind when discussing this matter.

    • Alice Merrill

      While I understand that the motivation behind suggestions like this is a good one – the hope of preventing rape – the problem is that they admonish women like us to “not dress like that,” or “not behave like that,” rather than take the act of rape to task. As a community, we need to understand that the message “don’t get raped” is much less productive than the disappointingly rare “DON’T RAPE,” and has the unintended effect of blaming the victims.

    • Naomi

      “I am pretty sure few have that kind of desire [to be raped],” you write. In fact, it is a logical impossibility for anyone to desire rape. Rape = nonconsent = something that is done to someone *against that person’s will*. No one can desire rape; no one can desire something that they, by definition, don’t desire.

      • Dorothy He

        sorry, naomi. thanks for clearing it up.

  • Jacob P. Marley

    Quote from the article:

    “During the fall semester of her sophomore year, Rachel went out with some friends to Morgan Street Brewery, a bar in downtown St. Louis that is popular among Washington University students on Thursday nights.”

    I’m curious – how old was “Rachel” when this happened? I cannot speak for everyone, but I sure as hell wasn’t 21 years of age and legal to drink when I was a first-semester sophomore. In fact, I was only nineteen.

    • Bob Marley

      Especially since this is a popular bar in the area and has one or more bouncers checking IDs at the door, since Morgan Street wants to minimize their own liability.

      How did a first semester sophomore get into the bar then? Either she was old for her age, or was guilty of a lesser crime. Still, she didn’t deserve what happened to her, and maybe there is too much emphasis on drinking in our culture, but for what other purpose, other than getting drunk in bars, does one potentially need a fake ID?

      To have fun with friends, some say. True, but can friends not have fun in a restaurant, movie, mall, or bowling alley? At least for the first couple of years of college.
      There’s no shortage of on-campus events with alcohol too, given WashU’s liberal alcohol policy. A lot of those don’t even require fake IDs.

  • Ashley Gold

    I tend to think that most people on these boards – particularly those who reply most vehemently – are just scared that 1) one could so easily and unknowingly violate another person or 2) one could so easily be violated. It’s a scary world out there and to acknowledge that rape could happen to anybody at any time is terrifying. So rather than face that idea, people lash out against victim/survivors to distance themselves. It’s a natural coping mechanism, but when it is used to justify/support/diminish/ignore violence against somebody, it goes too far.

    My best wishes go out to Rachel. Please do your best to take care of yourself.

    • Please

      The people who are responding most vehemently are simply concerned that our moral judgments of people in cases like these are inconsistent and frankly nonsensical at times.

  • Hope For A Meaningful Discourse

    This is an incredibly important topic. I’m happy to see Student Life address it, and so many people provide comments, many of which are tempered and thoughtful. At the same time, I’m highly disturbed to see how callously some people respond to such a traumatic and complex issue, and as alumni I worry about the social environment our students are exposed to when its members harbor such attitudes.
    Commentators dismissing an alleged rape with such certainly on the very limited set of facts presented in this article reflects a lack of concern about a truly heinous crime, and a naivety about the ways it can occur. On the other hand, people claiming that this clearly was an instance of rape on that same limited set of facts ignore the seriousness of a rape allegation, and undermine efforts to promote rape awareness. The bottom line is that we do not have nearly enough information about this incident from the article to make a conclusion either way about what occurred.
    Although I support Student Life’s goal in drawing attention to this issue, I feel the manner in which they did so deserves blame for some of the disappointing dialogue that has resulted. According to the article, “Missouri law clearly stipulate that a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol cannot give consent.” This is an incorrect description of the law; Missouri law states that “no crime is committed if the actor reasonably believed that the victim was not incapacitated and reasonably believed that the victim consented to the act. The defendant shall have the burden of injecting the issue of belief as to capacity and consent.” (http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C500-599/5660000020.HTM) And while the article’s statement implies any consumption of alcohol prevents consent, the Missouri Sexual Offense Statutes make no such specification.
    To provide such an inaccurate description of what constitutes rape is irresponsible reporting, and I’m shocked to see a student paper as professional and distinguished as Student Life conduct itself in such a manner. If this article were contending that any instance involving alcohol should be viewed as rape, then it would be a perfectly legitimate opinion piece. But this is written as a news story, with an incorrect description of what rape is according to Missouri law presented as fact. I believe the author and editors should provide the source for their quote I cited earlier, or amend it. If they genuinely wish to create a meaningful discourse on this issue, I hope that they will respond.

    • Please

      Since when has Studlife ever conducted itself professionally? Once again, it has made me embarrassed to be a Wash U student.

