‘At 17, I mixed vodka and passion pop at a friend’s party and woke up the next morning in a spare bed, clothed with the remnants of a half empty cup of coffee next to me and no memory of the night before. I was not raped. Through my early 20s, I drank cask wine at house parties and crashed in beds with male friends. I was not raped. At 28, I spent nights on end in bars in New York with men I did not know, drinking beer and whiskey and wine, before walking home by myself through midtown Manhatten. I was not raped. The first time I hung out with the man I now live with, we sat up until 4am drinking wine on his couch. Later, I fell asleep on it while he slept in his bed. I was not raped.
‘The only thing common to experiences of rape is the presence of a rapist. Alcohol is not a precursor to sexual assault. It may be present (although most often it isn’t [since most rape is perpetrated by families and partners/exes]), but it doesn’t cause rapists to rape. It is perceived opportunity, entitlement and the casual enabling of a society that pins responsibility on women to avoid sexual assault that allows rape to continue at levels not properly examined or even targeted. But still we say, women – if you don’t want to be raped, put down the bottle, all the while forgetting that even if this did work it still wouldn’t stop rape.