College on campus sex

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Yoffe recommended that campus rape cases ought to be handled by police and prosecutors, and that schools could do their part by attempting to reduce binge drinking.I don’t view the issue exactly the same way, but I do think that certain university policies around drinking and sex do a disservice to students by redefining the sexual assault of women to include “sex while drunk,” and creating a double standard for men.It’s politically expedient to claim that there’s a clear line between consensual sex and rape, but the truth is that in cases where a victim’s intoxication is the sole indication that an assault has occurred, the distinction is hard to draw.I’m not talking about “gray rape,” the term Laura Sessions Stepp weirdly coined in in 2007 to refer to incidents that are clearly rape but that victims refuse to label as such out of shame, self-blame, or coercion.That’s taking advantage of a situation in a way that I would argue as being rape.

But there is an ambiguous middle ground between clear-eyed sober and passed-out drunk where one or both parties may become too intoxicated to meaningfully consent to sex, and schools have now been tasked with discerning that line for themselves.In doing so, they’ve been forced to confront a host of philosophical, moral, physiological, and practical questions—none of which have easy answers.Last year, my colleague Emily Yoffe recounted the Occidental case in a piece arguing that college sexual assault disciplinary processes infringe on the civil rights of men.When I asked a dozen college students around the country to draw their own lines between drunken sex and sexual assault, I got 12 different answers.One male senior at Florida State University told me, “The only absolute line should be if the victim is completely unresponsive”; a female senior at FSU said, “The level should be at totally sober.” A woman at the University of Chicago said that “any level of intoxication where someone won’t remember their decisions is a clear-cut criminal act” while a male FSU student countered that “I don’t think it’s OK for the drunken male to be threatened with charges if, during the moment, she reciprocated the action.” A female senior at Grinnell College told me that it’s better for both parties to be equally intoxicated: “I think that both people should be at the same level of (un)drunkenness for things to be OK—if you’re tipsy, then I should be tipsy; if you’re sober, then I should definitely not be drunk.” A male senior at FSU agreed, saying, “If one person is drunk and the other is sober, that is not OK.

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