  • wualum

    Thank you to Student Life for publishing this article. I think it is an important reminder to the WashU community that acquaintance rape is in fact a common occurrence on the university’s campus. I had a similar experience to the one shared in this article. I was a freshman and went to a frat party on the WashU campus during the fall. I drank alcohol but wasn’t so drunk that I don’t remember what happened. I danced with another freshman at WashU who invited me back to his dorm room. At the time, I was a virgin and assumed that we would just go back and make out. In retrospect, I realize that that was a naive expectation, but nonetheless, I don’t think many women expect to be raped when they go home with one of their classmates. When we got back to his dorm, he immediately took off all of my clothes and said I couldn’t leave until he came. I then proceeded to tell him why I did not want to have sex with him. But he had sex with me anyway, the whole time telling me, “I’m not having sex with you.” (Since I was a virgin, he tried to convince me that what we were doing “wasn’t really sex.”) When I left his apartment, he told me, “You’re going to wake up in the morning and scream.” I will never forget those words. I considered coming forward about the rape, but when I went over my options with WashU’s judicial system, I was told that it would be my word against his. I would have to sit in a room full of people with my rapist present and tell every single detail of that night (which I did not include here). He would then have the opportunity to share his version. If there was insufficient proof, he would get away with it scott-free, and I would have to continue seeing him on campus, him knowing that I had accused him. Furthermore, WashU told me that I had to press charges through THEIR judicial system, not the one that exists in the “real” world. At the time, I was also struggling with PTSD and depression (as a result of the rape) and couldn’t bear the thought of going through with that, especially because I doubted that I would win the case. So now I’ve graduated from WashU. Overall my experience at WashU was positive, but this rape back in October 2006 will never be forgotten. Because my rapist was also a freshman, as much as I tried to avoid him, I would run into him on campus, and he would smirk at me; he knew what he did but got away with it. People may judge victims of rape for not coming forward, but I don’t think you can judge until you’re in their shoes. I don’t know what would have happened if I had chosen to press charges against my rapist. My guess, though, is that he would have not been found guilty- not because he didn’t rape me but because I didn’t have sufficient proof. And I would have become even more depressed while people judged me and called me a liar or said that what happened to me “wasn’t really rape.” In my opinion, if someone has sex with you and you say no, it is rape, plain and simple. Unfortunately, we live in a society where women are too often blamed. In the comments below, people blame “Rachel” for “getting too drunk.” But it is not HER fault, and I want Rachel to know that if she is reading this. It is easy to blame yourself when you’re raped because that is what society teaches us to do, but the truth is that rape is NEVER the victim’s fault. Women (and men) should have the right to go out and get drunk and have fun. They should even be able to go out and get drunk and go back home with one of their classmates and expect that they will be treated with respect, let alone that they will not be engaged in sex that is against their will.

    I met many wonderful people during my time at WashU- men included- but that one night will always cast a dark shadow over my college experience. I’m glad that WashU is taking this issue seriously and has finally hired a sexual assault prevention coordinator. I think one of the first steps to getting more victims to step forward, though, is to reconsider our current judicial system. How can we change it so that women feel more comfortable coming forward about being raped? Is it really necessary to force victims to share their story in the same room as their rapist? Is it really necessary for this process to occur only in the “WashU bubble”?

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for telling your story. It’s brave of you to come forward on such a hostile forum and share such a personal experience. I hope that commenters see that this happens to real people on this campus, that is, it happens to their friends and peers, and it does real damage. Again, thank you for sharing your story.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you very much for sharing your story. I am sure that no one here would discount your experience or argue that it was indeed rape.

      To address your later questions regarding the article though, the problem that so many here have with the reporting therein is the amazing amount of conclusions drawn from what is (at best) circumstantial evidence. Notably, the scenario that the article does not address is that in which both Rachel and the man she was with have mutually consensual sex, which is then obscured from her memory due to alcohol intoxication. In this scenario, if the man is sober enough to recognize her intoxicated state, then there becomes grounds for the allegation of rape. However, if they are both similarly intoxicated and incapacitated, ascribing blame to one party or the other (again, assuming that consent was given by both at the time) becomes foolish, and in fact sexist.

      Sadly, the article ultimately demonstrated very poor reporting. While it succeeded in inciting its readers to action, it did so through a very flawed premise, and therefore failed the standards that this publication strives to uphold. Frankly, this has all the hallmarks of a reporter scrambling to find an interview by a set deadline (as mandated by an awareness week). I’m frankly quite disappointed that StudLife gave this article so much attention given its poor execution.

  • anonymous

    The purpose of the article was to create awareness and dialog of date rape, whether or not you believe it exists or not. I believe the comments have shown that the article was effective in doing just that. Instead of thinking about the article as an attack, just think about it as raising awareness, especially to girls who can make changes to their nightlife habits.

    • Rachel Stoberski

      “Raising awareness” is not a free ticket to write a bad article.

  • Alice Merrill

    What everyone seems to be forgetting is that this is NOT a suffering contest: this article is about raising awareness for a very real problem on campus. Why are we putting Rachel on trial? We’re not in court! She’s a human being who, whether you manage to find sympathy or not, has gone through a traumatic experience, and one that is common among students at WashU. She decided to share her experience so as to help others who have felt isolated in their sadness or anger realize they are not alone, as well as to help others understand that experiences like hers ARE damaging and should not be brushed off as some girl “getting drunk” and “asking for it.” At the least, why can’t we as a community examine why such an experience is painful and encourage each other to look out for our friends’ well-being when we go out?

  • anonymous

    A couple weekends ago I got very, very drunk and ate White Castle. Sober, I would never eat White Castle; it’s gross, it’s bad for me, and it makes me feel terrible the next morning. But in my drunken state I–without remembering the next day–chose to buy and eat a bunch of White Castle. I regretted it the next day a modest amount.

    This is obviously a trivialization of the issues here, and I don’t intend to offend any of the victims discussed above. But would I say that the employees of White Castle took advantage of my mental state to steal my money? No.

    Again, I’m just being a devil’s advocate here, and I hope that my dissimilar example only serves to highlight the confusion associated with the concept of lack of consent in a drunken state.

    • Agv

      “Obviously a trivialization of issues here” – VERY obviously. But guess what – White Castle didn’t force you to do anything. They didn’t take advantage. YOU made the choice while you were drunk, and there wasn’t actually a lack of consent.

