I’ll tell you what I regret, and what conclusions I am jumping to

*Trigger warnings for discussions of sexual assault*

I don’t want to go into a lot of details about this, because I don’t want to violate HIPAA or trash any of my peers or future peers specifically. Suffice to say, I find it very disappointing that people in the medical community, including people who should really know better, don’t realize that someone who is severely intoxicated cannot consent to sex. It’s not “next day regret”, and I am not “jumping to conclusions” for following that theory. It’s sexual assault. End of story.

We are supposed to be advocates for our patients. It’s bad enough that people in the community don’t understand that rape isn’t just some scary dude jumping out of the bushes and clubbing some demurely dressed virgin over the head, and dragging her off to violently violate her. When physicians and future physicians dismiss (or worse, joke about!) sexual assault on intoxicated individuals, or even worse than that, discourage a peer from following that line of questioning with a patient because it would be “jumping to conclusions” because “we weren’t there and we can’t say if she consented”, it absolutely infuriates me. Especially if such a person has a history and physical strongly suggesting that this is a likely scenario.

OK, rant over.

8 Comments

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8 responses to “I’ll tell you what I regret, and what conclusions I am jumping to

  1. Annapolitan

    I share your disappointment. I was assaulted similarly whilst in college many years ago and encountered a similar mindset, even with the professionals at the campus counseling service.

    Had you thought about asking to conduct an inservice regarding sexual assault, including a review of the relevant state laws?

    • MomTFH

      I have, actually. I am a little leery, because my behavior (of which I am proud) in the past week in regards to multiple events has probably already cast me as a humorless feminazi among my peers and superiors, and I don’t want to suffer any retaliation for being the person who makes them sit through something about which they are so resistant. But, that being said, I think I may still mention it to the medical education coordinators, since the behavior and attitudes I have seen this week have been so appalling, I don’t care what they think of me.

  2. Helen

    This came up over on Tor.com when I mentioned how a Heinlein character blamed herself for having been gang-raped when she was drunk, and said she didn’t drink (around men) any longer because she was afraid SHE would “do it again.”

    Yup, I got a response from someone who had never thought of that scene as being a gang-rape at all, as the character thinks of herself as having consented. I pointed out “Re Winnie: she’s so drunk she has no idea whom she’s in bed with (she has to piece together what happened out of fragmentary memories afterward), so it’s pretty obvious no consent was possible.” Dunno whether that got through or not.

    • MomTFH

      Thanks for sharing, and thanks for discussing these issues. Yeah, I am not sure why this is such a difficult concept, except that sex and ownership of women’s bodies seems to make simple concepts difficult.

      Sorry to compare rape to a car purchase, but this is an example I’ve been using lately. If person A was significantly intoxicated, and person B attempted to buy a car from person A under those circumstances (especially if the car wasn’t even for sale, or the sale terms were something that would be clearly undesirable to person A if person A was sober), no one would question that the sale was illegitimate, nonconsensual, and not a legal contract the next day.

      I am not trying to compare sex, especially rape, to buying a car, but I don’t see why anyone would think one can consent to sex while intoxicated if one wouldn’t expect anyone else to make any other significant decisions under those circumstances.

  3. adamant

    True, but when one is in a situation where one is severely intoxicated—-not being really bright in the first place—one’s partner may well also be intoxicated enough to not have good judgement and therefore not realize that sex is not a good idea at that point.

    Moral (tho unpopular) of the story: getting trashed is stupid and you don’t always have control over the circumstances. While being drunk doesn’t entitle anyone to rape you, it also impairs your judgement, ability to evaluate untoward events and deal with them if they happen………

    • MomTFH

      Oh, no. You should have stopped with the “True” and not gone with the “but…”

      A rapist is not a “partner”…they are a rapist. If someone gets intoxicated and commits another violent crime, say, a murder, would you rationalize that and say, well, they were drunk, and maybe didn’t realize that murdering someone may not be a good idea?

      It is not “unpopular” to blame drunk women for being raped – it is actually sadly very popular.

      How is it a “moral” to say it is harder to fight off an assailant who is taking advantage of an easier victim? Are you really saying the “moral” of this story is that being drunk makes it more difficult to evaluate being raped and deal with it afterwards, and that should be the take home message in all of this? How about, hey rapists…don’t rape drunk women!

      I wish I could share the details of the actual case at the hospital that upset me enough to write this post, but sympathy for the poor rapist who might not have realized that raping his “stupid” victim was not a good idea, and blaming the victim for not being able to properly evaluate being raped because she was “stupid” and “not bright” is NOT the moral of the story. In fact, what if she happened to be developmentally disabled, and the rapist was in a position of power over her, and got her drunk with the sole purpose of raping her? I am not saying that is what happened, but how do you know that isn’t the case? You are generous enough to acknowledge that being drunk doesn’t entitle rapists to rape you, but what sort of IQ or “good judgment” threshold is necessary for someone not to be judged for being raped?

      The condemnable action in the situation was not the victim drinking. I am sickened by your comment, in which a rapist is defended and a victim is called stupid. Seriously? The victim is “stupid” and the rapist just “therefore did not realize that sex is not a good idea at this point”?

      The more I parse your comment, the angrier I get.

  4. Thank you for your stance on this subject. Thank you for understanding the importance of patient advocacy.

    “said she didn’t drink (around men) any longer because she was afraid SHE would “do it again.”

    That is my reality. It won’t happen again. I won’t drink unless a family member is with me.

    I can chant it’s not my fault “Good Will Hunting” style until I’m blue in the face, but that feeling never goes away completely.

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