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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Wisconsin explores alcohol as date rape drug

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Author Topic: Wisconsin explores alcohol as date rape drug
Scarleteen Volunteer
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The title says it all.

This article at Yahoo! gives the details of a legislator in the American state who is pushing to change an existing law that would make alcohol a date rape drug. It would give prosecutors more power to go after cases where the victim smply drank to the point where they could no longer say 'no', or perhaps even shake their head.

Of course, the intent here is solid, but I'm not sure whether the law could also make some trouble. I'll reserve judgement for the moment.

Posts: 1515 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
John Doe
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The problem is that there is only one reason I can think of to give someone roofies, and usually in those cases they are given without the knowlege of the one they are given to. If someone spikes a drink with roofies, intent is very clear and premeditated. Getting drunk is a whole different ball of wax. Clearly having sex with someone who is passed out drunk is rape. However, just how drunk would someone have to be for this law to be in effect. Clearly it would have to be far far past the point of legal intoxication for driving purposes. Alchahol will impare judgement, however, if you say that just because the girls judgement is impared, it is rape, but don't look at if the guys judgement was impared, it is unfair.
Posts: 475 | From: ohio | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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As I understand it, in my state (NY), if she's drunk, it's rape. Period. Even if she says "yes". The so-called "logic" is that she can't make an informed decision, although I am not aware of a reciprocal law to protect men.

-- Sapphire Cat

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Posts: 235 | From: Louisville KY (St. Matthews) | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Originally posted by sapphirecat:
As I understand it, in my state (NY), if she's drunk, it's rape. Period.

Yes, this is correct...and 47 states in the US have that clause added as part of their rape (261 PC) legislation. If any person, woman or man, is unable to make informed consent (by way of being drunk, asleep, unconscious or mentally disabled), any sexual act can not be considered consentual and is therefore illegal.

But at issue here is whether or not alcohol can be considered a "date rape drug" which would add an enhancement to a criminal penalty. The reason I am puzzled by this is that other "date rape drugs" (such as Rohypnol) are things that are placed in the victim's drink or otherwise administered to the victim without that person's knowledge. The victim therefore does not give consent to be drugged into unconsciousness, which explains the enhancement of the crime.

But with alcohol, it is ingested through the sheer will of the person drinking it. It would be quite difficult to get someone drunk without them knowing it...about the only way I can think of doing that would be spiking someone's drink with a very strong liquor (such as 100 proof vodka or something similar). Alcohol strong enough to have such an immediate effect like that would be very noticeable, and the person drinking it would be able to quit doing so at that time.

I can see where the intent of this law is good...but I don't think it makes too much sense in a practical manner. Drugs like GHB which are odorless, tasteless, and are so easily slipped into the victim's drink are one thing...but alcohol is a very noticeable thing. And even a very small-framed person would have to drink more than a small amount in order to be rendered into a state of drunkenness which the law deems as "unconsentable." I think Wisconsin should rethink this plan and try to define it in a clearer manner.

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I have to agree with BruinDan, that the main difference is awareness of taking the drug. But I also worry about legality issues. Would bars and liquor store be considered rape-drug pushers? Would alcohol remain legal? Rohypnol is illegal, is it not?

It seems to me that both women and men need to make responsible sexual choices instead of trying to blame this or that factor. I don't think having sex with a drunk woman should automatically be considered rape. I think that when you decide to get drunk, you should realize that it's going to affect your judgement. I'd go as far as to say that if a woman agrees to sex while she is drunk, she's getting what she asked for... but hopefully she would have planned out beforehand what she would do in that situation.

I'm sure my comments would make me unpopular among some feminists, but if we expect respect, we should affirm our power to make decisions, not our inability to do so.

Posts: 582 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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The problem with laws is that there are too many of them. This just adds to the problem. Like other people have pointed out there is already legislation in place to deal with the situation. The only reason why someone would want yet another law is if they were a low-life state politician up for election and looking to con the voters with this stunt. The sad thing is that these stunts usually work. The american public is willfully ignorant of the policies and personalities that make up our government and is therefore easily swayed by election time theatrics and spin-doctoring. Its easy to lie to someone who doesn't care if you're telling the truth or not Its this lack of responsibility that leads to corrupt government and bad legislation, of which this is merely a very mild example.


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Scarleteen Volunteer
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I agree 100% w/ what Rizzo has said ...

The difference b/w drinking alcohol willfully and having something slipped into your drink (drugs) is that when you're drinking alcohol, you know what you're doing. You may get to a point where you do'nt anymore, where you're no longer thinking clearly, but you're the one that got you that way ... Not anyone else. Date rape drugs should defineatly be illegal, but i do'nt think alcohol should fall into that category.

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Scarleteen Volunteer
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Rizzo: Re:Rohypnol

To the best of my knowledge, flunitrazepam(Rohypnol) is illegal in the US, but not "illegal" per se in about 80 other countries, where it can be prescribed under certain restrictions, mainly for surgical procedures and severe cases of insomnia, even though there are certainly newer medications that have far lesser risks and side effects. The makers of Rohypnol, F. Hoffmann-La Roche, have lately added something that will make any drink spiked with it taste very bitter - and in addition, when put in a light-colored drink, new Rohypnol will turn the beverage bright blue. Consumers of darker-colored beverages have been advised to check their drinks for a cloudy appearance. The drug will also dissolve more slowly and form small chunky pieces. Yum. Unfortunately, it'll take a while before this new & improved Rohypnol will come into the hands of rapists. - Old Rohypnol is almost undetectable and dissolves quickly.

I agree with everyone here, from a legal point of view, I just do not see the necessity to make alcohol a date rape rug.

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Posts: 4526 | From: germany | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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