Ken Yanagisawa

Update, Nov. 13: On Nov. 7, the complainant received Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway’s decision in which he accepted the panel’s findings of fact, conclusions and recommendation. According to the notice, the complainant had until Nov. 12 to file an appeal to Provost Benjamin Polak. That deadline has since passed.

On March 22, 2013, two Yale undergraduates had sexual intercourse. The female student was intoxicated. The male student was not.

Thirteen months later, on April 22, 2014, the female student filed a formal complaint with the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct, alleging that the sex had not been consensual.

Throughout September and October, the UWC hired a fact-finder and held a hearing to determine whether the male student — the respondent — had violated the University’s sexual misconduct policies.

In its final report dated Oct. 31, the UWC stated that the respondent had not violated University sexual misconduct policy. The panel recommended that the respondent and complainant have no direct or indirect contact for the remainder of their time at Yale.

According to the timeline of UWC procedure, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway — the final decision maker in all cases where the complainant is an undergraduate — was supposed to announce his final decision by Tuesday. As of late Thursday evening, the complainant had not received the decision. Holloway declined to comment for this story on Thursday afternoon.

Over the course of the investigation, dozens of pages of documents were compiled that detail both parties’ version of the events. These documents, which the complainant provided to the News, include  interviews, emails and text conversations. They also comprise the fact-finder’s report and the UWC’s final recommendation. The documents offer an inside look at UWC proceedings, which are normally confidential, and reveal what happens when a student files a formal complaint of sexual misconduct at Yale.

They also highlight a process that has come under criticism as recently as this week for arbitrary decision-making and inconsistent procedures. The UWC dates to April 2011, when then-Provost Peter Salovey announced the body’s formation shortly after the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced an investigation into Yale’s compliance with Title IX, the federal gender equality law.

The documents reviewed by the News paint a picture of a thorough process that, in this case, weighed an abundance of often ambiguous evidence, including messages perhaps fully understood only by the parties themselves. At certain points, however, the process did not abide by its own guidelines, the documents show.

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In her capacity as independent fact-finder for the case, supervisor at the Yale Child Study Center’s Trauma Section Miriam Berkman LAW ’82, who did not return request for comment, recorded the accounts of both the complainant and respondent, collected evidence and conducted interviews for a 43-page report. Among others, this document, dated Oct. 15, provides the basis for the narrative of this story. 

In an effort to protect the privacy of the students involved, the News has chosen to withhold the names of the complainant and the respondent, as well as details about the location of events. UWC Chair David Post and University Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Provost Stephanie Spangler did not return requests for comment. The News contacted the respondent by email to give him an opportunity to comment, but he did not reply.

The University responded to a request by the News for comment with a written statement emailed by University Spokesman Tom Conroy.

“The University is eager to advance open community discourse regarding its sexual misconduct procedures. That said, we will not provide details of specific cases, nor will we support the efforts of others to do so,” Conroy wrote. “We believe that members of our community will hesitate to bring forward their complaints or participate in the process if they fear that their cases may be publicized and that confidential documents may be made public.” 

Eden Ohayon ’14, who also filed a formal complaint with the UWC last May, said Yale’s sexual misconduct policies are superb on paper. However, she said, if the University does not abide by these policies in reality, complainants have the right to publicize their claims.

Ohayon added that the UWC did not resolve her complaint according to its own timeline. A process that was supposed to take 60 days took four months, she said.

“Yale can’t just hide behind this confidentiality clause that they make you enter into as a part of filing a formal complaint,” Ohayon said. 


The night of the alleged assault, the female student was drinking and playing games with friends in her suite when she received a text message from the would-be respondent. According to the accounts of both students, they had been involved in a brief yet exclusive romantic relationship the previous fall.

At the time of the incident, they were not engaged in an ongoing romantic relationship. They had agreed to end all sexual contact just days earlier, during spring break. By both students’ accounts, the male student still had strong feelings for the female student that were not reciprocated.

At 7:18 p.m., the male student texted the female student, and a conversation ensued. The male student said he was alone in his room working. At 8:57 p.m., the female student texted the male student that she was “tipsy” and had started playing drinking games. By this point, she had moved to the suite of some other students in her entryway, according to cell phone screenshots obtained by the fact-finder.

The students continued to text as the female became increasingly intoxicated. At 9:45 p.m., she texted the male student explaining the drinking game she was playing, ending with, “I’m so hammered I can’t even…” According to the complainant’s account in the fact-finder’s report, the text conversation was “insignificant chitchat” until the male student said in response, “Make sure to keep texting me though, you’re clearly pretty trashed and I wanna make sure you’re okay : )”

Since the two had previously hooked up while intoxicated, this message set off an internal alarm, according to the complainant’s account included in the fact-finder’s report. She said she felt the conversation was headed down a familiar path — one repeated throughout the spring — that would end in a sexual encounter she no longer wanted. Anticipating that she would become more intoxicated, the complainant said she sent the messages to protect herself against the possibility of that outcome.

“Don’t let me try to seduce you though,” she texted him, followed by a second text: “Because that is a distinct possibility.”

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However, the respondent said he did not interpret those texts in the same way.  According to his account in the fact-finder’s report, the messages came as a surprise to him, in light of their agreement earlier in the month to simply remain friends.

In her next text, the female student alleged, she continued to express that she did not want to have sex.

“I mean … sex is awesome, and I might try to get it from you. But I shouldn’t. I don’t think,” she wrote.

