It seems to criminalize most sexual encounters that most people have ever had, which (I hear) don’t usually involve multistep verbal contracts. It appears designed to be unequally applied to men and women or, alternatively, to create a lot of cases of “mutual rape.” And it doesn’t fix the actual thing that makes rape hard to prosecute, or stop, which is that there are often only two witnesses who know whether or not the sex was consensual, one of whom was often intoxicated.
A reader counters Freddie’s comments:
What bothers me is the twin rules that if a woman knowingly has any alcohol at all, a man cannot have sex with her without fear of being charged with rape, but while a woman’s ability to make decisions is degraded by alcohol, a man’s is never legally degraded.
Obviously if she was tricked into drinking alcohol or if she is so drunk that her speech is slurred or has lost her motor skills, let alone unconscious, she isn’t in a position to say no. But that is different from willingly having a drunk hookup with an equally drunk dude, and the next morning regretting the whole incident, and by the end of the week, with the encouragement of some friends, deciding that the guy should have said no to her willing action so now it’s rape. Makes me glad I’m married and don’t have to deal with the current situations on campus.
Responding to both Freddie and McArdle, Elizabeth Nolan Brown offers a class critique of the high-profile focus on campus rape:
[M]ainstream feminists have taken up the cause of affirmative consent on campus with vigor. It seems to epitomize critics’ charge that these feminists are only concerned with the problems of the privileged and middle-class. Only about one-third of Americans ever earn a college degree. Only about six percent of Americans are currently enrolled in college, and far less on traditional college campuses. Why are the intricacies of consent for this population so much more important than, say, finding funding to test the backlog of rape kits—something that could help catch existing rapists and protect people regardless of their educational attainment (or incapacitation) level?
Tara Culp-Ressler, meanwhile, talked to some college dudes about the White House campaign:
The college students who spoke to ThinkProgress said they welcome the shift away from approaching sexual assault as an issue that individual women need to protect themselves against. Targeting efforts toward men, they said, could eventually encourage more college guys to tell their friends that they shouldn’t take advantage of drunk people.
“Here at college, it means men on campus will set the precedent that sexual assault is not okay — and beyond that, that all of the microaggressions along the spectrum of harm that lead to rape culture are also not okay,” John Damianos, a sexual assault prevention activist at Dartmouth College who has been involved in advising the new White House Task Force, explained. Those microaggressions could range from making a rape joke, to suggesting that a sexual assault victim was “asking for it” because she wore a short skirt to a party, to catcalling a woman on the street.