      • Jacob P. Marley

        Well actually, “Agv” you’re pretty much wrong on all counts here. Either that, or you just cannot follow two parallel courses of logic. The FACT of the matter is that we DO NOT KNOW what happened to this girl. Now you assert “YOU made the choie while you were drunk, and there wasn’t actually a lack of consent.”

        How the hell would you know? Suppose our White Castle friend here regrets eating the junk food late at night? He was in no position to say no to his own bodily urges to eat crap at odd hours. He was in no rational state of mind to pull cash out of his wallet and give it to them. Did they ask if he’d like fries with that? Because if so, he was robbed by your own logic. He could not rightfully decide on a course of action, one was put before him, and perhaps he ended up with an order of fries – robbed mercilessly to the tune of $1.19.

        Back to the article now. Since you were not there (unless you *were*, in which case your knowledge can only come from being either a rapist of accessory to the crime), the only thing we do know is that she, like Mr. White Castle, “made the choice while [she was] drunk…” For all we know, a random man could have gone up to her and forced her to purchase a medium order of fries upon which she bludgeoned him with a cricket bat and dragged the poor man to his own bedroom where they fell asleep.

  • Jacob P. Marley

    By the logic used by “Rachel,” coupled with StudLife, in this article it is clear to me that:

    If I get blackout drunk of my own accord and wake up near the zoo, and days later my friend tells me that I wrestled an alligator while blackout drunk and kickboxed a kangaroo, then I ought to adopt the identity of a reptile-wrestling, marsupial-boxer JUST BECAUSE MY FRIEND TOLD ME SO WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE OR KNOWLEDGE OF THE NIGHT IN QUESTION, WHATSOEVER. Because, clearly, friends who were not even there and did not witness anything are perfectly knowledgeable and not at all speculating.

    This article does a disgusting injustice to women who are ACTUAL victims of rape.

    –JM

    • anonymous

      After you wake up from the zoo fighting animals, does it take an emotional toll on you, even years after like it did to ‘Rachel’? Didn’t think so.

      • Caleb Posner

        But accepting your line of reasoning, any sex whereafter either party feels the least bit of regret is rape. Consider what that would suggest in practical terms. If a couple breaks up and one party is angry, the consensual sex they had while together is now rape. Or if a pair of individuals have sex, and one of those two found the experience less satisfying than anticipated and that persons feels they could have better spent their time, that consensual sex was now rape.

        That she feels regret down the road does not render her supposed partner a rapist. Mind you, in context of this story, there is no actual evidence that she had sex.

      • Jacob P. Marley

        Well considering she was quite fine until her friend convinced her otherwise I don’t think there’s much of a difference. However once I learned of my alligator wrestling and kangaroo boxing, I made sure to amputate a leg, put appropriate cuts in, give myself a few broken ribs, one black eye, and a burst spleen because I wanted to add a little authenticity to what my friend told me happened.

  • anonymous

    maybe the root problem in this particular situation is alcohol. Perhaps our society should view consumption of alcohol in a different light. Maybe if we made drinking soda or even chilled water as cool as drinking alcohol we wouldn’t have these situations or at least to a lesser extent. Doesn’t make it right for someone to abuse someone who is drunk but still.

  • Another Alum.

    Regardless of whether people really know/believe they’ve been raped, it’s kind of a misnomer to allow them to call it rape without it having gone through the legal system. Rape, at least in context of how it is partly used here, is by definition an unlawful act. If I’m not mistaken, criminalization of an act requires an actual judicial holding. Innocent until proven guilty?

    As for this article (and the topic in general), there seems to be a whole lot of encouragement to speak to loved ones, get some therapy, and learn preventative measures – but not enough emphasis on reporting to officers and pursuing legal action. The law seems unsatisfactory for all parties. On the one hand, the law isn’t accommodating enough for the “ambiguous” nature of acquaintance rape; on the other hand, automatically deeming intoxicated sex as rape seems antiquated. An effective and historically proven method of enacting change and updating old laws? Draw attention to and invoke public outrage about how legal outcomes do not adequately address current norms and values.

    Also, statistics about “unreported rapes”? Does anyone have more detail about these surveys are conducted / what kinds of questions are asked?

    • Another Rachel

      Are you saying it’s not rape until its proven by law to be rape? What about murder – is it not murder unless it is proven, or until it goes through court? Additionally, “innocent until proven guilty” is directed at the individual who is charged or said to have committed the crime, while this is a matter of whether the act was done at all. If the evidence — evidence that is most often not gathered because women don’t even bother approach the legal process due to a number of reasons, including shame, stigma, emotional scarring, and the judgment of people like you– says that the woman was raped, then it happened, even if the individual charged isn’t proven guilty; the verdict matters in terms of the perpetrator but not the act itself.

      So many things about the comments on this article sicken and upset me; one is the number of alumni and attorney alums who are so entangled in the details and technicalities of the legality that they miss the point and the heart of it. There is a reason women (and men) do not follow the route of the law in reporting rape, and you are only adding to that reason.

      Using the law as a garb of jargon to hide behind is shameful and tired. Get over yourself and your degree and remove the quotations around the “ambiguous” nature of acquaintance rape, as you so put it.

