SmackDown: If Your Drunken, College-Age Daughter Goes Back to a Guy's Room, Does it Indicate That She Wants Sex?

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Who's held accountable for drunken sex? Credit: Getty Images

Stop Saying Women Asked to be Raped.

by Amy Hatch

The debate over date rape is raging again, thanks to a provocative column by a student journalist at American University in Washington, D.C.

Author Alex Knepper says co-eds who get drunk and go home with a boy are "indicating that they want to have sex."

Yes, young Knepper says your daughter asked to be raped. She asked to be sexually assaulted. She asked for sexual intercourse simply because she had the poor judgment to drink too much alcohol at a party and pick the wrong boy to go home with.

In an interview with the CBS "Early Show," Knepper defends his viewpoint and declares that more often than not, the young lady in question wakes up the next morning, regrets her inebriated decision to have sex, and then cries date rape.

As the mother of a daughter, I am outraged. As a former college student who drank her share of grain-alcohol punch, I am outraged. As a woman who knows too many women who have suffered through sexual assault and the never-ending emotional aftermath, I am deeply, deeply outraged -- and you should be, too.

The most surprising part of Knepper's attitude is that he is an openly gay man. As someone who is part of a segment of our society that is often derided, devalued and abused, I would expect more compassion from him. And his new expression of the old "she was asking for it" excuse is a slippery slope, indeed.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, there were 248,300 reported sexual assaults in the United States in 2007, the most recent year for which data is available. On top of that, college-age women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted.

Still think date rape doesn't happen? How about this little fact: Approximately 73 percent of victims know their attacker.

True, women of all ages need to exercise caution. It's my job to teach my daughter that she has personal responsibility and that taking risks can lead to dangerous outcomes. It also is my job to teach my son to respect a woman's body and that no means no. We still live in a culture that encourages men to think of women as sexual objects for the taking. Parents -- and especially mothers -- need to start teaching their sons to see women as whole people, and not just as pleasure objects.

That means talking openly about what they see in the media, modeling respectful behavior for them at home and acting swiftly and surely to stop any signs of that attitude in our young men.

Parents also need to educate their daughters about the sexual culture and their role in it, and encourage them to speak up when their rights are being violated. Stop warning women not to get raped and start telling our sons that no woman has ever asked to be sexually assaulted, no matter what she was wearing, who she was with, where she was or how much alcohol she had to drink.

Susan and I want to know what you think. Join in on the debate in the Comments section below.

Face It: You Get Wasted, You Get Stupid.

by Susan Avery

Cyndi Lauper sang a cute little intro to one of her songs back in the '80s, where she opined about her boyfriend's smarts: "He goes to college and gathers knowledge. Oh, what that boy knows."

That's what occurred to me when I heard Alex Knepper, a junior at American University in Washington, D.C., defend his student newspaper column wherein he writes that women who have drunken sex shouldn't cry about it later.

His exact statement: "Any woman who heads to an EI party as an anonymous onlooker, drinks five cups of the jungle juice, and walks back to a boy's room with him is indicating that she wants sex, OK?" (For the record, I have no idea what EI stands for, but let's pretend it doesn't mean anything more than a typical college frat fest -- Epsilon Iota, perhaps?)

Why would this statement be considered insulting to women? If anything, it's a wake-up call to reality. (I find it curious that he uses the term "woman," followed by "boy," but that's for Mr. Knepper to parse on his own time.)

If a college-age woman chooses to get smashed at a party, then she's also choosing to give up good decision-making. You can't separate the two. You drink, you don't think clearly. It's the beauty and the curse. That's how alcohol rolls.

And, as any high-schooler knows from time spent in health class, five drinks is a lot. Too much, in fact, to make any decisions that could have life-altering consequences.

As I watched the college student make his point on national TV this morning, I wondered where my teenage daughter stood on this issue.

"I agree with him," she said.

Thank God.

Trust me, she didn't say it for my benefit. I have a daughter who will readily disagree given the opportunity.

But she, a non-drinker to this point, knows that you don't go home with someone when you're drunk unless you want to have sex. It's really that simple.

Knepper uses the word "indicating" perfectly. If the woman is willingly going to the guy's room, and not objecting, that would seem to indicate that she wants to get it on.

However, if somewhere along the way -- or once the fluorescent-bright, dorm-room reality hits -- she verbalizes otherwise, then that's more than an indication and the change-of-heart should be respected.

Now, to be clear, unlike Knepper, I do believe there is such a thing as date rape, a heinous crime that, sadly, is under-reported. Knepper calls it "an incoherent concept. There's rape and there's not rape," he writes.

Sorry, college boy, but life is not black and white, and rape can happen when one is on a date. It's the gray areas that require our sensitivity, maturity and willingness to move past knee-jerk "it-is-or-it-isn't" responses. On this one, he gets a F. (I was a college instructor, so I'm allowed to give him a grade.)

But when it comes to understanding how lust and alcohol and decision-making work, Knepper gets an A in my book.

Class dismissed.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.