Alcohol, Rape, and Bristol Palin

Last week, Ta-Nehisi Coates blogged about the following excerpts from Bristol Palin’s memoir:

Bristol proceeds to down wine cooler after wine cooler, as she “slowly surrendered to their woozy charms.” (Pg. 3) Levi keeps replacing her finished wine coolers with new ones, and soon Bristol hits “that awful wall” that takes her from a “happy buzz” into “the dark abyss of drunkenness.” (Pg. 3) The last thing she remembers is sitting by the fire and laughing with friends, and doesn’t remember waking up in her tent the next morning “with something obviously askew.”

Bristol awakens in her tent, with no recollection of the night before. She looks over and sees Levi’s empty sleeping bag right beside hers, and hears Levi and his friends “outside the tent laughing.” (Pg. 3) Bristol quickly texts her friend to get over to the tent, and she immediately pops over and tells her, “You definitely had sex with Levi.” (Pg. 4)

Coates asks the question, “Isn’t that rape?” In a follow-up post, Coates adds that the implication of nonconsent comes from another quote:

“Suddenly, I wondered why it was called ‘losing your virginity,'” Bristol writes. “Because it felt more like it had been stolen.”

Um … from my reading, the “implication” of nonconsent comes from the fact that she describes being intoxicated to the point where she couldn’t even remember the events of the previous night.

Naturally, the very first comment to Coates’ article accuses Palin of lying. So damn predictable.

I don’t know what happened between Palin and Johnston. But I do know the scenario described here is a common one. Using alcohol to lower a woman’s inhibitions is a frequently-used tactic. It was a freaking punchline in Friends. “Hey, let’s get you another cocktail!”

Let me put this as clearly as I can. If consent is not given freely, then it’s not consent. If you need to get her drunk, it’s not consent. If you need to threaten her, it’s not consent. If you need to slip something into her drink, it’s not consent.

If the other person doesn’t consent? That’s rape.

The situation Bristol Palin describes? That is not consent. And unfortunately, it’s very common.

So if you’re planning to get someone drunk in the hopes of “getting lucky,” you’re not planning to get laid. You’re planning to commit rape.

Any questions?