      • Jacob P. Marley

        “Ambiguous” ???! We cannot even say for sure that she had sex! Maybe the girl got a urinary tract infection from wading around in sewage for a science field trip. If you want to talk “sickening” you should consider the fact that SHE chose to drink. Every choice has a consequence. We do not know if she was forced into having sex. More likely than not, she wasn’t considering she woke up with the guy. Most rapists don’t have the girl spend the night. If her choice to drink leads her to make progressively stupider choices, well that’s just a crying shame.

        I feel bad for victims of actual rapes – of assaults that took place out of any of their control. The ones where the girl (or guy) was dragged, kicking and screaming behind a dumpster and forced into sexual activity at knifepoint. Since civilized culture is one of innocent until proven guilty, we should not be jumping down this guy’s throat until we actually know anything at all save for some girl drank a lot. Until there is even the most remote demonstration otherwise, I feel as bad for “Rachel” as I do for my brother who went to a party last year, chose to drink, and woke up with a nightmarish hangover the next morning. Action->Consequence. If you take the action, the consequence is yours.

        • Um.

          As someone who actually has a vagina and has had both UTIs and sex before, I can assure you that a UTI feels NOTHING like having some sort of painful sex. Also, last time I checked, UTIs don’t leave me in tears for months afterward.

  • Survivor

    I am a Wash U alum, and am both saddened and sickened by this article. If, and I say it with a great amount of skepticism, IF Rachel was, in fact, raped, as she apparently believes she was, then that is a very sad incident.

    Rachel went to a bar, got too drunk, and had sex with someone she didn’t mean to sleep with. It sucks, because when you wake up the next morning and look around and realize “this isn’t my room” and you look over at the guy passed out next you, and you have that “dammit” moment while your head is simultaneously splitting in half due to the seemingly unbelievable amounts of alcohol you consumed the night before, you’re also feeling this swarm of awful emotions- I’m not some girl that goes home and sleeps with people, I feel like such a slut, I hope nobody finds out about this, this is so embarrassing, God I hope I’m not pregnant, how am I going to get home, I hope we were safe… This isn’t something you do, you don’t just get drunk and go home with guys… I know. I’ve been there. It is a truly, awful, (excuse the French) shitty-ass feeling.
    Emotional outbursts, feeling sad or confused is completely normal in situations like that. It sounds “sexist,” so forgive me, but sex is, and always will be, more emotional for women then men. Our brains are wired that way. Attachment and emotion are not the same thing, mind you. Even if we are disgusted by our drunken choice of sexual partner, there are still more emotions, like regret, frustration, sadness, apprehension, and depression that are associated with sex than men have. That doesn’t mean you were raped.

    Rape is a different ball game all together. If you’re raped, even if you don’t want to admit it out loud, or even to yourself, you know it. You don’t question, well was I? It doesn’t take a suggestion from a friend or family member. You just know.

    The article got one thing right- most of the time, women are raped by someone they know. Many times the person that rapes them is someone they love and care about deeply. Someone they trust.

    Rather than touch me with her story, it made my own rape experience feel somehow cheapened. It was with an ex, and it was terrifying and painful and horrible. I still have not talked about it to anyone to this day. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this way. Grappling with the feelings associated with a drunken mistake is nothing compared to dealing with the emotions you have to confront when you’re raped. As a one night stand veteran, I can tell you that there is a stark difference.

    It is awful that Rachel felt the way she did after her bad experience. Everyone deals with that situation differently. But she was not raped. She did something she regrets, and yes, it sucks, but please, StudLife, don’t call this something it wasn’t. It makes those of us real rape survivors feel more isolated than ever.

  • Dylan Suher

    Cel:

    Do you really believe that everyone who is drugged and raped reports it? Why would they when there are always good folks like you to come and disparage them and try to poke holes in their account? Additionally, you referred to one single British study to make a point about the general situation in America. But that sort of blackout that she describes, and those sort of “hazy memory,” is very, very suggestive of date rape drugs and not alcohol. Even if it was alcohol, would you sleep with a woman who was that drunk? Would you feel absolutely positive that she had the capacity to consent? As far as your odd point that “Rachel” could say who did it, she did not file a complaint and it is completely impossible to find the accused through the account provided.

    But it’s a waste of time arguing over the fine points, since you are clearly determine to blame the woman no matter what the situation may or may not have been. I’d rather focus on that last point of yours, that she “wasn’t too upset.” I notice that you do not have the surety to say, right out, that she wasn’t upset. More likely, you know that’s ridiculous to say. But after reading that woman detail her pain and suffering, physical and mental, I have to wonder, what kind of man are you, that you so readily can dismiss another human being who, for no other reason than to educate, has poured out her heart to you. Do you have women you love? Sisters, mothers, friends, girlfriends? If they told you that very same account, would you still be so unmoved?

    • Anonymous

      >Why would they when there are always good folks like you to come and disparage them and try to poke holes in their account?

      Yeah, that’s so awful. Imagine trying to actually find out if a crime took place before you hang the evil rapist, what nonsense!

      >But that sort of blackout that she describes, and those sort of “hazy memory,” is very, very suggestive of date rape drugs and not alcohol.

      If I drink a decent amount I can’t remember a thing I did, absolutely nothing. If I just get tipsy I can remember bits and pieces. I imagine I’m worse than the average person, and this is only anecdotal, but claiming that hazy memory is an indicator of drugs is stupid.

      >Even if it was alcohol, would you sleep with a woman who was that drunk? Would you feel absolutely positive that she had the capacity to consent?

      What about the male’s capacity to consent? Are you telling me you think that a college-aged male at a party was 100% sober? Why is inebriation only relevant for the woman?

