Last Thursday, Brett Sokolow, President of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, delivered a powerful presentation regarding the invisible differences between drunk sex and date rape.Standing before a crowded auditorium in Wriston, Sokolow introduced his presentation by remarking that “drunk sex/date rape is seen as a woman’s issue, but it affects men just as profoundly.” He then asked the weighty question “when does yes mean yes?” and launched into his recounting of a sexual assault trial.
The trial, at which Sokolow, a former attorney, was present, involved two intoxicated juniors at a Big Ten university. In short, the narrative ended with the woman no longer a virgin, and the man charged with sexual assault. He was subsequently expelled from the university and branded as a sexual offender.
Sokolow then asked his audience to act as a jury to decide whether or not the man was guilty. Interestingly, the audience was divided in its judgment, with half judging him guilty and the other half finding him not guilty. Sokolow mentioned that he finds this same reaction with all of his audiences, which contrasts sharply with the real trial – at which the jury unanimously found the man guilty.
Tellingly, all of Lawrence’s athletes were encouraged to attend this event. It should be noted, however, that all Lawrence students should have attended this shattering presentation. The issues discussed affect us all, and not solely those who drink.
A senior member of the fraternity Sigma Chi Epsilon believes that this incident could happen at Lawrence, or indeed at any college, due to the alcohol consumption involved on campus. Chelsea Wagner, a sophomore RLA, also noted that “the chances of this happening at Lawrence aren’t any different than at the other university.” While this presentation did not influence the senior fraternity member to change his own drinking habits, it did encourage him to be more judicious in pouring drinks for others.
In conclusion, Sokolow pointed out that “being drunk does not absolve you from a crime … it’s impossible to draw the line between drunk sex and date rape.” He advised his audience to take preventative measures regarding this issue, urging us to define our community as one devoid of drunken mistakes.