How does fatal drunk driving compare socially to the things that happened in Steubenville? If campaigns against drunk driving don’t work, how do you design a consensual sex campaign? What effective messages have you seen that could apply?
This is a comment by Marcus Williams on the post “Questions that Plague Me in the Wake of Steubenville“.
Marcus Williams said:
In as much as drinking lowers inhibitions, there are lots of people who drink to excess and never wind up raping people, beating up gay kids, or abusing their spouses. Or driving. Mostly cause that’s not in them to do.
Many people drink, not to excess, get behind the wheel, and don’t kill anyone or even get in an accident. That’s most drunk drivers, in fact. What distinguishes them from the ones who have fatal accidents is luck, not that it’s “not in them to do”. It was in them, they rolled the dice, and they got lucky, so no one called them monsters even though they followed the same decision tree. The same is true of a lot of drinking and sex, IMO. There is no monster line which divides drinking people who commit sex crimes from drinkers who just “don’t have it in them” to commit crimes. For something like interpreting whether consent is present and behaving appropriately, alcohol is impairing, just like it’s impairing as to the judgement of whether or not it’s safe to get behind the wheel.
But I think that root issue of the rage and anger and etc, the lack of compassion and empathy are part of that public health concern.
Do drunk drivers who kill innocent people lack compassion and empathy to be so reckless as to get behind the wheel when they were intoxicated? Yes, I’d say that might be part of it, so campaigns that foster more compassion and empathy, out of concern for what you could do accidentally, are reasonable and apparently, effective. Are those same drivers motivated by rage and anger toward the victims they kill? I’d say probably not in most cases.
Not me going to a bar and trying to have a few drinks. I get it. There are predators out there. That may always be true. But I’d prefer to work on policing them, not my actions, getting others to step up if I get in trouble rather than blaming me. Me being anyone who gets hurt by individuals or groups that have predation on their minds.
I get the feeling you overlooked the gender-neutral aspect of what I’m saying. I’m not saying we need campaigns teaching women not to mix alcohol with sex. I’m saying alcohol impairs the judgment of BOTH perpetrator and victim, regardless of their respective genders. It’s about increasing awareness that just like impaired driving can lead to loss of life and prison terms, impaired sexing can lead to rape and prison terms. Encouraging others to “step up if [someone] gets in trouble rather than blaming [them]” isn’t just about intervening on behalf of the victim. It’s also about intervening to stop someone else from becoming the perpetrator. There’s already “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk,” and that’s not gender specific. Why not extend that to sex?
I don’t think rape is going to be eliminated by a Don’t Drink & Sex campaign, but drunk driving isn’t going to be eliminated, either. Drunk driving used to be so off the radar that I’m sure the earliest efforts to reduce it seemed hopeless. People are going to party and have sex, but imagine the good if we could get as many people thinking, as their default “safe” position, that mixing alcohol with first-time sex with someone is as dangerous as mixing alcohol with driving. Some will do it anyway, often with no harm resulting (just like drunk driving) but some might wait to sober up more before going ahead with that sex, just like now they wait before driving. Again, I’m talking about *both* men and women, not just saying drunk women deserve what they get and shouldn’t drink. There’s already been some success in getting people to use condoms more often in the name of “safe sex”, so why not promote sobriety as another component of “safe sex”. Just like w/ condoms, it’s not about saying sex without condoms is always bad, so it wouldn’t be saying alcohol is always bad with sex, but it could change the default of what people consider safe with relative strangers.
BTW, I think this would line up well with enthusiastic consent ideas, because among other things, alcohol can impair the ability to communicate, intepret, and *remember* consent, and again, that’s true of both victims and perpetrators, and no one wants to become either one.
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