      >you are clearly determine to blame the woman

      Nobody is blaming women for getting raped, stop strawmanning. He is saying that she wasn’t raped, not that she deserved to get raped.

      >I’d rather focus on that last point of yours, that she “wasn’t too upset.” I notice that you do not have the surety to say, right out, that she wasn’t upset. More likely, you know that’s ridiculous to say

      Well, yeah, it’s false, that’s why he didn’t say it. It’s false that she wasn’t at all upset, but true that she wasn’t hugely upset. You’re poking holes in what he said because he was being reasonable?

      >But after reading that woman detail her pain and suffering, physical and mental, I have to wonder, what kind of man are you, that you so readily can dismiss another human being who, for no other reason than to educate, has poured out her heart to you.

      “Like most rape survivors, Rachel didn’t think to classify her assault until a month later when she told her best friend from home what had happened. Her friend responded by saying that her encounter was an instance of rape.

      “I said ‘no, I had drunk sex,’” Rachel said.

      Rachel subsequently researched date rape and discovered that her story was more than just a case of regretful, drunk sex. ”

      “no, [I wasn't raped,] I had drunk sex”

      Yeah, she sure sounds like she’s barely hanging onto her sanity. She did something stupid and regretted it. That happens to everybody all the time. The other day I tried to go down off a ~1.5′ step on my bike, screwed it up, and smashed into the concrete. It was rather painful. But should I be busy blaming the maker of the step or the people who own it (for not putting up warning signs), or should I admit that maybe it was my own stupid fault that I got hurt? I’m thinking the latter. Sure, I regret doing it, and it was unpleasant, and still is (grazed kness/arm, bruises), but I have to suffer that because of something that I chose to do, it’s my fault alone. Likewise, Rachel chose to go to a party and drink, then presumably chose to have sex (we can’t know for sure but she was at least conscious), and regrets it. There is no evidence that she was raped.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry, is it really THAT HARD to not rape women?

  • Cel

    Dylan, it is quite unlikely any drugs were involved, let alone Rohypnol.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6152646.stm

    “Of 120 cases from November 2004 to October 2005, it said 12 were suspected drug-assisted assaults – but none was linked to the date-rape drug Rohypnol. ”

    As for your disparagement of critical thinking, unfortunately your own is quite lacking.

    “No man is named here, and it would be an almost impossible task to find the man to whom the article refers.”

    All you would need to do is ask her, Rachel, who the man was since she knew him. Does that sound “almost impossible” to you?

    From her story, here are the facts she tells us:

    1. She got drunk.

    2. She woke up in a man’s bed.

    3. She wasn’t too upset, and did not think she was raped, but blamed herself for getting drunk and waking up in a man’s bed. Weeks later, she told her friend about it and her friend said “you got raped.” Then, she decided “oh, it was rape then.”

    Does that sound like rape to you? It doesn’t to the rest of the commenters here.

  • Dylan Suher

    While I ought to know better than to enter the cesspool of internet commenting, I feel that as an alum of Wash U, I could no longer allow the absolute worst members of our community to represent us in the response to this important article. Perry, I want to thank you for having the courage to write this story, and Rachel, I want to thank you for having the courage to allow your story to be told.

    For my fellow alumni, who could not help themselves when the opportunity presented itself to bully a victim, a few points to consider:

    1)If you read the account of her black-out night, it is essentially a textbook account of someone who was dosed with ruhypnol. Do I know that this was certainly the case? No, I do not, although the evidence is very, very strong, but neither did you know whether she was just one of those girls who drank too much (and therefore deserved it). But that didn’t stop you from immediately rushing to judgment.

    2)Unfortunately, I am all too accustomed too the poor logic and critical thinking skills of the Wash U student, but the argument as to why a woman in this situation would falsely accuse someone is awfully weak. If it was simply a hook-up or consensual sex, why would she need to “accept responsibility” or “the blame” or that it was “her fault”? Why would it be? How is consensual, protected sex a matter of blame or responsibility? And what does it say about our community if a woman would be so afraid of being tarred by the community as a slut that she would rather accuse someone of rape than admit to consensual sex? I think, rather more likely, a woman would be afraid to accuse because of the attacks of people like you, who manage to come up to the surface, like so many earthworms after a rainstorm, frenzied by the opportunity to slime a woman.

    3)And why the premature defense? No man is named here, and it would be an almost impossible task to find the man to whom the article refers. So this isn’t a case of defending a wrongly accused innocent. Indeed, it is the more pressing ideological task of making sure everyone knows that if a woman is raped, it will always be her fault. If she is drugged, if she is bullied, if she is too drunk, if her skirt is too short — it will always be her fault.

    In conclusion, I notice that very few of you, though you are apparently so sure of your arguments that you are willing to attack a young woman in a public forum, are willing to sign your comments. The irony that the same people who are so wont to complain about “the pussification of the American male” very rarely lack the courage of their convictions to stand by them publicly. For my part, I will proudly sign these comments, because if I have any regrets about my time at college, it is that I was too passively a friend to my sisters, and so often let this bilge float by under my very nose and said nothing.

    -Dylan Suher
    Washington University ’10

    • Anonymous

      >While I ought to know better than to enter the cesspool of internet commenting, I feel that as an alum of Wash U, I could no longer allow the absolute worst members of our community to represent us in the response to this important article.

      Oh, I am so high and mighty, let me grace you mortals with my uninformed opinions.

