Is culpability absolute or is there a sliding scale? Can the victim and the perpetrator share culpability? If commission of 1 crime always results in 1 culpability, but the perpetrator is only responsible for .8 culpability who owns the rest? What about in a 50/50 situation? 

Homicide law in the western rules reflects a wide variation in culpability as reflected in the types of murder: homicide, manslaughter, 1st degree, 2nd degree, involuntary, self defense, and so forth. These categories are broadly differentiated by the legal terms intention, knowledge, recklessness, negligence. 

Contrast homicide with rape, where discussion of variable culpability in the context of rape is constantly derailed. Now, don't misunderstand. More than anyone I have very good personal reason to oppose rape and rapists. The idea of the possibility of a lesser sentence for a crime that I consider to be worse than murder gives me a sour taste in my mouth. 

But if we are to rationally examine something we have to set aside emotion. 

It seems quite reasonable to say that anything that applies to one person, must apply to all. If a woman sexually cannot consent if she's consumed alcohol, then neither can men. If sex occurs in that context, is it rape? It makes no sense to say that neither party consented to sex despite the bald fact that they had sex. But it also doesn't seem right to say that rape cannot occur due to inebriation. Perhaps a middle ground is needed. Or like in drunk driving law, argue that people are still responsible for their own actions, but the legal penalty is lessened.

The legal definition of rape is when there is sex by force, coercion, or constraint. Currently a person can be convicted of rape where none of these things were present. Perhaps such a person is indeed a rapist. But not to the same degree of the rapist who with premeditation forces violent sex.

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Comment by Čenek Sekavec on July 13, 2014 at 5:25pm

@Freethinker31:  No one here is advocating exceptions. Rape can occur without penetration. In your opinion, can a person who is drunk give consent?

@Michael: Like you I've observed the whole spectrum: men who feel entitled to sex, women who ex post facto declare rape. It is a complicated situation that ultimately is an illustration of how far we have to go as a society regarding ethical behavior.

@Sentient Biped: This is what I mean when I say rape is worse than murder. If we look at these two things causally we see with murder that the consequences to the actions taken by the victim are invisible - we cannot know what they might or might not have done if they weren't murdered. But with rape the consequences are visible - we have seen the damage to families that manifests in psychological and physical damage often over the course of generations.  It is the difference in visibility that informs my opinion. 

Comment by Michael Penn on June 15, 2014 at 10:04am

It's a complicated situation but often courts will ask if the way a rape victim was dressed would have caused her to be raped. That question is almost absurd in this modern world. They ask it anyway and try anything to alter facts. I don't believe that alcohol is any excuse in any way to cry rape or justify rape. If the young lady went to the sports figure's private room late at night and alone, she has no reason to believe they were going to play dominos.

On the other hand, some men believe they desrve sex and demand sex simply because they took a woman out for the evening and spent a lot of money on them. The resulting rape is ignorant thinking on the part of the man. Way too ignorant.

But the thinking is still around because the use of date rape drugs often leaves the woman with no rememberance of any of the events. The man thinks that in this way he can have sex with no legal repercussions. Sometimes that doesn't work either.

For anyone hell bent on having sex in violation of another person, I might have a solution. I know a man who has pigs, sheep, and goats. Oh, I'm sorry. That's against the law also.



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