NASHVILLE, December 7, 2013 — As the Christmas season descends upon Nashville, the news media are fascinated with a case that could come from a legal thriller.
Four Vanderbilt football players have been indicted for aggravated rape. Other football players have been named as witnesses. A California lawyer, who is representing one of the players, has been accused by the prosecutor in the case of being “an unindicted co-conspirator.”
The story began in June, when the victim and one of the accused players, who she had been dating, went out to a bar in Nashville. She became so drunk that she passed out.
What happened after that is in dispute. The next day, the woman said she believed nothing had happened; she said that she believed the guy she was dating would not let anything happen to her. But now he and three others are charged with rape.
The players have said they are not guilty. As allegations fly around the case, one salient fact is not in dispute. The woman who is the victim in the case was drunk to the point of unconsciousness on the evening in question.
In October of this year, Emily Yoffe on Slate.com wrote a column that contained obvious advice: For college women, binge drinking is a really bad idea.
She stated the obvious and was immediately pilloried by the radical feminist left.
Yoffee pointed out that when young women get drunk, they make bad decisions and sexual predators can take advantage of them. That is completely true and makes sense to anyone except the followers of an ideology that divorces reason and common sense from reality.
There is nothing wrong with drinking in moderation. There is a lot wrong with being drunk. Being drunk is at best bad behavior. At worst, it can result in death. It can also result in being the victim of a horrible crime.
How bad is this? An internet search for naked drunk girls reveals hundreds, if not thousands, of sites with photos of what appear to be intoxicated and unconscious women being photographed nude and in some instances being sexually abused. Under American law, an unconscious woman cannot give consent to sexual activity. It is by definition rape or sexual assault.
In November, a woman passed out and her husband used their new Play Station 4 to broadcast footage as he stripped her naked and fondled her. Does anyone believe this would have happened if she were sober?
It is just further brutalization to blame the victim for being raped. But this is not about a woman who was raped; this is about millions of young women who must know how to protect themselves. No one deserves to be raped, but people should know how to reduce the odds that it will happen to them.
There is no excuse to ignore behavior that puts people in harm’s way and makes them victims. We tell women, don’t walk in dark areas alone. Don’t walk alone at night in dangerous places. Those tidbits are standard in rape prevention classes. Why is it that very strong warnings about binge drinking are not? Why do feminists react with outrage when the obvious is pointed out? The obvious is that if a woman drinks herself into a stupor, her chances of becoming the victim of some type of sexual assault rise dramatically.
In 2014, the Vanderbilt football players will go to trial. Indications are that they will be tried separately. They will be judged by a jury of their peers, and if convicted of the aggravated rape charges, each will face 15 to 25 years in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Corrections, without the possibility of parole.
While the legal process must work its way out, there is one thing that can be said with absolute certainty: Had that young woman remained sober on that June evening in Nashville, that night would have ended very differently.
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