Thursday, October 26, 2006

Consent Form Signed Before Sex?

When it comes to sex, we all know that “no” means “no.” But did you know that “yes” may also mean “no?”

New legislation currently being considered by lawmakers in the U.K. would make it illegal for men to have sex with women who have had a few too many drinks, even if the lady consents. That’s right. A woman who drinks a few martinis or has some wine with dinner and willingly engages in a night of passion can wake up the next morning and cry rape.

The proposed law is meant to safeguard drunk women. But the absurdity of this bill is enough to make a sober person vault off the wagon.

Rape is a horrible, brutal crime and anyone who commits rape ought to be locked up until Dick Clark is no longer with us.

But a man who has a one-night stand with an eager, tipsy woman is no rapist. Just because a woman wakes up the next morning with a slight hangover and a pang of regret doesn’t give her the right to accuse a man of rape. Rape is a serious offence and it diminishes the hurt and suffering of true rape victims when we dilute the definition of rape.

One group that strongly opposes the proposed legislation is the U.K. Men’s Movement. Chairman George McAuley says men will have to obtain written consent in the form of a sex contract before attempting a home run.

“Radical feminists within the Labour Party have made consensual heterosexual sex a dangerous minefield,” argues McAuley in a recent piece by London’s Daily Mail. “The changes in legislation will increase the number of innocent men convicted of rape. It means men will have to get a consent form signed, dated and countersigned in triplicate before they make love.”

Before Andrea Dworkin fans beat down my door, let me be clear. We are not talking about a woman who is so intoxicated that she passes out and cannot possibly consent to sex. If a man takes advantage of an unconscious woman, he is guilty of rape. The law is already clear about that.

And if a man slips some roofies (the so-called “date rape drug”) into a girl’s drink, then that man belongs in jail.

But a woman who has a bit too much alcohol — of her own volition — and invites a man back to her place for some non-existent coffee and proceeds to squeal “yes” in every way possible can not and must not cry rape afterwards.

We would never let a man off the hook for assaulting a woman just because he had a few too many beers. We would hold him accountable for his actions even if he was drunk at the time. Just like a drunk driver cannot plead intoxication as a defence.

Some people may disagree with me and wonder how a mom who has a daughter could possibly oppose this legislation. Well, as a mother who may one day have a son, I know that I don’t want to live in a world where men are labelled rapists and thrown in jail for having consensual sex.

By Lyida Lovric

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