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Posted by on Dec 19, 2012 in Ethics | 48 comments

Unable to Consent

 

Apologies in advance for this DramaPost, but hopefully I can offer something substantial while I’m at it. Leeeeeroooooooy…

 

“Skepchick” Rebecca Watson has a new “I can’t believe they said that!” post up. It concerns Twitter responses to her statement that:

My post is in three parts. The first will state my agreement with this statement (based on a charitable reading), and why it is that I agree. The second will offer a more charitable reading of the responses Watson received. The third will consider some philosophical and ethical implications of this view, and some of the questions it raises.

 

The Rape Predicate

Watson’s view is that if someone is drunk then they are unable to consent. This raises an important question. What level of intoxication is sufficient for ‘drunkenness’? I take it that ‘drunkenness’ must entail an inability to consent, that is to say that if someone is able to consent then they are not ‘drunk’ in the sense Watson is talking about. If we didn’t grant this then Watson’s statement would be self-contradictory, so in order to read her charitably then we must take this to be what she means by ‘drunk’.

The important part of Watson’s statement is what I will call the ‘rape predicate'; that at least one person is unable to consent to sex. If rape is sexual activity without consent, then it follows that sexual activity between two people where at least one person is unable to consent is an act of rape. After all, if one is unable to consent then it isn’t possible that they could have consented! So Watson’s statement (given the charitable interpretation above) seems to follow logically from the definition of rape.

So we now have an argument for Watson’s view, and one that I think is sound. Remember that this blog promotes an open and civil discussion, so feel free to disagree with me and say why.

 

Rapists on Twitter?

Now for the drama. Watson was asked questions on Twitter about her opinion, all of which I think are based on a less charitable reading than mine. They all seem to take ‘drunk’ to mean ‘has some level of alcohol intoxication’. That is an easy enough misunderstanding – I often say I’m feeling ‘drunk’ when I have had a couple of pints and feel slightly ‘off’. I am still fully able to consent. It is very wrong, in my opinion to imply that they are ‘sad to hear they might be rapists’, as the post’s title implies, when it is far more likely that they have interpreted the word ‘drunk’ such that it doesn’t entail the all-important rape predicate.

As far as blocking all the people who replied to her goes, I would advise Watson that if she doesn’t like having her opinions questioned and doesn’t want to clarify her statements then (please excuse the ad hominem) she should argue her case a little better and make her meaning clearer. I’d also like to point out a more ethical way of using private Facebook posts for illustrative purposes. A couple of the tweets quoted by Watson are ridiculous, and therefore they are unworthy of being quoted or discussed here.

 

Legitimate Questions

Talking about rape is a very dangerous activity, and by doing so one runs the risk of having their words taken out of context or their meaning twisted. Why someone would want to do this is beyond me; rape is a very serious crime and warrants a full and frank discussion. It is immoral to use such a serious subject to try to ‘score points’ against those you don’t like.

I have agreed with Watson that sex with someone who is drunk and unable to consent counts as rape. I do think that this gives rise to legitimate philosophical questions. For instance, let’s assume that one person is unable to consent as a result of drinking too much. Now assume that the other person is in the same state. It seems to me that given that both people are unable to consent, sex between them is impossible. After all, who would be the First Mover, unless they operate as mere automata? However if somehow sex does take place, would this not imply that at least one of them is able to consent, and, ex hypothesi both people are able to consent? On either of these possibilities, the question quoted by Watson “What if you are also drunk? Did they rape you as well?” could be answered ‘no’, since it is necessarily false that if sex took place then both people were unable to consent.

Jeremy Stangroom asks an interesting question in the Huffington Post Blog: Is it wrong to have sex with someone who unable to consent if they have previously stated that in the situation that they are too intoxicated to consent, they give their consent? Stangroom’s answer illuminates one of the issues raised by Watson’s statement:

Aeneas has what might be called an epistemic problem. He doesn’t know Dido well enough to be able to make a confident judgement about whether or not her intoxicated consent reflects her established interests, desires and beliefs. So a cautionary principle should hold sway. If you can’t be sure that you won’t merely be taking advantage of a person in a vulnerable moment if you have sex with them, then you shouldn’t have sex with them.

