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News > Feature - Is drunk sex date rape?
Is drunk sex date rape?

Posted 5/2/2011   Updated 4/29/2011 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. William Banton
1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

5/2/2011 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Two young adults meet, get drunk and have sex.

What are the ramifications of alcohol and sex? When does inebriated sex become rape?

Brett Sokolow, a lawyer and founder of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, discussed these questions and more during an interactive jury exercise here April 21.
"I got involved in this because there are women in my life who are survivors (of rape), and I think it's important for men to have a family person's perspective," Mr. Sokolow said.

The program, which was sponsored by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program officials, discusses incapacity and blackouts caused by alcohol to help dispel myths about alcohol, sex and rape.

Mr. Sokolow, who has presented this program at more than 1,900 colleges, high schools and military institutions, said he engages the audience by presenting them with a realistic account of date rape.

"We looked at it from the perspective of 'Lets clear up what the differences are (between sex and rape),'" said Janet Morrison, the Hurlburt Field sexual assault response coordinator.

The audience is placed in the position of a jury at a trial. Mr. Sokolow, taking care to not put blame on either the victim or the defendant, instructed the jury to listen to both sides of the events before voting on the innocence or guilt of the defendant.

As the events unfolded, the jury found out that Amy arrived at a party with her friends where she met and became flirtatious with Todd.

As the night continued, Todd chose to stop drinking. However, Amy continued to ask for more alcohol; Todd served Amy up to five gelatin shooters of higher-than-normal alcohol content, which as a professional bartender, he was asked to help prepare.

Amy initiated the first sexual advances. Though Todd knew Amy was drunk, at the time they started having sexual intercourse, Todd thought Amy was capable of giving consent.

The next day, Amy awoke without recollection of the majority of the night's events. She found a note from Todd, whom she doesn't remember meeting, with his name and phone number telling her that he had a good time and would like to see her again.

After hours of coping with what happened, and encouragement from a friend, Amy decided to go to the police.

Amy may have never truly recovered. At the time of her assault, she was a virgin. According to Mr. Sokolow, Amy wasn't waiting until marriage, though she was waiting to meet someone special before she had sex.

The above information is just a brief explanation of the scenario that Mr. Sokolow presented to the audience; the exercise spends more than an hour discussing every detail of the night's events while Mr. Sokolow openly answers any questions they have.

When asked to vote, the mock jury split their decision exactly in half.

After the vote, Mr. Sokolow held open discussions for people to talk about their concerns about the case.

The majority of the concerns were regarding Todd's intentions. People wanted to know what kind of sexual predator leaves their name and number after plotting to rape someone. They also questioned the fault of Amy in the situation because Todd never forced her to get drunk.

The actual jury convicted Todd of sexual assault. They were convinced that Todd was responsible for preparing and providing the alcohol that caused the blackout and that he knew she was drunk and had questionable judgment.

For Mr. Sokolow, the point of the exercise isn't the conviction but to allow people to think.

"One night for you could be a lifetime of pain for someone else," Mr. Sokolow said.

Mrs. Morrison echoed those sentiments.

"We are not going say don't go out and have a good time," she said. "Drink responsibly, and know what the difference is (between drunk sex and rape) so you don't end up in trouble."

(Editor's note: The case involving Amy and Todd is based on a true story, and the names have been changed to protect their identity.)

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