In a word, I have my doubts about the date rape panic because many of the people who are beating this particular drum seem to support a dual sexual morality.
This dual morality says that men and boys are absolutely, one hundred percent responsible for their sexuality, even when shit-faced drunk, but that women and girls are not. It claims that any story of sex and rape, when told by a woman, must ipso-facto be true while men's testimony is entirely composed of self-serving lies.
Now, before someone splits a seam out there and demands that I turn in my feminist secret decoder ring, let me salient, underline, MAKE PERFECTLY FUCKING CLEAR that I am not defending date rape, nor am I saying that people who get out-of-control drunk deserve to be raped.
OK? Got it? Are we on the same page now?
What I am saying is that a sex-gender system which presumes that women should be chaste or assexual until marriage/love occurs and castigates and stigmatizes women who aren't, while not teaching its young women how to be responsible sexual beings, is going to generate a lot of sexual repression, guilt and false morality. Faced with this, a certain number of women are going to use booze as an excuse to have sex and then attempt to not face the consequences of their acts the next day by claiming that they were taken advantage of.
Is this the majority of women? Probably not. Is it even the majority of women who report date rate? Almost certainly not.
But in spite of the heart-felt claims of my sisters-in-struggle that women do not lie about date rape, I must insist that at least some of them do. I know this, because I have seen it with my own eyes on at least three seperate occasions.
Let me relate the last time I saw this occur, because I find it to be the most shocking...
A few years ago we had a young, self-declared lesbian woman who was here in Rio learning Portuguese in a gringo class at a local school. This young woman, Clarissa, was quite the LGBT activist and most in-class reports by her, as well as most of her critiques of Brazilian culture, were manifestos against androcentrism and homophobia. In spite of her at times shrill politics, we became fairly good friends.
One night, while we were out drinking, Clarissa told me a horrible story about how she had recently suffered a date rape in her home town. According to her, she went out to a bar and some guy slipped roofies in her drink. When she woke up at home the next day, she couldn't remember a thing about what happened after midnight. Her vagina was sore and puffy and her girlfriend immediately deduced that she had been date-raped. They thus went down to the hospital and took samples and evidence, then went to the cops. No suspects were arrested and according to this young lady, that was a clear indication of the kind of crap-sack, misogynist world in which we live.
Fast forward to Clarissa's last night in Brazil. She insisted that we all go drinking at a gay club, even though she's the only homosexual in the group. No problem: the bar she wanst to go to is a fun bar, so great! We go. While there, she proceeded to get drunk - so drunk, in fact, that she starts hitting on the gay men at the bar. My roomate at the time, Jorge (who's gay) met us at the club, saw what was happening and told me "Thad, you better get your gringa friend out of her before she causes a fight".
We thus all troop out to a taxi and move the party over to Emporium. In the taxi, out drunken lesbian friend starts feeling up one of the guys in the group ("John", a colleague from her Portuguese course) and by the time we reach our destination, Clarissa's swarming all over him. The public make-out session goes on for over two hours until the bar closes. On the way out Zeke, a mutual friend asks me to keep an eye on Clarissa because of her earlier experience. The happy couple and I thus go off to yet another bar, where we have water and diet coke and chat for an hour. Clarissa is completely lucid and what I would describe as "tipsy": certainly not "out-of-control, falling-down drunk". I offer to walk her home. She says "No, John's going to do that!" and laughs.
When John goes off to the bathroom I say "Listen, I'm worried. You guys have been making out for hours and he's obviously expecting sex. Seriously. You know this right? He's going to want to have sex with you if he walks you home and will probably try to push things, at least a bit, given all the tonsil-wrestling you two have been doing."
"No, duh!" responds my supposedly lesbian friend.
"So I just want to make sure," I push on. "You're cool with me leaving you with John, even though you guys are almost certainly going to wind up having sex?"
"Of course!" Clarissa replies. "I'm not a kid. I know what I'm doing."
I raise my hands. "OK, then. Have fun."
And I split for home.
The next day, I call Zeke and tell him what happened. It turns out that Zeke has been asked over to our Clarissa's house to help with her packing. He gets there and finds her neck is covered in hickies. Our lesbian friend says she can't remember what happened the night before and that she thinks she must have eaten something odd because look at how she's broken out in a rash. Zeke sits her down and says "Clarissa, those those are hickies and what you were doing last night was making out with John. We all saw it and Thad walked you guys halfway home and gave you every opportunity in the world to back out graciously. He says you looked pretty damned in control of yourself and you told him you were up for sex with John, which is what you apparently went off and had."
To Clarissa's credit, she believed us and was very shaken, even rethinking her earlier experience of supposed "date rape". Talking to her over the following months, Zeke found out that she had been sexually abused as a kid and that her first stable loving relationship was with her current girlfriend. She just assumed then, that she must be a lesbian. And because her girlfriend's social circle despised bisexuals and so-called "daddy's money lesbians", Clarissa heavily repressed any heterosexual feelings she had. Drinking and acting out on those, and then lying to herself the next day about what occurred, was her way of dealing with this situation.
So this is one of THREE similar experiences that I have had, as opposed to four experiences where I'm damned certain a person I know went through acquaintence rape. I've heard many accusations from both sides - people (generally women) demanding that all claims of date rape MUST be treated as true and other folks (generally men) insisting that date rape is complete and utter bullshit. But for the seven cases in which I personally have been involved and got to see the evidence in some detail, three weigh out with the accused being innocent and four point to their guilt.
That's about a 43% innocence rate.
This is why I will not join the "all date rape claims are true" bandwagon. Women, like men, fool themselves, lie to themselves and lie to others. There is absolutely no convincing evidence that I've seen, to date, that women or men always tell the truth about ANYTHING. In a falsely moral, intensely hypocritical society such as the United States, which has a very deep fear of human sexuality in general and female sexuality in particular, it is no wonder that many people are going to be screwed up when it comes to sex. Date rape absolutists, on both sides of the issue, want to restrict this problem to the "other" gender - whichever that is.
Unfortunately for them, both genders lie.