While the granting of consent might be seen as an illocutionary act (and therefore it might seem that there is nothing to worry about), there are still the other considerations that Stangroom notes, which does give cause for concern. In Watson’s case, the ‘epistemic problem’ is a little more cut and dry, as there is no such illocutionary act. If we aren’t sure that someone is able to consent given how much they’ve consumed then I think we should err on the side of caution. The undesirable outcome is so much worse than the desirable outcome is good.

 

Comment policy: I mentioned before that this is a touchy subject, so please stick to the issues and keep it civil!

  • CommanderTuvok

    I think you’re rather generous towards Watson here. I think it is obvious her subsequent post on the matter is simply revenge at Ed Clint because she was severely butthurt over his takedown of her evo-psych talk.

    It is interesting how she changed her terminology from “drunk” to “blotto” in an attempt to save herself from the hole in her argument. She realises that most people would be guilty of rape is sex occured while one person was “drunk”, because “drunk” can mean to be a bit tipsy. Indeed, UK doctors class “binge drinking” as having more than a couple of pints.

    Rather like there views on racism, where PZ recently accepted that he himself is racist by their own logical constructs concocted between the Pharyngulites and various other FTB blogs, it now seems that most of them, by Watson’s rather ambigious definition of rape, can be considered rapists as well, since by the law of averages most of them will have had sex while alcohol is in their system. You can easily argue that you can’t give “informed consent” when you have even a small amount of alcohol in your system.

    Further, going on the copious amounts of alcohol consumed by “some” individuals at skeptic conferences, you could argue that if sex occured, then rape occured. I can think of one individual in particular who would fall into this bracket – and it is deliciously ironic!!!

  • http://www.skepticink.com/notung Notung

    Well, generous in the sense that I’m clarifying her statement such that it actually makes sense, and providing an argument for it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that she meant it like that, but that doesn’t matter – I’m more interested in discussing a good idea than a bad one.

    However, I agree that ‘drunk’ is difficult to define – and that’s why she should have been clearer, rather than attacking everyone who asked questions. Clearly they define ‘drunk’ differently to her, and she should have considered that. Still, my post isn’t a “I can’t believe she said that!” post. I’m more interested in the idea of intoxication and consent.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oliver-Crangle/100003079637271 Oliver Crangle

    Well this is all part of the “gray rape” discussions that took place several years ago. There’s nothing really new about Watson’s tweet.

    The various objections include:

    + you can’t get out of a drunk driving charge by saying you were too drunk to be driving!

    + what if both people were too drunk

    + what if the woman said she had been raped because she had no recollection of consenting and says she would never have consented but admits she was drunk, and the man says, no, she consented, she just forgot it, or is having buyer’s remorse.

    What it basically comes down to in feminist land is a privileged position for women in society because penetration is perceived as active and getting fucked is seen as passive. Even the language makes it difficult to express getting fucked as an active act, though some rape laws now discuss envelopment.

    Hey, that privileged position could in fact be reasonable, the galling part is the feminists will never admit there is a privileged position due to language or culture and somehow make claims that no, this is just some form of biological reality and not a gendered or social construction.

    Remember, many feminists used to, many still do, many people in culture, believe that men cannot be raped.

    A women’s body will shut down during rape so she cannot get pregnant. A man cannot get a hardon against his will. Women do not fantasize about rape. Women do not get wet during a rape. Rape is all about power. Rape is not about sex. Porn aggravates rape.

    So because of the various cultural myths and the privileged position, a woman who is drunk is raped even if the man is equally drunk during the act. A woman that is said to have given consent is raped if the next morning she has no memory of the consent, even if the man said she has consented.