      >a textbook account of someone who was dosed with ruhypnol. Do I know that this was certainly the case? No, I do not, although the evidence is very, very strong

      To quote wiki;
      Though flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) is often cited as a date rape drug because of its high potency, strong effects and the ability to cause strong amnesia during its duration of action, investigations into its actual use as a date rape drug have contradicted popular belief. According to research conducted by Michael Robertson from the San Diego Medical Examiner’s office and Dr. Mahmoud El Sohly of El Sohly Laboratories, test results indicated that flunitrazepam was only used in around 1% of reported date rapes according to Robertson and 0.33% according to urine lab tests done by El Sohly.

      Do some more googling; I read a study where 40% of the participants thought they’d been drugged, but not a single one had. Can’t be bothered finding it, though I’m sure you can find something similar easily enough.

      You’re trying to force your argument by sounding smart and confident (“very, very strong” – I think not), but the facts do not match your assertions. Especially since her memory loss is more concurrent with alcohol than rohypnol.

      >If it was simply a hook-up or consensual sex, why would she need to “accept responsibility” or “the blame” or that it was “her fault”? Why would it be? How is consensual, protected sex a matter of blame or responsibility

      For two reasons; one, she regretted it (so the consensual etc bit isn’t relevant), and two, she blamed somebody else. Once she decided it had to be somebody’s fault she made it possible for it to be hers.

  • Truth

    Wow Good thing Rachel’s friend was there tell her how she should feel victimized and adopt the identity of rape victim. Think what would have happened if Rachel would have gone on thinking the just made a dumb mistake. She might have gone on and lived a perfectly normal happy life. Oh, the horror.
    It seems like she was fine until everyone told her how bad she should feel for “raped”. And it’s articles like this one that perpetuate the culture of victimization and create victims who then need therapy whereas before they were labeled as rape victims, they were fine.
    Funny how the article didn’t mention whether the guy who “raped” Rachel was drunk. I’m guessing he was. So that means he couldn’t give consent either and Rachel raped him. And if Rachel was blacked out, how does she know that she didn’t ASK that guy to have sex. She brought this on herself. If you are smart enough to get into WashU, you are smart enough to know that alcohol impairs judgment. Anything that results from that impaired judgmnent, is Rachel’s own fault.
    And why does this article presume that women should be completely blameless for what they do when drunk, but men should be held responsible. As a woman, it is very offensive that men are being held to a higher standard and women are being infantilized because apparently we are too stupid to know not to drink ourselves shitfaced.
    Wow. Just wow.
    I feel sorry for the real rape victims out there, who articles like this serve to discredit.

    • Student

      Thank you.

      • Sean

        I agree with all of this, but at the same time girls can be a tease. They don’t want to look too easy so they say No. They want to test how much you desire them so they say No. But they want you, expcet you, to keep asking, keep asking, keep asking until they say Yes. So often, when they say No, they really mean Yes. That’s why there’s confusion. And there’s a big problem when these girls say No and really mean No! Because then nobody takes them seriously.

    • Anonymous

      HOLY CRAP SOMEBODY ISN’T AUTOMATICALLY CONDEMNING THE EVIL MALICIOUS RAPIST OF THE POOR VULNERABLE WOMAN! QUICK, EVERYBODY DOWNVOTE HIM!

      • reddit

        sup reddit

  • Caleb Posner

    I am unclear on how this is news. And, I’m unclear on what place a not too compelling anecdote has in this article.

    But then, I think the entire premise is flawed, in that it hinges upon the “one in four” canard that is false, and promotes a big tent definition of rape.

    My full critique, including links that firmly refute your chosen statistics, which I authorize StudentLife to print IN WHOLE if it sees fit, can be found at:

    http://calebposner.com/2011/04/07/minimizing-tragedy-the-damning-effects-of-false-rape/

    • Anon

      Okay man, one of the blogs you link to on your site claims that a man is more likely to be accused of rape if the woman is ovulating. Do you really expect anyone to take that – or anything else the blog says – seriously?

      Here: http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-to-avoid-false-rape-charge.html

      • Caleb Posner

        Since much of what the blog does is link to other news sources and then make reference to similar instances, I do indeed expect people to take them seriously.

        • Jacob P. Marley

          Mr. Posner makes a point that Student Life ought to learn from. Citations to articles and other sources actually DOES lend credibility to writing as opposed to an interview with a girl who has a drinking problem speaking to the events that occurred while her self, for all we know, could have been streaking across the quad. It’s uncanny how far just a tad of research, with a dash of credible references can go!
          –JM

        • Anon

          The article in question links to zero sources, news or otherwise. I call crazy.

          • Jacob P. Marley

            You can call crazy, but while you’re going about that, perhaps you should actually look at the article and look at the webpage for the False Rape Society. Had you actually opened it (as you implicitly claim you did), you might have noticed the link called “Informative Sources.” If you missed it, here’s where it leads:

            http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/p/informative-sources.html

            I don’t now how much handholding really needs to be done to steer you toward studies and evidence but would you like someone to come over and read these studies to you? Honestly – as inflammatory as you might think the FRS is and as much as you may question the veracity of their claims, you should really open the link before you say there are no sources since, clearly, there are a great many.
            –JM

  • Eric

    If she didn’t realise she was “raped” until a month later, she wasn’t raped.