After the male student responded that he was interested, adding that sex would not be a “big deal,” the female student said she did not immediately respond for several minutes. This was another attempt to avoid a sexual encounter, she said in the fact-finder’s report.

Still, according to the fact-finder, the male student interpreted the female student’s texts as “ambivalence,” not an explicit refusal of a sexual encounter.

Several minutes after receiving no answer, the male student sent a second text saying his roommates were not present and his roommate’s bed was “looking rather comfy.” The female student responded, “None of my roommates are here and I’m too hammered to make it to [your dorm]. Is this a bad idea…” 

In a June 3 written response to the formal complaint that he had received notice of five days earlier, the male student said it seemed like the female student had changed her mind about just being friends. However, the fact-finder reported that he sensed “uncertainty” and “ambivalence” in the female student’s texts, and decided to have a face-to-face conversation to resolve the situation. He told the fact-finder that this conversation was the reason he went to her room — not necessarily to have sex.

“Nope,” he responded to the female student’s previous text, “cause I’m gonna wear your favorite outfit : ) I’m on my way.”

The complainant then responded, “Goto [sic] my room I’ll be there soon.”

The male student said he interpreted her message as an invitation. Yet, the female student said the text did not indicate consent. Rather, she said she thought he would persist until she acquiesced. In a relationship she characterized as “highly emotional and volatile,” the male student would often respond to a refusal with “screaming, crying and other histrionics that she found overwhelming.” she said. 

According to her account in the fact-finder’s report, she was too intoxicated to have the cognitive or emotional ability to find another solution and simply capitulated. 

When the female student returned to her suite, the male student was waiting for her. According to the male student’s written response, when the female student entered the room, “little more than ‘Hello’ was said before she grabbed [him], kissed [him] and [they] began to have sex.” He claimed they each undressed themselves. They had sex twice that night, he said, and once more in the morning.

Each time, the respondent said, the complainant was “an enthusiastic participant.”  The male student said that though he knew she had been drinking, he had no idea how much alcohol she had consumed and did not know she was significantly impaired. He said that after their second sexual encounter that night, the complainant said she was sober.

According to the fact-finder’s report, the female student said she remembers nothing more than stumbling back to her room and having sexual intercourse once with the male student. The next morning, she said, she woke up feeling terrible that she had become so inebriated and had sex despite not wanting to. She said she immediately blamed herself, lying in bed silently crying with her back turned to the male student. When he initiated sex that morning, the female student said she did not resist because she felt refusal would be too emotionally exhausting.

When she reread her texts that morning, she said she did not remember sending most of them. She could not recall exactly how much she had had to drink that evening. She later estimated that she had at least one drink of vodka and three beers. 


While the complainant said she was upset with the events of March 22, she did not initially consider the encounter to be an instance of sexual misconduct. A few days later, however, the complainant was surprised when her friends said the respondent’s actions constituted rape because her level of intoxication rendered her unable to give consent.

On March 28, 2013, the female student sent the male student an email warning him to never engage in sexual activity with anyone as drunk as she had been that evening because that could constitute sexual misconduct. She emphasized, however, that she was simply looking out for him and did not plan to take any disciplinary action.

Disturbed by the message, the male student forwarded the email to his residential college dean, who advised him to meet with the female student to discuss the situation. In an interview with the News, the complainant said the dean never contacted her after receiving the forwarded email.

The female student said she reluctantly met with the male student over lunch. According to her account in the fact-finder’s report, she told him that the evening of March 22 had been different from their previous casual sexual interactions because he had ignored her decision in early March to end all sexual contact. The male student, however, told the fact-finder that during this meeting, the female student expressed that she was not hurt, and that their encounter had been consensual. The complainant said she does not remember saying anything to that effect.

For the remainder of the semester, the two had limited contact.

On May 27, 2013, the male student sent the female student an unsolicited email, included in the fact-finder’s report, that detailed how he thought she had changed over the past year. A few hours later, the female student responded angrily, writing that he had sexually pressured and manipulated her during their relationship — views she would later express to Berkman during the fact-finding process. She described that in the two months since March 22, her emotional reaction to the male student’s presence had only escalated, stating that the mere sight of him could make her want to cry or vomit.

In her email, the female student also directly accused the male student of sexual misconduct during the night in question for the first time.

“I can’t figure out quite where to start, so let’s just start with objective fact: you raped me,” she wrote. “You are a rapist.”


On April 17, 2014, the complainant visited campus for the first time since taking the 2013–14 school year off. Once she realized that she would see the male student around campus when she returned full-time in the fall, she visited the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Education center she told the News. Over the course of the next few days, the female student met with a SHARE counselor and Pamela Schirmeister, the Title IX coordinator for Yale College at the time.

She decided to file a formal complaint.

On April 22, the complainant met for the first time with then-UWC Chair Michael Della Rocca and UWC secretary Aley Menon. She recalled that Della Rocca and Menon were encouraging about the prospects of a potential complaint. Neither Della Rocca nor Menon returned the News’ request for comment. During that initial conversation, the female student said Della Rocca and Menon asked if she wanted to begin work on the case over the summer or wait until both students returned to campus in the fall.  She elected to wait.

She said Della Rocca and Menon then helped her write a brief one-paragraph formal complaint in which she alleged that she and the respondent had had sex in March 2013 while she was intoxicated and he was sober but aware of her intoxication.