    But for Rebecca and any other good feminist, if they share a glass of wine or two or three and have sex with a partner also having alcohol or drugs, it is never rape because they are enlightened and can never be involved with rape.

    When all else fails, let’s go to the rape checklist.

    https://encyclopediadramatica.se/BitingBeaver/RapeChecklist

    TL;DR; If you are a man, you are a rapist.

    I do wonder why Rebecca chose now to have her tweet.

    There is another related group of feminists and feminists having a shouting match over a very similar topic. That’s the feminist Good Men Project website versus Jill Filipovic and Amanda Marcotte.

    And if you’re not familiar with GMP, they are a website with ties to Ms. Magazine that claims to ask the question, what does it mean to be a good man? Which is to say, their starting position is that men are bad and the writers at GMP (which have included Marcotte and David Futrelle) are there to tell bad men how to be good.

    Earlier this month, they printed a strange article in which one of their women writers told of a male friend of hers that had been accused of rape

    http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/nice-guys-commit-rape-too/

    There is a couple of ways to read that article.

    One way is the author, Royse is apologizing for a rapist. The other is that the author, Royse, has a point when she writes that society sends men and women various mixed messages about their behaviors that can contribute to these various gray rape / date rape scenarios.

    None of this is terribly new either.

    Related: Am I the only person that remembers Uhura and Sulu in Mirror Mirror and remember there was a time not that long ago when No meant Come Back or Try Harder? But I digress, because of course, Baby It’s Cold Outside is one of the world’s worse rape songs.

    Anyway, since Royse wrote her article, GMP has been under fire from many other Internet Feminists.

    I think the latest post is here:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/12/18/why-progressive-mens-movements-are-bound-to-fail/

    And there are links in between that you can find if you want to travel between the GMP first post and the last post.

    Like all Internet Feuds, and so many involving A+ Septic Feminists, it’s one group of people that used to gladly badger and harass and name call everyone else, splintering.

    So a pox on everyone’s house.

    FWIW, that last link, is precious and beautiful Marcotte special logic all on its own

    Oh well, thank you for giving me a place to write this down, if you know what’s good for you, you will ignore the links, because it’s just the same old same old Internet Drama.

  • An Ardent Skeptic

    I’ve never been drunk, therefore, I have never been even remotely close to “blotto”. But, I’ve spent a lot of time in bars with an unnamed associate who regularly gets stinking drunk. This associate, before getting married, was also an incredible flirt (she still is a flirt although age has slowed her down a bit). She would pick out a man in a bar and spend hours flirting and drinking to the point of stinking drunk. Often times, she would have sex with him. I don’t think she ever regretted it, although I’m not sure if she always remembered that she had had sex. (I was there just in case she didn’t leave with someone else, and needed a ride to her home.)

    So, what exactly is consent, and when is consent given? Was my associate consenting to sex by expressing interest in the man for the entire time that drinking was transpiring? She would touch him and allow him to touch her long before reaching the stinking stage. She would say flattering things and seem completely engrossed in every word that popped out of his mouth long before reaching the stinking stage. Is there any reason why the man should or could have known that she wasn’t consenting to sex when she was stinking drunk, based on her behavior throughout the process of reaching stinking drunk?

    Just asking. Sorry!

  • Jeff Hansen

    So… as a male that has been taken advantage of when drunk a few times, am I now a serial rape victim? Or does my gender render me an an un-person under their ideology & exempt me from victim status?

  • Dick Strawkins

    I think it is a mistake to equate Jeremy Stangrooms carefully thought-out post with Rebeccas rather ambiguous tweets. Stangroom presented one scenario involving people who did not know each other well at that point. His conclusion is not that it is wrong to have sex with someone who is drunk yet who has given consent before the alcohol has had its effect, but, essentially, that it is wrong to do so unless you know them well.

    Following Stangrooms argument, it should be OK to have sex with someone who is ‘blotto’ (using Rebeccas word), in particular scenarios – for example partners in a long term relationship where they are accustomed to having sexual relations in various stages of inebriation.