  • Conservative voice

    Was she a 21 year old sophomore who was drinking at the bar? Or was she like the countless girls with 2 inch skirts who know exactly what they’re looking for and rely on alcohol as a means to get there and then deny responsibility? While the Myers and Clayton incidents were truly horrific, the multiple incidents of alcohol-induced hookups are largely the responsibility of the girls who ask for it and WUPD which turns a blind eye to the frats while breaking up parties on the 40.

    • Troy

      Wow, this sounds like the kind of shit you hear from the mouths of radical Muslim clerics and other people still living in the dark ages. Women who wear short skirts deserve to get raped? Really? You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Anonymous

        How the hell does
        >was she like the countless girls with 2 inch skirts who know exactly what they’re looking for and rely on alcohol as a means to get there and then deny responsibility

        mean

        >she was wearing a 2 inch skirt so she deserved getting raped
        ??

        He never mentioned her deserving it, idiot. Try cooling your jets for a minute and exercise that basic reading comprehension thing. In his example, the girl didn’t deserve to get raped, she DIDN’T get raped. She dressed slutty, went to a bar and got wasted, had sex, then decided that she was taken advantage of, probably by an equally drunk guy (note I’m talking about his hypothetical, not Rachel, though they may be one and the same). If you have a tendency to have sex while drunk, don’t dress like a woman who typically has sex while drunk does and then go out and get drunk. Because if you do, then you might have sex. See how that works? In that case, it was your own decisions that lead to sex; if you don’t want to have sex, don’t make those decisions.

        Of course, I feel I must add, this doesn’t apply in cases where a person is drugged, even with more alcohol than they thought they were consuming, as they aren’t making the conscious decision to get wasted. It is unethical for a sober person to take advantage of a drunk person, but it is still not rape as the drunk person is giving full consent.

  • Old Grad

    Just curious, but if they are both drunk and have sex, and neither of them are able to give consent, did they just rape each other? How do you identify the at-fault party here?

    • Student

      Amazing.

    • warshu

      the answer to you question lies here:

      Q: If a man speaks in the forest, but no woman is around to hear him, is he still wrong?

      A: YES.

    • Marty Blannerheim

      How the hell do you think they get these “one in four” numbers anyway?

      • Please

        If you look at the methodology you see it’s total nonsense.

  • anonymous

    If the definition of consenting sex requires sobriety as is suggested by some of these comments, I have been date-raped a few too many times. While this may sound callous, I in no way want to undermine the severity of the emotional and physical stress that is a result of rape. I do however have a problem with how many people are discussing this issue.

    What seems to be blatantly ignored is that in the case above and in most others, it is not just the woman who is drunk, many times the man is just as intoxicated or black-out. In these cases, why do we assume that the man should have been the party to abstain from sexually activity. Why is this responsibility so one-sided. We claim to own our own female sexuality and stand against rape in the name of solidarity, yet we are ignoring the conversation that if we are to dress how we want, and behave how we want, then we also have to claim responsibility for our behavior.

    There are of course horrible instances of date-rape, many of which occur between students at Wash U, but this conversation about drunk-sex as date-rape opens the floodgates to a bigger problem. Just because you may wake up the next morning feeling some regret does not entitle you to claim you have been taken advantage of in some way.

    Of course I expect people to have a problem with this response. As a victim of rape I think that I have a different perspective on the issue than many and as a result of my experiences I know how important it is for me to take responsibility for my actions. A few tequila shots too many does not give me any position to claim my night of drunk-sex is date rape.

  • Student

    How can these people in the comments just automatically diminish what she went through?

    “She doesn’t remember consuming enough alcohol to blackout, but she has few memories of the night and and doesn’t know how she became seperated from her friends.” <–possible indicator of being drugged

    "The next day, she woke up naked in a man’s bed—a man whose advances she had rejected the weekend prior." <–This was someone she previously rejected; therefore she did NOT want to have sex with him and he may have been upset about it.

    "She has a hazy recollection of being on her back in his bed and feeling pain in her vaginal region." <– pain implies a lack of consent.

    More information about this story would have been helpful but at least this increases awareness of assault on or near campus which was the original intent.

    • Hmm

      Not to stand on either side of the issue, but rather to clarify a point you made. Pain in the vaginal region does not imply a lack of consent. Pain the the vaginal reason implies sex that lasted a long time (due to both parties being drunk), sex that was potentially rougher than usual (due to both parties being drunk), a lack of lubrication (due to both parties being drunk), or just having a hurting vag after a night of sex. Just sayin’…not a valid indicator

    • KillJoy

      “Increasing awareness” isn’t an excuse to make blatantly false statements.

  • Anonymous

    In response to the comment below:

    It shouldn’t matter. Whether or not the girl gave a physical indication or communicated verbally, alcohol was involved and thus legally she could not give consent. She could have said “yes” and it wouldn’t matter. It seems to me a mistake to fixate on the “stigma” and not what this article is truly trying to communicate- that sexual assault occurs on a wide spectrum, from violent to non violent occurrences, and it is important for both males and females on Washington University’s campus to be aware of the responsibilities they have to one another, even/especially when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The “how could I know” question is precisely what makes this issue so complicated- and awareness of situations like the one described in the article so important.

  • WashUGradAttorney

    Ugh-this article makes me sick. This is a perfect example of the terrible attitude that is perpetuated by women and causes men to be wrongfully labeled and even convicted of rape. I should mention at this point that I am a female myself, a Wash U grad and now attorney.