After leaving the meeting, the complainant said, she wanted to revise her complaint to add that the encounter had not been a consensual act. She emailed Della Rocca and Menon with her revised draft, asking for their opinions. She received no response, she said. However, the update was included in the final version of the complaint sent to the respondent.

On May 1, the complainant emailed Della Rocca, Menon and Schirmeister asking for an update. Again, she said she received no response.


On May 28, the UWC sent an email to the male student notifying him that the female student had filed a formal complaint. The notification letter contained the complainant’s allegations, a copy of Yale’s sexual misconduct policy and information about UWC procedures.

On June 3, the respondent sent a written response to the UWC. In his response, which is included in the documents provided to the News, he denied that he had manipulated the situation for his own benefit and was “given no reason to believe that [she] felt in any way used or hurt by this encounter.”

“To call this incident nonconsensual … is an oversimplification of the circumstances, and ultimately untrue,” he said in his response. “I had no reason or opportunity to suspect that [the complainant] was as drunk as she later claimed to have been … There were no signals at any stage during this encounter that would suggest consent had been withdrawn or retracted.”


In the days leading up to the complainant’s return to campus, she emailed Della Rocca, Menon and Schirmeister to ask about interim measures before any formal hearing, she said. She was directed to Angela Gleason, the new Yale College Title IX coordinator. In a meeting on Aug. 28, Gleason said that she would send to the complainant the respondent’s class schedule so she could avoid running into him.

According to UWC procedures, the Title IX coordinator is responsible for interim measures that “protect and support the complainant. University officials are expected to cooperate in implementing those recommendations.”

After the initial meeting with Gleason, the complainant received no further information about the respondent’s schedule. A follow-up email sent by her SHARE advisor to Gleason a week later also went unanswered, the complainant said.

The only information she received, the complainant added, was notification of two events the respondent would be attending in her residential college.

UWC procedures mandate that an independent fact-finder be assigned to the case no later than seven days after the UWC chair receives the formal complaint. Though the chair received the complaint on April 22, it was unclear when the UWC decided to start counting those seven days — particularly since the complainant chose to wait until after the summer to move forward.

Still, it was not until Sept. 16 that the female student received an email from Miriam Berkman, the assigned fact-finder. 

The delay was due to issues with fact-finder availability, according to a Sept. 2 email from the SHARE advisor.

UWC procedures call for an “impartial fact-finder from outside the University.” On the Yale School of Medicine’s website, Berkman is described as a supervisor in the Child Study Center’s Trauma Section and a former faculty member. The University would not comment for this story beyond the emailed statement.

“We regret very much the delay and will move forward as swiftly as possible,” Menon wrote in an email to the complainant on Sept. 3.

The complainant said she found delays and breaks in communication unacceptable and frustrating.

“I felt like a petulant toddler throwing a fit in the corner,” the complainant said. “I don’t feel like people who come forward should have to take the extra painful step of getting people to pay attention to them.”


From Sept. 22 to Oct. 15, Berkman conducted four separate interviews, two with the complainant and two with the respondent, to compile their accounts of their relationship and the events of March 22. She also interviewed three individuals who had been playing drinking games with the female student that night.

In addition to the interviews, Berkman reviewed five documents, which she included in her final report: text messages from the night of the incident, two email correspondences between the students, the complainant’s written rebuttal to the respondent’s initial statement, and additional information the complainant supplied to provide more context about their relationship.

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According to UWC procedures, the secretary must receive the fact-finder’s final report within 21 days after the fact-finder’s appointment. Berkman’s final report was dated Oct. 15, 23 days after her first meeting with the female student and 29 days after she first reached out to the complainant to notify her that she had been appointed.

Berkman’s report states that the complainant said that the history of her relationship with the respondent, combined with her level of alcohol intoxication, rendered her unable to give the unambiguous consent mandated by University policy. She requested that the UWC panel expel the respondent.

The respondent, however, claimed that he had “reasonably inferred consent” based on the complainant’s texts and actions that night. In the report, he speculated that she had filed her complaint vindictively in response to his behavior in spring 2013.

“This case concerns a single episode of sexual contact that occurred in the context of a highly emotional deterioration and dissolution of the parties’ ongoing relationship,” Berkman wrote in the report. “While the history of the parties’ relationship is relevant to understanding the context of this one incident, there is no need for the panel to resolve the many differences between [the students] regarding the course of their relationship.”

Berkman added that the panel should be primarily concerned with determining whether the complainant was capable of giving positive, unambiguous and voluntary consent given her level of alcohol intoxication, and whether the respondent knew or should have known how impaired she was.

While Berkman acknowledged that the complainant claimed to have been seriously incapacitated, she also wrote that the complainant “was not so intoxicated that she was unaware of what was happening around her and she was able to engage in a texting conversation in which she [later] said that she consciously employed several strategies to resist [the respondent].”

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When the complainant received the report on Oct. 16, she was concerned the report was biased against her, she told the News. Therefore, on the same day, she submitted four supplementary statements to Berkman, each from close friends who had not been present on the night of the incident but could, according to her, testify to her low alcohol tolerance.

All four said that the number of drinks she consumed that night was likely enough to incapacitate or severely impair her judgment.

“The details of the amount consumed by [the complainant] that evening … are significantly beyond her point of incapacitation, as I understand it,” one friend wrote.

Berkman added in the supplemental report, however, that for the most part, the new statements did not illuminate the complainant’s capacity to consent.