    Remember, I am not even arguing the point about levels of drunkenness here. I quite agree that having sex with someone you don’t know well and who is “blotto” is wrong – and could be considered rape in some circumstances.

    The question the two views (Watsons and Stangrooms) raise in my mind is that of responsible communication about complex subjects.
    It should be incumbent upon those who are given a privileged platform in the skeptical community to think carefully about what they say on these subjects. Rape is a serious crime and rape victims deserve better than, accidentally or not, getting compared to individuals who occasionally choose to have sex with their long term partners while under the influence of alcohol.

  • http://www.skepticink.com/notung Notung

    Oh I certainly didn’t mean to equate the two. One is a philosophical thought experiment with explanation and argument, and the other is an assertion on Twitter. I used Stangroom’s article as an example of a legitimate question on this subject.

  • http://twitter.com/iamcuriousblue iamcuriousblue

    The level of intoxication is an absolutely critical distinction to make. Somebody who is *seriously* fucked up, and might be either borderline passed out, or not able to remember what they were doing later is obviously in no condition to give consent. The only exception to this would be people who know each other and specifically have given consent in advance to have sex when that fucked-up.

    But somebody who’s just a bit tipsy and uninhibited. Sorry, but, no, not rape, even if the disinhibition they feel in that state leads them to consent to sex they wouldn’t have otherwise consented to when stone cold sober. The critical distinction is that in this state, they still can give a clear yes or no and not just be too messed-up to resist.

    Likewise for other kinds of drug intoxication – marijuana, XTC, etc. In fact, many people take X with the specific intention of getting sexual or at least touchy-feely while on it.

    I wonder if Rebecca Watson would agree or not that you can consent under the influence of caffeine. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/iamcuriousblue iamcuriousblue

    Also, looks like another drama post from Watson, specifically timed so she can throw in “goods” on Ed Clint, since she clearly can’t respond to his critique with anything better than “Well, you’re a rapist!”

    I leave it to Clint to clarify just what he meant, though – he probably have just meant, “yep, I’ve had drunk sex many times, so I guess I’m a ‘rapist’ by her definition”. Versus, “I know I’ve gone after partners too drunk to consent”, which is the way Watson and Co. are spinning it.

  • http://twitter.com/iamcuriousblue iamcuriousblue

    And in fact, it looks like Clint did exactly that:

    http://skepchick.org/2012/12/twitter-users-sad-to-hear-they-may-be-rapists/#comment-161668

    I’m sure Team High School will continue to milk that screen shot for everything they can, though.

  • http://twitter.com/PhilosophyExp Jeremy Stangroom

    “partners in a long term relationship where they are accustomed to having sexual relations in various stages of inebriation.”

    Yes, that is my position. There can be genuine on-going, non-explicit consent (though one needs to be sensitive to the circumstances in which this might have been “suspended” – e.g., if you’ve had a vicious row with your partner).

    I should also say that it’s entirely possible to be in a long-term relationship where genuine on-going non-explicit consent isn’t in place.

  • Dick Strawkins

    Indeed. Although I do wonder whether the one-sided preaching to their own choir is getting so obvious that any neutral reader is going to see through them almost immediately. PZ jumped on that screenshot with all the glee of a Hovind who’s spotted a partial quote from an evolutionist that he can twist in his favor. Of course we shouldn’t expect anything other than: “Aha! He’s a Rapist! Therefore Rebecca was correct about evolutionary psychology!”, from her fans but I am beginning to wonder whether they have simply given up trying to convince anyone else. There’s not even a pretense of even-handedness any more.

  • Copyleft

    I also think Watson left part of her argument unstated–specifically, that it must be the -woman- who is drunk, and therefore the -man- who is the rapist. (Assuming a hetero couple.) A woman sleeping with a drunk man has obviously done nothing wrong in the Watsonverse.

