Despite what the judge in the Ched Evans case said, drunk consent is not consent


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Despite what the judge in the Ched Evans case said, drunk consent is not consent

My rapist was still a rapist despite the fact I was intoxicated

In an interview with the Sunday Times yesterday, the recently released, proven innocent Ched Evans said: “If she genuinely doesn’t remember it doesn’t mean we raped her. It doesn’t mean she didn’t consent. It just means she doesn’t remember.”

If drunk consent is ever brought into a conversation it’s almost guaranteed to end with an awkward silence. And right now the Ched Evans verdict has made it even more divisive. It’s one of those issues that no one really wants to talk about. It’s murky and messy and blurry.

But it shouldn’t be.

With the Ched Evans case taking over pretty much every media outlet we’ve been faced with stories of the victim’s sobriety, her morals and even her sexual history. We’ve heard Evans call for other young footballers to be wary of sleeping with drunk girls. We’ve even seen the likes of Katie Hopkins, always desperate for that tiny bit more attention, blame the ‘binge drinking culture’ of Britain.

We haven’t really seen anyone question the morality of the footballer who saw it fit to enter a room where his friend was having sex with the girl. No one is willing to acknowledge that, guilty or not becoming involved in the encounter, despite not speaking a word to the girl before or after, then leaving through the fire escape as his mates filmed is just vile. Morally it’s deplorable, but in the eyes of the law Ched Evans is innocent.

And it’s because she was drunk. Being under the influence has meant that this girl’s entire life has been examined and torn apart. She’s even fled to Australia to evade the scrutiny. Intoxication has given the excuse for the victim to be examined for three hours on the stand about her sexual encounters with other men.

She was just 19 when the incident happened, after she was seen crawling along the floor in public too intoxicated to walk. Just as I, aged 18, passed out in bed too intoxicated to be at the party. I was too drunk to remember anything. Which meant I was too drunk to give anyone my consent.

The fact that I woke up to someone I considered a friend raping me does not shine a light on our binge drinking culture, despite what Katie Hopkins would have you believe. Yes, I was unconscious from drinking too much, but the operative word is unconscious. Yes, my rapist was also drunk, but he was still a rapist.

It’s when you look at drunk driving that this whole scenario seems even more ridiculous – you wouldn’t blame binge drinking if someone chose to drive under the influence. You’d ultimately blame the person who made the decision to endanger others.

My behaviour put me in harm’s way, but being drunk does not exonerate the actions of those who took advantage. In my experience you are in no position to give consent when you’re drunk to the point of being unable to walk.

When women are picked apart over and over again because alcohol was involved, the meaning of sober, informed, conscious consent becomes less and less important.

The reality of the outcome of this case is that we’re told girls can’t party as hard as boys because they have a responsibility to protect themselves – not only from being raped, but from being “too drunk to remember what happened”, from being so drunk that they might accuse someone, for being so drunk that the accused might be proven innocent, for being so drunk that a judge can tell millions of people the whole sorry situation is your fault for not remembering.

Because of this case and so many others like it, girls live in fear of drinking too much because society tells us that alcohol excuses rape.