“It is undisputed that she was highly intoxicated that night,” Berkman wrote. “The more complex and central question for this committee is whether this level of intoxication caused [her] to ‘lack the ability to make or act on considered decisions to engage in sexual activity.’”


On Oct. 13, the female student was notified that her hearing was set for Oct. 21.

UWC procedure mandates that the hearing take place no sooner than five days after both parties receive the final fact-finder report. At the time of the complainant’s notification, she had not yet received the fact-finder report. The complainant agreed to hold the hearing on the planned date, despite not knowing if she would receive the fact-finder’s report in time. She later told the News she worried that any postponement would result in further delays with the process.

The report was submitted two days later, on Oct. 15, and was emailed to the complainant the next day by UWC Project Coordinator Lani Danilowitz, who did not return request for comment.

On the morning of Oct. 21, the complainant and her SHARE advisor arrived at the Greenberg Conference Center at 391 Prospect St. The hearing ran for approximately three and a half hours, the complainant told the News.

The complainant and her adviser were assigned to a room in the basement. The respondent and his adviser were placed on the second floor, and the panel sat in a room on the first floor, the complainant said. UWC procedures state that unless both parties request otherwise, the complainant and respondent will not appear jointly before the panel during the hearing. 

The complainant told the News that a speaker system in her room allowed her to hear the proceedings occurring upstairs in the panel’s room; she said that the respondent had a similar arrangement. The speaker system was disconnected only when panel members were conversing among themselves, the complainant added.

UWC procedures state that the hearing is “intended primarily to allow the panel to interview the parties with respect to the fact-finder’s report.” 

The female student said she was brought up to the first floor for a 10-minute opening statement and then returned to the basement during the respondent’s statement. Afterward, the panel asked the complainant and respondent any clarifying questions related to the fact-finder’s report, she said.

While the panel interviewed the respondent, the complainant and her advisor wrote down any questions they had for him, she said. The questions were submitted to the panel members, who then decided which questions to ask. She said four out of her six questions were ultimately chosen. One of her chosen questions asked why the respondent did not try to initiate a discussion when she returned to her room that evening if he thought the texts were uncertain and ambivalent.

During the hearing, the complainant said she also explained the content of her text messages to the panel members. Given the nuance of text conversations and potential generational gaps in communication, she said, the panel’s interpretation of text messages may have been a “considerable problem” during the hearing.

“I felt really stupid having to explain the colloquial difference between a winky and smiley face to a bunch of Yale professors, but it’s a really significant difference in our world,” she told the News.

The complainant added that the panel members spent nearly an hour and a half gathering information about the context of the two students’ relationship. They also asked how much she had had to drink — inquiring specifically about which text messages she recalled and did not recall sending that evening.

Following the hearing, according to UWC procedures, the panel reaches its decision regarding any violations of University policy by secret ballot in a majority vote. Panel members cannot abstain from a vote.


On Oct. 31, 2014, the panel finished its three-page report. The report was compiled within 10 days of the final hearing session, in accordance with UWC standard procedure. The document outlines which events the panel accepted as fact, as well as its conclusion and recommendations.

Under the heading “Regarding Incapacitation,” the report noted the complainant’s statements regarding her level of intoxication and the supplemental witnesses’ accounts of her alcohol tolerance and capacity to consent. According to the final report, the respondent said during the hearing that the complainant “seemed no more inebriated than instances when she had given consent in the past.” 

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Although the report acknowledged that the complainant had been intoxicated, it found that she had not been incapacitated as defined by Yale’s sexual misconduct policy and thus did not lack the ability to make or act on considered decisions.

As evidence, the panel cited the complainant’s statement that her text messages to the respondent had been part of a “conscious strategy intended to prevent an unwanted sexual encounter.” It also cited the respondent’s claim that the complainant entered her suite unassisted, where she allegedly embraced him and took off her own clothing.

“In light of the above findings of fact, the panel does not conclude, by a preponderance of evidence, that [the respondent] violated the Yale University policy on sexual misconduct by engaging in sexual activity with [the complainant] while she was incapacitated,” the report said.

A preponderance of the evidence is the legal burden of proof the UWC employs in weighing complaints of sexual misconduct, as mandated by Title IX. It is a lower standard of proof than clear and convincing evidence. 

The panel recommended that the complainant and respondent have “no direct or indirect contact with each other while either remains a student at Yale University.”

Upon receiving the report, the female student immediately burst into tears, she told the News.

“I left the panel thinking I had slam dunked it,” she said. “I was floored.” 

The complainant told the News that she took issue with multiple aspects of the panel’s report.

First, she said she does not agree with the panel’s decision to take as fact — and proof of considered decision — the respondent’s account that she undressed herself. 

“I don’t remember going up the stairs. I could’ve been crawling for all I know,” she said. “I think it’s ridiculous that when I say I can’t remember and he says this is what happened, his word automatically counts as a preponderance of evidence.”

She also criticized the panel’s decision to focus exclusively on her level of incapacitation that night and ignore the context of her and her respondent’s previous relationship. She said that while during the hearing the panel spent an hour and a half asking about deeply personal contextual details, it included none of those details in its final report.

The panel, which is charged with relaying to the decision maker only the facts from the fact-finder’s report that it deems relevant, noted only that the complainant and respondent’s “exclusive and intimate relationship” had changed to a “casual sexual relationship” and that they had a “series of emotionally intense conversations about their relationship” over the spring break in mid-March.

It did not write that both students told the fact-finder they had agreed to end sexual contact after the break.   