  • Copyleft

    C’mon, Jeff, you know the answer already. You’re male; unless you’re in the role of predator, you’re invisible to them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/axel.blaster Axel Blaster

    This reminds me of a question on the ask Dear Prudence column in Slate: A woman is thinking she may have divorce her husband because they had sex twice while she was drunk.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dear_prudence/2012/07/dear_prudie_is_drunken_sex_with_my_husband_a_form_of_abuse_.html

  • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

    I do wonder why Rebecca chose now to have her tweet.

    Are you kidding? Look at all the attention and traffic it’s gotten her, along with cred as an anti-rape crusader!

  • Ingemar Oseth

    Dear me……. I believe everyone is missing the point.

    I’m told Herr Watson has a degree in Marketing. Even the most cursory examination of her comments dating back to Elevator Gate allows us only one conclusion.

    She is Marketing Herself!

    Marketing herself to garner as much notoriety as possible in order to propel herself to greater heights, more money, and let us not forget the most important motivation — power.

    All in all Herr Watson has done a credible job of this, and may well succeed in transforming her public persona into something Ann Coulter-ish. A strident, bully of a person who will leave no moral stone unturned in her quest for power over the thoughts of others. And it makes no difference that she is ostensibly on the left instead of the right. After all, Stalin and Hitler were essentially mirror images on each side of the political spectrum. As people dedicated to reason and free thought, we must always be wary of power-seekers regardless if their proclaimed views on atheism are not unlike our own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oliver-Crangle/100003079637271 Oliver Crangle

    Sure, but why now, as opposed to a month ago, six months ago, a year ago. As I said, the content of her tweet is nothing new, and the Saga of the Biting Beaver and Salon have carried its water since the early 2000s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oliver-Crangle/100003079637271 Oliver Crangle

    “or not able to remember what they were doing later is obviously in no condition to give consent.”

    I have never blacked out, and the last time I got so drunk I puked was in college and I am not telling you how long ago that was, but it was before Zubaz pants. So I am not an expert on this but….

    Is it really clear at 1am that this person is so intoxicated he/she will not remember what happened by 9am?

    I am not sure there is such a hard distinction between tipsy and drunk, or drunk and black-out drunk.

    I have a real problem (maybe from ignorance) requiring a person to diagnose and predict whether a person is so drunk that they will, 8 – 12 hours from now, not remember what has happened.

    When I was growing up, part of sit-coms were that people could get black out drunk. But then there was a definite period of time when the anti-alcoholic crowd was claiming there was no such thing as black out drunk. I only heard of black out drunk making a comeback during the Salon gray rape articles and from other pro-women-should-be-able-to-be-blackout-drunk-empowerment articles.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oliver-Crangle/100003079637271 Oliver Crangle

    ?ssenneknurd RO ?tnemhsinup fo tros emos ro guB ?sdrawkcab si txet yM

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oliver-Crangle/100003079637271 Oliver Crangle

    My text was backwards there – but nothing I did that I know of – some strange disqus behavior?? Remained backwards until a (very slow) refresh of the page.

    Anyway, I was just going to say something pointless like I go to the wrong bars.

  • Karmakin

    That whole thing involving the GMP has me raging. I’m not really a fan of theirs (don’t care much either way), but it was clear, at least to me from reading that article that Royse is leaps and bounds ahead in terms of understanding these issues than any of her detractors were.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oliver-Crangle/100003079637271 Oliver Crangle

    But of course, that’s typical of most Internet and real life Dramas, and especially true of Feminist and Septic Feminist A+ Dramas.

    Take the actual message and pretend not to understand it, distort it, and amplify that new message and use it to discredit the original source.

    And yes, the GMP deserves all the shit the Septic Fems can dump on them and vice versa.

  • http://twitter.com/iamcuriousblue iamcuriousblue

    As somebody who’s been at varying levels of drunk a number of times, and been around people who are varying levels of drunk while I’m sober, I’d say there’s a very clear difference. True, there’s a lot of degrees of intoxication in between those points, but just because there’s a continuum between the two rather than a bright line does not mean there is not a distinction to be made.

