6 thoughts on “According to this defense lawyer, there is a very low bar for consent.

  1. I see all this discussion about the girl’s drunkenness and mental state, but has there been any discussion at all about whether the boys were drunk? Is it established that they were sober, or at least sober enough to have full memories of the evening and control over themselves? Has there been no discussion at all about their decision-making?

    It’s just so screwed up that all sides are sniping at the issue of whether or not she was able to make decisions and there seems to be nothing at all on what the boys were up to at these parties.

  2. Presumably, whether the person was “nearly passed-out-drunk” is an fact that would be established (or fail to be established) at trial. The way the OP reads implies that the defense lawyers are expected to argue on the issue of consent but stipulate that the person was nearly passed-out-drunk, which falsely makes it seem as though the defense lawyers are necessarily going to make an unreasonable argument.

  3. I’m sure this is not where you were going, but it reminded me of this piece defending using drunkenness as an excuse for rape: http://goodmenproject.com/guy-talk/id-rather-risk-rape-than-quit-partying/.

    In this case, from the pictures it is very clear that they at least knew they were humiliating her and treating her like a toy. One of the drunk bystanders was filmed making fun of how “raped” she was, so at least some of them knew. Here’s the video (it’s very disturbing): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/02/steubenville-high-school-joke-rape-targeted-anonymous-video_n_2398479.html

    What we see in this case is the pervasiveness of rape culture: the reluctance to prosecute, the belief that if the girl let herself get drunk, it’s her responsibility for having sex, she’s only claiming rape because she’s embarrassed.

  4. Hi Kimberly. What I had in mind was that the real focus of the case seems like it should be on responsibility rather than consent. Looking at what has been put out there in the media (which is quite a lot), it just seems really obvious that the sexual activity that occurred was non-consensual. At least one person involved (the victim, in this case) was incapacitated enough that she wasn’t able to consent. I understand that the defense lawyers will nitpick at this (and, ultimately, that’s part of their job), but the media and blogs do not have the same constraints and interests as the lawyers.

    I’m disappointed that I haven’t seen any discussion of responsibility in the media. Once such a discussion gets going, the article you link from the Good Men Project would be the right item to post.

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