AlJazeera has an article about Occidental College in Los Angeles and it's problems with serial rapists.
The report is OK, basically reiterating what we know from previous studies - namely that college sexual assaults tend to occur when the woman is very drunk and are carried out by a small number of men who are multiple offenders.
In addition, reporting of these assaults to the college itself doesn't seem to be an ideal solution - they are inexperienced and inefficient at dealing with something that is really a criminal matter that should be dealt with by the police.
The other problem is the solution suggested by one of the activists from the college:
â€œI think the clearest definition of consent would be verbal consent,â€ Heldman said. â€œIt would be affirmative, willing, active, enthusiastic â€˜yes,â€™â€ she said. â€œI think 'Yes means yes'â€¦should be the campaign slogan for consent on college campuses.â€
This idea of "enthusiastic consent" is gaining traction all around the SJW sphere of influence.
And yet it is horribly flawed.
On the surface enthusiastic consent sounds blindingly obvious. Two people flirting with each other decide to simultaneously move it on to the next level and both say "yes, lets do it!"
What could possible go wrong.
Yes, means yes, doesn't it?
Enthusiastic consent was given. No need to worry, right?
Let's put aside some side issues (regarding exactly what acts the "yes" provided enthusiastic consent for; and whether there is a chance that enthusiastic consent was non-verbally withdrawn at any stage in the subsequent sexual activity) and just imagine a simple situation where they both say "yes" to sexual intercourse, they go ahead and have sex and then fall asleep in the same bed.
In other words a situation that has happened at some point or other to almost every sexually active person.
The problem here, and one that despite the furious protests of the SJW brigade seems common to almost ever case of college rape, is alcohol, and specifically the fact that alcohol can cause blackouts in drinkers.
For me, this notion is important because I used to think that alcoholic blackouts were situations where people passed out due to excessive alcohol. In a college party situation this would result in someone who is obvious incapacitated and incapable of any form of consent (hence the standard image of the predator carrying the unconscious girl to the bedroom where he can rape her.)
But I was wrong.
I learned that alcoholic blackouts do not have to mean incapacitation.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009 November; 6(11): 2783â€“2792. Alcohol-Induced Blackout
Hamin Lee,1 Sungwon Roh,2 and Dai Jin Kim1http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2800062/
An alcoholic blackout is amnesia for the events of any part of a drinking episode without loss of consciousness. It is characterized by memory impairment during intoxication in the relative absence of other skill deficits. It is not to be confused with â€˜passing outâ€™ . Early documentation from Alcoholics Anonymous describes a variety of blackout behavior, especially in the en-bloc type, which includes driving for long distances or carrying on apparently normal conversations at parties. Subjects often report waking in strange places without any memory of how they got there. Criminal acts including murder, have been reported . Although some have criticized these extremes, stating that such behavior is â€œexaggerated and a form of selective memory or denial to avoid guilt and confrontation over antisocial behavior brought on by drinkingâ€ , it nevertheless portrays the selective impairment of memory during an alcohol-induced blackout.
In other words the person who is drinking undergoes a kind of temporary memory impairment. They may be perfectly coherent during the episode in question, yet they are not storing memories of the event as it occurs.
In such a situation the person may very well give enthusiastic consent at the time and yet still wake up in the morning with no recollection of having done so - and realize that the person in the bed next to them has had sex with them the previous night.
This is a very difficult grey area for the simple reason that, in the absense of witnesses, it is difficult to know whether the situation involved an incapacitated person being raped, or, alternatively, an enthusiastic sexual partner who has had an alcoholic blackout and thus cannot remember giving consent.
As for who is more likely to suffer such blackouts, the paper suggests the following:
4.1. Risk Factors
Although a high blood alcohol concentration is required to induce a blackout, many drinkers reminisce that they have drank much more and not had a blackout . A rapid rate of increase in blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is most consistently associated with the occurrence of an alcoholic blackout [7,23,24]. Therefore, gulping drinks, drinking on an empty stomach, or drinking liquor (opposed to beer) are risk factors of an alcoholic blackout .
In other words it is not the amount of alcohol that is necessarily the precipitating event, it is the fact that there was a very rapid increase in alcohol levels in the blood. So instead of slow steady drinking (such as that done by experienced drinkers), it is rapid drinking (for example the kind done by young an inexperienced drinkers who do not know their limits) that is more likely to cause the kind of memory impairment that we are talking about here.
And where are we likely to find a high concentration of people who do not know their limits?
I'd suggest that a college party with a lot of freshers, or a teenage party at a friends house would be just the place, and coincidentally just the types of situations where these kind of rape accusations occur.
So, are we talking about serial rapists preying on drunk women?
Or are we talking about mistaken assumptions of rape due to alcoholic blackouts?
I'd say we are talking about both, the proportions of which remain to be determined.