“Since the panel refused to acknowledge that fact, they could then ignore my claims … that the instance that occurred after spring break was markedly different from all those that preceded it,” the complainant wrote in a written response to the panel report, which she submitted to Holloway via email.

UWC members declined to comment or did not return request for comment on what factors are taken into consideration when writing their final report.

The panel’s report also cites the complainant’s text to the respondent to go to her room as further proof of considered actions.

But the complainant noted, both in the fact-finder’s report and in her interview with the News, that the text came after the respondent had already texted her saying he was “on [his] way” to her room. This text was not included in the panel’s report.

The complainant said that because the male student had already said he was on his way, what the panel saw as consent was, in fact, not voluntary.

She added that in the fact-finder’s report, the respondent acknowledged that her texts had expressed “uncertainty” and “ambivalence.” Upon reaching her room, she added, he made no effort to clarify that ambiguity — a fact which the respondent corroborated when he said there was no discussion before the sexual intercourse occurred. Therefore, she said, her actions did not meet Yale’s definition of consent as “positive, unambiguous and voluntary.”

“Ultimately, what they clinched me on was that amidst being really drunk, I had an internal, primal alarm go off that this was a pattern [that would lead to sexual activity I didn’t want],” she told the News. “They failed to take into account that you can be incapacitated and still send texts like that.”

“In the end, the message I got was, ‘If you’d had one more shot of vodka, it would’ve been rape,’” she said. “‘Sorry. Drink more next time.’” 


Yale adjudicates complaints of sexual misconduct based on a three-step process. First, an independent fact-finder compiles information and submits a report to a panel for an eventual hearing. 

Second, the complainant and respondent participate in the hearing. Using information from the hearing and the fact-finder’s report, the panel determines whether the respondent has violated University policy. If the panel finds the respondent culpable, it again votes by secret ballot to recommend a punishment. The panel’s conclusions are put into a report and sent to both parties and the relevant decision maker no later than 10 days after the final hearing session. In this case, the panel’s report was sent to Holloway on Oct. 31, exactly 10 days after the hearing.

Finally, the decision maker reviews the panel’s report, as well as the initial complaint, initial written response and any addendums to the panel’s report either the complainant or respondent chooses to submit. After reviewing the report, the decision maker may ask for clarification from the panel, and then either “accept, reject or modify the panel’s conclusions or recommendations, in whole or in part.” He has the final decision.

According to UWC procedure, Holloway is required to render his final decision in cases regarding undergraduate students within 14 days of the final hearing.

Sixteen days have now passed since the hearing.

  • phantomllama

    “I left the panel thinking I had slam dunked it.”

    What an extraordinary statement to make.

    • gutcheck

      Also, that the lesson learned from all of this is to “drink more next time.”

      • the angels have the phone box

        Again, I’m assuming most people here are Yale alumni or students.

        So why are people here having such a hard time understanding irony?

    • the angels have the phone box

      “Extraordinary” can have so many implications and connotations, so I’d be interested to see an elaboration. Or perhaps just said in different words.

      For the time being, I’m assuming you’re being critical of her having said that.

      A few honest questions:
      1. What rubs you the wrong way about it? Is it the colloquialness? The sports metaphor? What would be a better thing to say?
      2. What do you interpret it to mean? All I think it means is that she thinks she had convincingly presented a solid case. What’s wrong with thinking that and saying so?
      3. In a different but similar context (e.g. on the steps of a courthouse), would it be just as inappropriate? Or extraordinary, as you say? Why or why not? What if she were talking about a less somber context, like following an interview for law school?

  • Joy Darby

    Isn’t the consumption of alcohol by a person under the age of 21 illegal in Connecticut?

    • the angels have the phone box

      Why is that relevant? Are you implying that if you break the law it’s not rape, or you’re responsible if you’re raped?

    • branford73

      Why is this question relevant? Are you suggesting that any woman under 21 who breaks alcohol consumption laws has no reason to complain if she is raped?

      • somensa

        Of course it is relevant.

        • the angels have the phone box

          This is not an answer to the question that was asked.

          • aaleli

            You asked more than one question and made a false analogy.

          • somensa

            You asked 2 completely different questions. You just don’t like the one and the way it was answered.

          • branford73

            You didn’t say how or why the original question was relevent. You just reasserted that it was relevant. I would like to hear from you, aaleli, Darby, Eye or any of the 14 guests who upvoted Darby’s question just how or why that question is relevant to this case. (I’ll admit the follow up question was rhetorical.)

      • Doc1943

        No, it means that any woman under 21 who breaks alcohol consumption laws has reason to complain that she has been raped if she has sex under any circumstances.

  • branford73

    A very interesting expose, although the complainant may not find the support for her position she evidently wants. The UWC conclusion seems quite supported by the evidence presented. The case presents in a cogent way the conflict between a subjective belief of non-consent and the lack of any convincing evidence to the accused that there was anything but enthusiastic participation.

    “While the complainant said she was upset with the events of March 22, she did not initially consider the encounter to be an instance of sexual misconduct. A few days later, however, the complainant was surprised when her friends said the respondent’s actions constituted rape because her level of intoxication rendered her unable to give consent.”

    This does sound like after-the-fact remorse. Even her subjective belief of non-consent was formed days later. How did her friends know then how intoxicated she was?

    • the angels have the phone box

      The UWC’s job here was to determine whether or not the perp–I mean respondent–had obtained unambiguous consent. That means, whether he obtained a verbal “Yes” before engaging in sexual contact with her.

