Here's a sampling of letters I got in response to "A Sexual Assault Sham" (11/4/11), in which a letter writer named Give a Guy a Break questioned a local woman's sexual assault allegation against Ald. Brian Solomon. Her side of the story was printed in a letter from the district attorney's office, which declined to pursue charges.
Dear Tell All: The accuser acknowledged that she went drinking with Solomon, made out with him, and invited him to spend the night. She alleges that she woke up to find him touching her sexually, but admits that she did not tell him to stop.
Let's assume her whole account is true (despite the troubling suggestion of "recovered memory" noted in news reports). I suspect that if she had told the alderman to stop, he would have. No means no, but in this consensual sleepover/make-out session, she had the responsibility to actually communicate "no" so he would understand her boundaries. I bet Solomon was stunned when, instead of saying "Please don't go that far," she waited till it was over and then called the police.
Hi Tell All: Give a Guy a Break seems to misunderstand a few things about the concepts of consent and sexual assault. In order to clarify these concepts for him, I'd like to present an alternate scenario. Imagine the letter writer goes on a date with a woman. They have a few drinks and end up back at his place. At that point they kiss and fall asleep on his bed. He wakes up to her inserting her fingers into his anus. Does that sound like an acceptable thing to do to someone during your first romantic encounter with them, without first checking to make sure that the other person is cool with it?
Sex is not about seeing what you can get away with before the other person realizes what you're doing or has the wherewithal to stop you; it involves enthusiastic consent from both parties. Sharing a bed does not equal consent. Kissing does not equal consent for anything but kissing. At no point did the victim say, "Oh hey, by the way, now that we've kissed, you can do whatever you want with my body, even if I'm unconscious."