    Most people at a blood alcohol level of 0.10 don’t have the motor skills to drive, but are clearly coherent, conversational, and still able to make decisions. I’ve also seen people who were so drunk that they did not seem to know where they were, and were impaired to the point that they needed a caretaker. Now it’s true that if somebody is drinking rapidly, they can go from tipsy to blind drunk pretty quickly, especially if that person has a low body weight. In many alcoholics, they’ll deliberately go from zero to blind drunk very rapidly.

    In any situation that involves alcohol in sex, one needs to be aware of this possibility, and keep in mind that somebody who was flirtatious and consenting earlier may have drank themselves into a state where they aren’t able to give further consent. But I don’t think any of this is terribly mysterious, or something that a reasonable person can’t gauge with somebody they’re (hopefully) communicating with.

  • http://twitter.com/iamcuriousblue iamcuriousblue

    Well, it depends on what you mean by “taken advantage of”. If it was just a matter of consenting to sex when your inhibitions were loosened, then no, you most certainly weren’t raped. Even if you regret it later, you had the option of not having sex and you’re responsible for your own consent.

    On the other hand, if you were drunk to the point where you were blacked out or forgot most of the situation and woke up with a surprise, then, yes, you could have been raped, at least if you felt violated. Situations like the latter are kind of an odd area – they’re pretty much rape by default, though in many cases, it could end up being sex you might have wanted anyway, and you have the option of defining it as not rape.

    I think most people who are serious about this topic, even ideologue feminists, will acknowledge men can be raped, though the latter will generally treat men as rapists and women as victims if there’s any ambiguity at all.

  • http://twitter.com/iamcuriousblue iamcuriousblue

    “So because of the various cultural myths and the privileged position, a woman who is drunk is raped even if the man is equally drunk during the act. A woman that is said to have given consent is raped if the next morning she has no memory of the consent, even if the man said she has consented.

    I’ve discussed this in other posts, so I won’t repeat myself here, but if somebody is so drunk that they’re blacking out, then they’re simply not capable of *giving* consent. That goes for women, men, and trans people alike, BTW, so it’s not some special burden on men. And if somebody is that messed-up drunk, I really don’t think there’s any ambiguity there – it should be obvious to the other person. In fact, I have to question the judgement of someone who is going after someone else who’s that drunk – that sounds pretty predatory to me, basically, not looking for somebody who’s loose and uninhibited so much as somebody who can be easily overpowered.

    You are clear on what constitutes ethical “good consent”, right?

  • Karmakin

    If one doesn’t understand the actual problem, how in the hell can one ever hope to fix the problem? That’s the worst thing about it. These issues are not political footballs or checker pieces. They are real issues that impact real people and we should work towards fixing them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oliver-Crangle/100003079637271 Oliver Crangle

    “You are clear on what constitutes ethical “good consent”, right?”

    This quote is a bit of a slam, that I think is unnecessary, uncalled for, and worse unjustifiable with a reading of what I wrote.

    “if somebody is so drunk that they’re blacking out, then they’re simply not capable of *giving* consent.

    If by blacking out you mean falling physically unconscious, and unable to consciously respond to external stimuli, or stand, or drive, or consciously move then you’re right, but that is not what is meant by “blackout drunk”, it is not what I wrote, it is not what notung responded to, it is not what Watson tweeted.

    You have misread me, or purposefully misinterpreted what I wrote. Or you are ignorant of the definition. And then you have slammed me for it.

    Shameful. It’s what I would expect from the Septic Fems, not from you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackout_(alcohol-related_amnesia)

    “A blackout is a phenomenon caused by the intake of alcohol or other substance in which long term memory creation is impaired or there is a complete inability to recall the past. Blackouts are frequently described as having effects similar to that of anterograde amnesia, in which the subject cannot create memories after the event that caused amnesia. ‘Blacking out’ is not to be confused with the mutually exclusive act of ‘passing out’, which means loss of consciousness.”