      She warned him twice, “Don’t let me try to seduce you.” “Sex is awesome and I may try to obtain it from you, but I shouldn’t.” But when she does what she warned him might happen, he goes for it anyway. He responds to these warnings by sending two texts asking for sex, and going to her bedroom. Did she try to seduce him? Yes, as she said she would. But what was he supposed to do if she did that? NOT LET HER. But he never intended to not let her, else why did he invite her over for sex, and subsequently go to her room when she refused? He had sex with her knowing full well that a) were she sober, she would not and b) she had specifically asked him not to. That’s rape.

      Here’s another scenario. She says, “Don’t let me try to seduce you.” He responds, “Okay, then maybe we shouldn’t talk anymore until you’re sober,” and then goes about his own business.
      ^That is what a situation where no one was raped looks like.

      • MiddleageLiberal

        You characterized two texts as warnings, but without inflections of a personal verbal exchange, there is nothing to indicate they were warnings to last all night or anything but a current expressed preference she could withdraw by later, in person statements and conduct.

        Your better argument is in her texts which said she was “hammered”. You could say he should not have proceeded once they met until he confirmed she was sober enough to consent. By his own description included here they started in as soon as she arrived. He read her enthusiastic participation as unambiguous consent. He may have been more specific in his personal testimony before the committee.

        The committee, having read the evidence and heard from the parties in person (something we later readers have not) used a preponderance of evidence standard to decide against her. They didn’t say, nor do I, that there was NO evidence to support her claim and what I assume is her sincere subjective belief.

        • the angels have the phone box

          “At some point tonight I might try to have sex with you and you shouldn’t let me.” That’s the pretty obvious implication of her initial messages.

          How you can have the existence of those messages and still consider her “consent” unambiguous is beyond me.

          • useyourbrain

            Have you ever flirted with anyone via text before? Ever? Sounds like you haven’t ever flirted before. Sending that text to an ex sounds much more like flirting than it does like reallly trying to not initiate sex. You know what sounds like not trying to initiate sex? Not sending a text that says you might try to have sex with the person you’re texting. Here’s an example:


          • the angels have the phone box

            Honestly, I don’t see how you can call those texts flirting. Any decent guy would read her texts and be all, “Uhhh, babe? Do you or don’t you?”

    • sy

      I could not write a weaker case than this one. Yale not only allowed it to go forward (as it must), but also encouraged it to go forward, with endowment-paid fact finders, pseudo-legal representatives, and hearing judges. Both of the students, their friends, and factions of their residential colleges probably are set against each other. Many are done with Yale, and will not attend reunions or donate. Yale has an obligation to release the facts (changed slightly to protect confidentiality) of close cases, and the cases where expulsion was ordered. Yale must report how much endowment money is being spent on this project and its many administrators. I am too grateful to Yale to withdraw my allegiance and support. If its current Baby Boomer administrators are pursuing ludicrous political projects (perhaps for federal grant money), they will retire in about five years. Yale was not built for only one generation.

  • JCvPnew

    What an excellent reporting job by two exceedingly promising young journalists who undertook a very, very challenging assignment.
    Perhaps the only thing missing is a final chance for the respondent (really the defendant) to rebut the complainant’s final summation.

  • the angels have the phone box

    Are you implying that this is a case of morning-after regret?

    There’s no such thing as a “perfect victim.” We had a case once where there was security cam footage of the rape. Should have been easy to win. The problem was that when it was over, before she left, she hugged the rapist. She had no idea why she did it, she just didn’t know what else to do.

    So, for the sake of all women who didn’t act the part of the “perfect victim,” I’m glad this piece was published. The more women who speak up, despite knowing they will face a lot of criticism and victim blaming, the more women will feel less shame about not being the perfect victim themselves, perhaps allowing them to speak up as well.

    • aaleli

      The more women, who refrain from drinking themselves to oblivion….

    • gerryq

      Actually, it seems she had sex with him the morning after too. It’s more like weeks-after regret, and year-after complaint.

  • somensa

    These two made poor decisions. Many poor decisions. Period. Live with the consequences of your actions. A CRIME certainly did not take place, other than illegal drinking. Stupidity is not a crime. Yet.

    • lex injurious

      It’s a university mediation process—not a court of law. No crime NEEDS to take place for disciplinary action to be warranted.

      • somensa

        Silly me. Mediated rape.

      • YourMomsCat

        which is why you will never leave the university land of make believe

    • the angels have the phone box

      “I’m so hammered I can’t even…”
      “I’m too hammered to walk to [college]”

      “You sound pretty trashed.”

      Under CT law, if someone is blackout drunk, they are not considered capable of consent. A person can be convicted of rape if they knew or *should have* known the victim was in that state.

      The complainant made a pretty specific description of her impairment–that she wasn’t able to walk to the respondent’s room. The respondent *admits* that she seemed “pretty trashed.”

      The respondent probably knew and definitely should have known, given the impairment she described, that the complainant was severely intoxicated. Ergo, under CT law, a crime was most certainly committed.

      • Hieronymus Machine

        “a crime was most certainly committed.” Clearly, the UWC disagrees with your fine legal analysis, as would, I’d wager–what with its stricter standards and all–the CT legal system.

        • the angels have the phone box

          Yes, the UWC decided she was not incapacitated. That’s in the article and I did read it. However she WAS incapacitated (she states she barely remembers the evening in question) and he should have known (she was too impaired to walk to his college). Under the law, he raped her.

