Countless of campus rape stories and trials are in the news. Along with these public rape trials or shall we call it, public slaughter of the victims, comes the cry of "it's a false rape accusation" What terrifies me most is that the cry of false accusation is not that we've got the wrong perp but that the perpetrator claims his action was not rape. "He and the victim were merely drunk, yes of course she enjoyed it" The rapist has the audacity to claim that consent was given by someone who was so intoxicated that she doesn't even remember the details of the night.
In stead of the focus being on a horrific sexual act and the behavior of violating a woman it becomes all about the alcohol and drinking, as you can read in the letter by the Stanford rape victim. We start to campaign against campus drinking in stead of campaigning against rape. We start to preach about controlled drinking instead of teaching consent. We announce that alcohol is the cause of bad choices, in stead of pointing a finger at the rapist and saying "HE made the bad choice" Why? Is the topic of sex still so taboo that even when we need to protect others we still refuse to admit that sex is a thing - that we do? Society and its leaders are so comfortable speaking about campus drinking and they refuse to speak about campus sex. Dear leaders and educators, I will say it in the best way I know how; "college students are having sex!" Quite with the abstinence talk, quit with the save it for marriage blabber, quit with the threats of STDs, and start talking about SEX. Teach young adults about sex, pleasure, safety, consent, and their right to make choices! Teach young adults that they have the right to pleasure and sex as long as they ask and don't take. And maybe, just maybe, the next person who rapes won't be so confused about what consent TRULY means.
Sara Schapiro-Halberstam, MHC-LP, CASAC is a psychotherapist in New York City where she practices individual therapy, couples counseling, and sex counseling. You can contact Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org and read more blog posts at www.mwr.nyc
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Sara Schapiro-Halberstam, LMHC