Finally, despite the prevalence of acquaintance rape — when both the victim and accused know each other prior to the incident — many people still think of rape as a wild male stranger jumping out of the bushes and dragging a woman into an alley. The truth is, four in five women know their attackers, according to the Network of Victim Assistance.
Often those women’s stories are similar to yours in that there was liquor involved. One study of college students who reported sexual assault by an acquaintance found that 75 percent of men and 50 percent of women had been drinking when the incident occurred. Unfortunately, your story isn’t far-fetched or unfamiliar.
Read carefully what I’m about to write. Being intoxicated does not make you any less of a victim. And in no way did you “ask for” what happened because you were drunk.
In a perfect world, women would be able to drink whatever they wanted and however much of it they desired, and they wouldn’t be bothered, because every man would operate with the understanding that “drunk women are off-limits because they cannot consent.” However, that is not the world in which we live (see Steubenville and thousands of other places), as much as I wish it were.
It’s your body to do with what you want, but as a society we have not progressed to the point where women are safe from harm when they are so intoxicated that they can’t make it home alone. You need to take better care of yourself by watching how much you drink or stopping altogether. You need to remain in a position where you know what’s going on around you and what is happening to you at all times.
If it sounds as if I’m giving you advice on getting better odds on not being raped, it’s because I am. Until more parents step up to raise their sons not to rape, their daughters are left with no choice but to stand guard as best they can to try to avoid it.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.