  • http://twitter.com/iamcuriousblue iamcuriousblue

    It’s a bit of slam, but an honest question. From the context of this statement, I’m not sure:

    A woman that is said to have given consent is raped if the next morning she has no memory of the consent, even if the man said she has consented.

    That seems to assume that somebody who’s severely impaired, to the point where they won’t be able to remember their actions later, but is nonetheless conscious is in a state where they’re capable of giving meaningful consent. And that what matters is not that someone gave their consent, but that the other party can claim they got consent. Do you realize how sketchy that sounds? I don’t think one has to buy into the kind of roadblocks to consent the ultra-feminist crowd seems to favor to view the model of consent you’re positing above as pretty sketchy.

    Perhaps you misspoke?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oliver-Crangle/100003079637271 Oliver Crangle

    “t’s a bit of slam, FOR WHICH I APOLOGIZE, but an honest question. From the context of this statement, I’m not sure:”

    Hey, IACB, go fuck yourself.

    When you’re done with that, fuck off.

    And read the literature about blackout drunk which you know shit about, and false accusations, which you know shit about.

    A person says, I cannot remember my actions, but I know I would never have consented. Another person says, we were both drinking, but I do remember what happened, and she definitely consented. Hell, she was eager.

    That’s regrettable, but it’s not a provable case of rape, and it should not be up to the man to have to “take care of”, patronize, condescend, be patriarchal, to the frail woman that cannot take care of herself.

  • http://twitter.com/Eshto Ryan Grant Long

    “he probably have just meant, ‘yep, I’ve had drunk sex many times, so I guess I’m a ‘rapist’ by her definition’.

    I read the post she pulled that quote out of, and yes, that’s exactly how he meant it, and the only way to view it otherwise is to do what Watson has done: isolate that one sentence out of a thread that was, last I checked, almost sixty comments long; remove all context and anything else Ed said to clarify his position (which he did); and view it in the worst possible light.

    She should be ashamed. Her behavior is unacceptable. She owes him a public apology. That’s that.

  • http://twitter.com/Eshto Ryan Grant Long

    I think this is meaningful. It’s pretty clear to me that RW doesn’t actually not understand the messages she claims to take issue with. I think she understands them just fine, and I think so do her fans. They seem to be actively, purposefully *pretending* not to.

  • http://twitter.com/Eshto Ryan Grant Long

    I thought of something I haven’t really seen covered: I am shy and insecure about my looks. Unless I am pretty far into a committed relationship where a lot of trust has been established, I usually *require* being drunk to relax for sex. There are times where I want to have sex but my shyness holds me back, so I intentionally get buzzed to reduce my inhibitions so that I will make a different choice than I would have sober. I consider the choice I would make stone sober to be the clouded one – it’s twisted by dumb hangups and being nervous and shy. Isn’t alcohol frequently used as a social lubricant, in this way and many others?

  • http://twitter.com/iamcuriousblue iamcuriousblue

    You can insult all you want, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s deeply unethical (and, depending in the jurisdiction, illegal) to take advantage of someone in a deeply intoxicated state, such as somebody who’s so drunk that they will not remember what they did later. And this isn’t a man vs woman issue – reverse the genders or have both be the same gender, and the situation is the same. It’s not a matter of women being frail, it’s a matter of extremely intoxicated *people* being vulnerable and not able to give consent.

  • http://twitter.com/iamcuriousblue iamcuriousblue

    But keep in mind that there’s a big difference between being buzzed and disinhibited, vs so drunk you’re borderline passed out. One can give consent at one end of the intoxication spectrum, not at the other.