          I wouldn’t use the UWC decision as a predictor of how a jury in CT would have found. They violated many of their own policies, most notably by choosing a Yale-affiliated fact finder. Perhaps I have erred in my interpretation of the facts presented in the article,and perhaps the respondent is innocent (he’s not)–I still don’t trust the findings of a body that ignores its own policies in investigating and deciding cases.

          • btmc

            Yalies (and college students in general, I’d bet) saying, “I’m hammered” or “I’m too drunk to…” are as often as not bragging about their intoxication, especially when paired with something flirtatious. They’re rarely as drunk as they say they are when they say those things; they want attention. Now, having sex with someone who says those things to you is a stupid, stupid move, don’t get me wrong, but let’s not inflate the importance of those texts.

      • ARM

        You may not realize that “blackout drunk” is a description of the effect of alcohol on memory only, not a measure of general incapacitation. You may also not realize that there is no way for anyone (even the drinker, until they sober up) to detect that they are walking around and interacting from a “blackout” state.

      • matt10023

        Blackouts can happen with as little as one drink. The law doesn’t refer to “blackout drunk” but “incapacitation” which is where the person is passed out, or severely debilitated by drugs or alcohol.

        She was coherent enough to text, navigate to her room where she was expecting him, and initiated sex.

        Not a violation of criminal law as it relates to “incapacitation”.

  • concerned

    This is obviously a complicated situation, but one line in the respondent’s statement stood out to me:

    “I had no reason or opportunity to suspect that [the complainant] was as drunk as she lated claimed to have been.”

    This seems like a pretty obvious lie to me. In her texts, the complainant describes herself as too hammered to make it to his room, which pretty obviously indicates a high level of intoxication.

    Still a complicated situation and I don’t think I (or anyone else on this comment board) should be engaging in back-seat adjudication, but a major part of the respondent’s argument seems patently untrue, and I’m not sure why the UWC chose to believe it. Plenty of people are perfectly capable of writing coherent text messages when they’re very drunk!

    • Hieronymus Machine

      Counterpoint: “Since the two had previously hooked up while intoxicated, this message set off an internal alarm, according to the complainant’s account included in the fact-finder’s report. She said she felt the conversation was headed down a familiar path — one repeated throughout the spring — that would end in a sexual encounter she no longer wanted. ”

      “Ultimately, what [the UWC] clinched me on was that amidst being really drunk, I had an internal, primal alarm go off that this was a pattern [that would lead to sexual activity],” she told the News.

      So, Why did the UWC choose to believe the counterargument? Because…? Because [ed. note: for clarity, add “you want us to believe that” or a sarc tag] women cannot be expected to exercise ANY SELF-CONTROL WHATSOEVER? Because Pavlov? Because “I mean … sex is awesome”…? “and I might try to get it from you?”

      I mean, I sometimes look at the bottle, foresee the familiar pattern, but, DAY-um, that Petite Sirah be, you know, POW’ful! And me, pit’ful carnal slave, canNOT be expected to re-SIST tem-TAY-shun! And, seriously, I often regret it the next morning (although I usually blame my own intemperance, not Julio Gallo,er–no! Carl Doumani! I meant Doumani!).

      • the angels have the phone box

        I think that warning someone what might happen and giving them instructions as to what to do if it does IS a form of self-control.

        Sometimes when I’m extra drunk I think I can sing Idina Menzel’s part in Defying Gravity. It leads to people no longer wanting to share my company. But I know this about myself; I can say at the beginning of the night, “If I start singing, just tell me, ‘Oi! Stop Singing!'”

        So why is this different:
        The complainant knows that when she’s drunk she might make the bad decision of hooking up with her emotionally manipulative ex. So she says, “Don’t let me try and seduce you.” “I might try to obtain sex from you, but I shouldn’t.”

        What’s different is my friends are trustworthy, but the respondent proved not to be.

        • Hieronymus Machine

          “What’s different is my friends are trustworthy.”

          I would argue that, if not “trustworty,” both parties are “predictable,” or even “reliable,” which is quite similar. As another poster said, you may not LIKE the way of the world, but it’s the world’s way nonetheless. I find the male’s actions by no means “chivalrous”–and I do not APPROVE of them–but I certainly UNDERSTAND them.

          …Halfway across the river, Duck felt a sting to her back and knew she had been bitten. “Oh Snake!” she cried, then, weakly, for she was dying, “Why have you done this dreadful thing? Now both our lives are forfeit.” Snake replied gently, “Yes, I know, and I am sorry. But you see, I am a snake; that is my nature.”

          “Don’t let me try and seduce you.” Um. Yeah. Okay.

          Addendum: Following your lead, why did she not ask her “trustworthy” FRIENDS–with whom she was drinking–“Don’t let me seduce [him]?” Given that the complainant, by her own admission, PREDICTED the outcome of her actions, why did she not turn to her trustworthies (rather than a facilitator) to PREVENT it?

          • the angels have the phone box

            Victim blaming. My favorite.

            You know, arguments like these are sexist against MEN. Boys are not doomed to be boys.

          • Hieronymus Machine

            I did not blame the “victim,” [and not *only* because, as found the UWC, she is not] and I did not say “boys will be boys” (translation: “Hey, what can ya do?”). I said that males and females perceive and process the world differently, e.g., when a female says “I might seduce you,” it is not typically in the target male’s nature to stop her. Stating that *fact* is not blaming the victim, it is pointing out that it is unrealistic, no matter what you “feel,” to expect/demand/legislate that all ppl, males included, adhere to feminist standards of behavior.

