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Drunk and trusting?

entertainment Updated: Oct 30, 2009 18:28 IST
Anoushka Shankar
Anoushka Shankar
Hindustan Times
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A few weeks ago, I’d mentioned that something horrible happened to my friend. It makes me sad and angry, so I asked her if I could share her story. She obviously didn’t want to be named, but said I could write about it. Here’s what happened:

My friend was out for dinner, and had plans to meet an old friend for a drink at the end of the night. They went to a bar, and were having a great time catching up. One drink became two, two became three, and three became four or more. She’s not really sure. What she does remember, is saying goodbye to him after he walked her home, and going inside her apartment. Ten minutes later, he was at her door under a pretext she was too tipsy to fully understand. Drunk and trusting, she let him in. Stupid? Maybe, but then again, this was a friend she thought she knew and trusted.

She woke up the next morning, sore and bleeding, with bruises on her thighs. She only has flashes of memory about what happened. She doesn’t remember how it started, and she can’t understand what happened, because there are so many holes in her memory due to drinking too much. There are two issues here, as I see it. One is the grey area surrounding what happened that night. Was it date-rape, or was it rape? Did he realise she didn’t want to have sex with him? She remembers saying “no,” but was she too drunk to say it clearly? Was she unable to move and resist? Is it possible he thought she changed her mind, because she was too drunk to be firm enough? Or had it been his plan all along to get her to that state? Would it have happened if he hadn’t been just as drunk? Tragically, my friend may never have the answers to these questions.

In my opinion, her saying no even once should have been enough, and whether it was rape or not, she was definitely taken advantage of. But since she doesn’t remember, it’s his word against hers, and we will never know what happened that night. However, the second issue can be clearly addressed, and that is the topic of alcohol. Maybe what happened to her at the end of the night wasn’t her fault, but could she have taken steps to protect herself? Most certainly yes, and the most important step she could have taken was not to let herself get to that level of intoxication.

Ladies, I can’t stress this enough: Remember it’s your right to say no at any point of sexual activity, and that needs to be respected. Please never drink past your tolerance. Please guard your drinks. And please, never assume you’re with someone you trust enough to let these rules drop, and let yourself go. The consequences may be too damaging to imagine.