    It’s not uncommon that people feel they need alcohol to initiate sex, and a lot of college party scenes are built around this. It’s too bad people feel they *need* this to get sexual with each other (as opposed to getting buzzed and/or having sex for it’s own sake), but it’s where a lot of people are at. The problem comes when people overdo it, and don’t exercise due responsibility towards others who have clearly had too much. Or, worst case scenario, some not-so-nice people who are specifically looking for someone who’s overdone it to basically prey on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oliver-Crangle/100003079637271 Oliver Crangle

    I am insulting? Fuck off.

    You still are pretending to have no understanding of what is being said here. Or you do and are just a dishonest fucktard.

    And you still haven’t apologized for your gratuitous slams.

    So fuck off. We’re done.

  • http://www.skepticink.com/notung Notung

    No more personal attacks here please.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oliver-Crangle/100003079637271 Oliver Crangle

    Okay, well, if you haven’t you may wish to pass that response to IACB as well.

    If I come here and respond to a question in good faith, I do not expect the person to repeatedly question my ethics. And when that is pointed out to them, to double down on that personal attack.

  • http://twitter.com/iamcuriousblue iamcuriousblue

    There is no personal attack. I take issue with what you said and am disputing the ethical stance you are outlining here. I’m sorry you’ve chosen to interpret that personally.

    My apologies if “you are aware of what ‘good consent’ is, right?” came off as a personal attack. Actually, I rewrote that sentence several times to sound *less* harsh than I’d originally written it.

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  • Chill Chick

    Exactly! Everything that RW does is calculated to market herself. For her, skepticism was never more than a vehicle for pushing a radfem agenda, which in turn was a vehicle for her real agenda: self-aggrandizement.

    I see her as more Sarah Palin than Ann Coulter. She has no scientific credentials and precious few educational attainments of any kind. She rose without a trace, and her only skill (apart from consuming vast amounts of alcohol) is self-promotion. She embarrasses me as a freethinker, a skeptic and a woman.

  • bluharmony

    Agreed.

  • bluharmony

    I can’t give Watson that charitable reading, and I explain why here: http://www.skepticink.com/skepticallyleft/2012/12/21/what-is-rape/. Further, I’d like to point out that “capacity to consent” typically has a specific legal meaning — for example — in Hawaii, it means “the ability to understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of making decisions concerning one’s person or to communicate such decisions.” You can be extremely drunk and still have that ability. Sex isn’t difficult to understand. You can have that ability while completely wasted.

    At this point the debate becomes about ethics vs. legality, but I don’t think it’s anyone else’s responsibility to know just how drunk I am. Obviously it’s rape if someone knows I don’t have the capacity to consent (and there may be obvious indications to that effect), but if I’m eager and willing to engage in the sexual act, how is someone to know? Moreover, under some legal definitions, my willingness (communication of consent) is the equivalent of consent. That is, I think, as it should be.

    I’ve almost always regretted casual drunk sex. I would have rarely made the same decisions sober. But it wasn’t rape. My rape happened when there was no way I could consent. It was absolutely impossible.

  • http://twitter.com/Rocko2466 Rocko2466

    That is EXACTLY what they do as a habit. I’ve seen them do it with my tweets – you’ll have a fifteen or so tweet exchange from them and they’ll retweet one out of context. It’s disingenuous and … icky.

  • http://twitter.com/Rocko2466 Rocko2466

    Probably drunkenness. But you’re a man so you can push through it. If you’re a woman, you didn’t consent to posting that post and it must be removed immediately. (on FTB logic)

  • http://twitter.com/Rocko2466 Rocko2466

    And if they’re both drunk, the man is the rapist – because you would be held responsible if you’d driven, so you should be held responsible if you sexed (if you’re a man).

  • bluharmony

    When the attention wanes, she tries something new. When a publicity stunt fails, she tries another one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oliver-Crangle/100003079637271 Oliver Crangle

    Yes, but no it wasn’t drunkeness. It may have been weird keystroke that changed somehow to a backward font or a disqus puke, but one second, I need to fill up my vodka, okay then, but anyway, it wasn’t drunkeness. Okay, it was drunkeness.

  • bluharmony

    She has no conscience. None at all.