    If I called every instance of blacking out and having sex with someone that the “victim” would not have had sex with in a sober state, every single one of my friends would have been victims of multiple rapes. This attitude is pathetic. Women should take responsibility for their contribution to the problem. If you don’t want this to happen, don’t drink too much, black out, and impair your judgment. You can’t expect that your friends will be sober enough to stop you, and you can’t expect that the male in the situation will be sober enough to recognize your state of inebriation.

    I would never accuse a male of rape if I was too drunk to know what happened. For all these women know, they pushed it and they wanted it. It is one thing to call such an event rape when it comes after getting actually drugged, but to say that being under the influence of alcohol negates consent is a horrific generality. I would further like to point out that just because “Missouri law clearly stipulate[s] that a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol cannot give consent” does not mean a case will turn on such a provision. Many other factors go into the decision, and many times, there just is not enough evidence to prove there was an actual rape.

    Bottom line-women, you need to (wo)man up and take responsibility for yourself when you go out. Do not put a terrible label like RAPIST on your classmate just because you do not remember why you woke up in a bed naked with him.

    • SamE

      This is a perfect example of the terrible attitude that is perpetuated by women that causes hundreds of men every year to walk away from rapes, uncharged. I hope that you never intend to go into law regarding these types of matters, and I feel sorry for your future clients. Your ignorant view of unwanted sex is disgusting, and just because your friends blackout and purposefully sleep with guys does not mean that this article regards the same situation.

      Get over yourself.

      • Anonymous

        I am male. I go to a party, choose to drink a lot of alcohol, then while drunk, ply a female for sex. Do you think that the woman raped me? If you don’t, then you are a hypocrite.

        • Anonymous

          More accurately, if you don’t agree with the gender-reversed definition of rape posited above, you’re sexist. This article perpetuates a very subtle and dangerous form of sexism that implies that women must be delicate innocent flowers and are thus “raped” if they choose to have sex under the influence of alcohol, whereas men are of course conquesting animals who will stop at nothing to have sex, and are therefore rapists, even if they are similarly or moreso intoxicated.

          I don’t mean to imply whatsoever that lack of consent on the part of either party does not constitute rape; it clearly does. But the not-so-veiled premise of the article, that (potentially) mutually consensual sex under the influence of alcohol is rape is truly damaging. Placing the blame solely on the male only continues to perpetuate the sexist slut/stud dichotomy that is so pervasive and harmful in today’s society.

          • Concerned

            I have found the vast majority of comments on this thread sickening. You can almost hear the four-letter epithets lurking between the lines, and the combative tone is downright corrosive. I would like to thank you, the contributor at 6:52 on 4/7/11, for having one of the few constructive, thought-out contributions. Simply shouting at one another does not accomplish anything for anyone.
            I agree with you that the article is promoting a social view very nearly as insidious as the one it is trying to correct. I also agree that while there is a clear problem with any form of nonconsensual sex–and I do believe that sex under the influence of alcohol is nonconsensual–the word rape is too charged to apply to the situation. I also believe that it is not necessary for there to be a villain in order to have a victim. (Consider if a drunk teen had, rather than had sex, gotten into a car, lost control, and died.) It is quite right that the article focuses on the woman, rather than the man she had sex with: because the problem and the responsibility here lies ultimately not with the man but with society. It is unproductive to castigate a young man who slept with a drunk woman, quite possibly while equally inebriated. However, if we can use this opportunity not only to educate people about the consequences of alcohol, but to try to change our social mores, we will have gained something.
            The real problem here is that the way young adults gain social acceptance and prestige is to dress provocatively and go to parties where they drink and dance with relative strangers. This is the problem we need to address. It is the problem behind regret over unplanned sex, lack of condom use and the attendant teen pregnancy and STD transmission, and, yes, drunk driving. It also bleeds into less tangible problems such as lack of self esteem, tying self-worth to physical beauty, and the tragic truth that many, perhaps most, young adults feel socially isolated. I don’t have the solutions, but I do know that the first step is for society to view this this a serious issue.

  • Brian

    It’s absolutely ridiculous to call Rachel’s case “rape.” Rachel got drunk and had sex. If she doesn’t remember the sequence of events that led to that situation, then that’s her problem. She was irresponsible and was blackout drunk. Obviously there is no way any of us can know the details of this circumstance, but it does not seem like there is any evidence to suggest the man forced his way into sex. This isn’t rape.

    To simply say that when a person is drunk, consent cannot be given is absolutely ridiculous. The person made the decision to get drunk, and whatever happens afterwards is their responsibility. I understand that this must have been a traumatic experience for Rachel, but that was brought about by her own actions.

  • M. Markowitz

    As an attorney and alum of the school, I think more information is needed before the writer may allege rape. The writer of this article failed to interview Rachel’s friends that went with her to the brewery. The writer failed to explain how and why Rachel ended up with the alleged rapist. The writer failed to interview the alleged rapist. As a Washington University student attending the school in the 80′s, when a girl said no, it meant no. Yet, how could I know that a girl did not want sex if she did not say no – or if there was no other physical indication.

    An allegation of rape creates a stigma for both the victim and the accused. Individuals from the Duke Lacrosse team are still in litigation because of the fabrication from one scorned woman. Therefore, before printing articles or making accusations, it is essential to have full investigation of all the facts.

    • anon

      Consent is not the absence of a “no,” it’s the presence of a “yes.” Without a verbal “yes” sex of any kind is not consensual, despite popular opinion that seeking this “yes” may “ruin the mood.”

      • Brian

        yea… it also doesn’t mean it’s rape