Wing JA warns of alcohol, rape connection

  • Published
  • By Mrs. Vida Price and Airman 1st Class Christina Card
  • 18th Wing Judge Advocate office
A young woman goes out to the bars on a Friday night with her friends and starts drinking alcoholic beverages and socializing. Shortly thereafter she is out on the dance floor with a guy she knows from work. Throughout the night, he buys her a few drinks and by the end of the night, they are both pretty intoxicated. They share a cab and return to base, they start to flirt with one another and she ends up at his place for the night. The next morning she wakes up next to him in his bed and they're both naked. Embarrassed and confused she quickly gets dressed and leaves his room. On her way home, she begins to remember bits and pieces of what happened. She remembers seeing him on top of her and she was extremely intoxicated and was unable to resist. How could this have happened? Where were her friends? What she realizes is she has become a victim of a serious felony. 

When we hear the word rape, we think a woman is walking home alone, at night when a stranger jumps out of the bushes, and forces her to have sex with him then runs off into the dark. Most rapes are quite the opposite. Many rape victims are actually assaulted by someone they know and trust and some rape victims are even male. 

According to studies in the United States, rape facilitated by intoxication is a growing crime, particularly among 18-25 year olds. Rape facilitated by intoxication can carry serious consequences. It is a felony, includes up to eight years in state prison, and requires registration as a sex offender for the rest of the offender's life. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, if you are convicted of rape, it's also a felony; the maximum penalty is death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct. 

Ladies, there are preventative measures you can take to ensure you do not become a victim. Think safety first. Go out with trusted friends that will be with you from the beginning to the end. If you drink, don't drink too fast, take your time. Please drink responsibly. Rapists watch their victims and know when to make their move. Don't let your aggressor take you where you don't want to go. Better yet, don't go to a person's place if you just met them that night. If someone is making passes at you and you're not feeling comfortable, be bold and tell them you're not interested. Most rapists don't like challenges and move on to easier targets. 

Gentlemen, if she is wasted, intoxicated, asleep, or unconscious, she cannot provide legal consent. Don't put yourselves in a situation where you could potentially be labeled as a rapist for the rest of your life. Sex facilitated by alcohol could lead to court-martial action, jail time, a punitive discharge and felony conviction. It isn't worth the risk. 

Alcohol affects people differently and their tolerance levels vary. Although each person is ultimately responsible for his/her actions, being vigilant and taking the appropriate measures to not become a victim or a suspect is the recommended course of action. If you become a victim, please do not blame yourself, instead come forward and report it. Please call 634-7272 (Sexual Assault Response Coordinator). By educating yourself and your friends, you can save yourself and someone else from ruining their future.