Oh, wow. I’ve been reading a disturbing number of stories recently (and reported on one) about law enforcement failing to understand what constitutes consent any better than the average rape apologist. In that sad context, this is kind of exciting.
It’s a complicated case in which a kid invited some other kids to his parents’ cabin for a party, then the party mushroomed with uninvited guests, and somebody obviously spiked some alcohol with something [ETA: apparently, they were served an energy drink that, in its normal state, makes it frighteningly easy to get dangerously high levels of alcohol in one's system without realizing it], because twelve people, eleven of them female, wound up in the hospital from overdoses. It won’t be easy to sort this out, because the witnesses and victims don’t even know precisely what happened. For example, authorities came across a young man sexually assaulting a semi-conscious young woman, but later found out she was his girlfriend, and she ended up in the hospital from the spiked drinks, and they’re still trying to sort out what happened there. Not surprisingly, CNN refers to it as sex:
One man at the party was taken into custody when an officer entered a room of the home and found him having sex with a semi-conscious young woman, Ferguson said. Police later found the woman was the young man’s girlfriend. Ferguson said she showed signs of having ingested a spiked drink and was treated and released at a hospital. The young man was detained and questioned but not booked, police said Saturday, but the investigation into the incident was ongoing.
But – and this is where I got excited:
“Whatever occurred up there wasn’t consensual,” Ferguson told CNN on Saturday.
YES. THANK YOU. Because when someone’s blitzed out of his or her mind, and someone else commits a sex act with his or her unconscious or semi-conscious body, consent isn’t possible. It is assault, pure and simple. And this police chief gets it.