Rape culture in drinking culture
“Its all about getting your bitches. It’s all about getting your dick wet at the end of the day.”
These are words I heard as I was walking up University Avenue last Friday.
That’s not to say that it’s the first time I’ve heard that sentiment. When you live in residence for two years, it’s hard to avoid the sense that sex, to a lot of undergraduates, more resembles using another person as a masturbatory tool than actual intimacy and mutually pleasurable sex.
While it would be easy to chalk this up to immaturity, I can’t get over the language that man used.
It’s pretty popular in feminist circles to question the popular term “consensual sex.” It’s not because we think consent is unimportant, but because we already have a term for non-consensual sex; that term is rape.
If the sex isn’t consensual, it isn’t sex, it’s rape.
This school and the Students’ Union have put a real focus on sexual assault and gendered violence in the past few years, but given the attitude many people take to their intimate encounters, I don’t think we’ve even begun to approach the real problem of rape culture.
Right now, the way we talk about gendered violence is split. Half of the talk is about the prevalence of sexual assault. Somewhere between twenty per cent to thirty-three per cent of women will experience sexual assault, as of recent studies.
The other half of the conversation is still trapped in an earlier view of sexual assault. People try to explain that a rapist who attacks women in public is not doing so because he is aroused, but rather because he seeks power over the sexual assault survivor.
When you look into those frightening statistics, there are plenty of examples of assaults that most people wouldn’t call assault.
Inappropriate touching at a bar. Trying to physically force someone to kiss you. Being black-out drunk and waking up next to someone you don’t remember meeting.
If these sound benign, it is because our culture has normalized this way of thinking about sex.
There are plenty of people of all genders who walk into Phil’s after finishing a mickey with the expectation that they will end up in someone’s bed, whether they remember how they got there or not.
All that matters is getting your bitches. Bitches meaning bodies that can be used for sex, objects that the belong to the guy in question for the night, to be used for whatever purposes he has in mind.
All that matters is getting your dick wet at the end of the night. Unlike the fallacious distinction we made earlier between (non-consensual) rape and (consensual) sex, getting your dick wet by the end of the night does not require the condition of consent.
Any form of penetration seems to count with that end in mind. And when you mix that with the drink-til-you-drop attitude found in contemporary culture, it becomes increasingly clear where our problem with rape culture comes from.
Lest you think I’m speaking from a-top my ivory tower, I know this mentality so well because it was the mentality I arrived at university with. The attitude around drinking at my high school was “get drunk so you can get laid.” The attitude in my residence when I was a resident and when I was a don was “get drunk so you can get laid.”
And while the culture is starting to change, it’s only doing so on the margins because we have yet to address this central problem. Drinking culture at universities is rape culture. It encourages the mentality that when you’re drunk, anything goes.