This is another unusual blog post for me, about rape. Although there is more information available about rape worldwide, it does not stop rape from happening: whether it is the recent rape of a young woman by local high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio, or the gang rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi in December, or the increasing and systematic use of rape as a weapon of war in Bangladesh, in Bosnia, in Rwanda.
You might wonder why I am writing about rape on my blog about sobriety and gratitude. What really caught my eye – and hit me in the gut – was the Steubenville rape, where the rape happened while the high school girl was passed out from too much alcohol. I can remember times when I passed out at a party after too much booze or got a ride home from someone else because I was too drunk to drive.
It seems that we live in a culture where rape is excused, explained, accepted. Yes, men are at risk of being raped, especially if they are gay, but it is women – 1 in 4 – who are most at risk from rape or other forms of abuse. And drinking too much or getting really high makes you more vulnerable, less likely to be vigilant about your safety, more likely to be raped.
When I think of those times when I passed out or took that ride, I know just how dangerous it was. That’s one of the (many) problems with alcohol: loss of judgement. As a sober person, I would not choose to fall asleep on some stranger’s bed at a party or catch a ride with a man I barely knew. No one can give permission to have sex if they are passed out and no one should be forced to have sex without their consent under any circumstances – that is rape. But when I was drunk or high, I was not able to make good decisions. Alcohol and drugs made it impossible for me to protect myself.
My heart goes out to the very many women and some men who are raped the world over, my hope goes out that rape and other forms of abuse will become unacceptable everywhere, and my gratitude goes out that I no longer put myself in such dangerous situations because I am not drinking or using.