            The *real* irony of feminism is that it has convinced girls to behave like boys–even when they are hurt by it, regret it, or later require therapy (as one might expect in, say, the current case).

            You can do your own Googling, but let me start you off:

            In a qualitative study of 187 women, reporting on their feelings: “[D]uring a typical hookup, 65% of participants reported feeling good, aroused, or excited, 17% desirable or wanted, 17% nothing in particular or were focused on the hookup, 8% embarrassed or regretful, 7% nervous or scared, 6% confused, and 5% proud

            But “[a]fter a typical hookup, 35% reported feeling regretful or disappointed, 27% good or happy, 20% satisfied, 11% confused, 9% proud, 7% excited or nervous, 5% uncomfortable, and 2% desirable or wanted”
            Paul & Hayes, 2002

            From a study entitled “Risky Business”: “For emerging-adult college students, engaging in casual sex may elevate risk for negative psychological outcomes.”

            From “Sexual Hookups and Adverse Health Outcomes”: “Overall, the potential negative outcomes [including depression, sexual victimization, and STIs] associated with hooking up in female college students suggest a need for proactive educational efforts and further research into the nature of these associations.”

            From the book “Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both”: “Girls can’t be guys in matters of the heart, even though they think they can.” Hooking up places women at risk of “low self-esteem, depression, alcoholism, and eating disorders.”

          • the angels have the phone box

            A qualitative study of 187 women? My, how scientifically rigorous! You know it’s good science when they use big words like “varied phenomenology.” In a journal with an impact factor of 1.3 no less! Very, very impressive my friend. You sure find real credible sources when you google.

            “Men by nature cannot keep themselves from having sex” = Boys will be boys
            “Women should know the nature of men and therefore if she decides to trust one and he rapes her, she is responsible” = Victim blaming.

          • Hieronymus Machine

            Came across this comment on another forum…

            “ALEXANDRA SEMYONOVA, animal behaviorist

            You will also not prevent the dog from being what he is genetically predisposed to be. Because the inbred postures and behaviors feel good, fitting the body and brain the dog has been bred with, they are internally motivated and internally rewarded.

            This means that the behavior is practically impossible to extinguish by manipulating external environmental stimuli.

            The reward is not in the environment, but in the dog itself! see Coppinger and Coppinger (2001, p. 202)”

            While the pronoun “he” is employed above, I suspect it could have just as well been she, s/he or ze (or plurals or other workaround).

        • somensa

          Because this involves hormones, sexual tension, emotions, and physiological responses. Are you really that daft?

      • Doc1943

        Yes, certainly this is corporate America’s fault. Alcohol causes rape.The
        producers of this product are fully aware of this, know the addictive power of alcohol, support advertising that makes it irresistible to abstain. The ads show everyone having a good time. Everyone knows
        that alcohol “lubricates” social interaction . Certainly it is reasonable to
        contend that college students, even the very smart Yale students
        cannot be held responsible for the rape that alcohol causes even if they experience it themselves. There should be a mass action law suit extracting millions, ( dare I say billions) from the wine and beer industry
        to pay for the emotional damage this product causes these geniuses .
        But, heaven forbid, do not expect children to act like grown ups and
        take responsibility for their actions.Lets solve this problem. Bring back

    • concerned

      (I am a different reader regularly posting on the YDN as “concerned”) First of all, my kuddos to the YDN for publishing this article. It is telling that the complainant did not possess the street smarts, awareness or trust to call YPD once the ex-boyfriend texted her that he was on his way. This is also a big fail on public safety at the Yale campus and opens the door to repeated domestic violence by sex aggressors fully welcomed on campus and then of course, the subsequently mounted institutional cover-ups–except when these incidents are made public. For a fact-finder to omit that particular text message from the formal proceedings is to mitigate the consistent aggressiveness displayed by the respondent prior to his physical contact with the complainant that night. The complainant has every right to feel discriminated against and I for one, am not distracted by the role played by alcohol in this matter

      • Hieronymus Machine

        “It is telling that the complainant did not possess the street smarts, awareness or trust to call YPD once the ex-boyfriend texted her that he was on his way.”

        Or to text back “don’t.” Or to NOT reply “Goto my room.” Or to STAY where she was. Or to NOT to have “grabbed [him], kissed [him] and [they] began to have sex.”

        But, yeah: YPD. Shelter in place. Whatever.

        [BTW: Yes, “respondent” should have exercised restraint/sharing/caring yeah yeah.]

        • useyourbrain

          Yea it’s amazing the way she went to her room when he told her he was going there, and she didn’t tell him not to, and she even affirmatively told him he should.

    • Guest


  • ydnaccount123

    Not to be too cynical here, but in these matters it’s in your best interest to be intoxicated so as to absolve yourself of legal responsibilities. Had he been drinking, he would’ve been a rape victim, too. Whether you’re male or female, if you engage in sex when the situation is somewhat unclear or likely to lead to a rift between you and the other person, give yourself the legal upper hand by drinking first (even if doing so is itself illegal because that law is unlikely to be enforced and the consequences are minimal, whereas sexual misconduct is a much larger matter). This is true whether you’re the complainant or the respondent. This is also true in both cases whether you are male or female, because the norms are going to change and men will start coming forward with these kinds of complaints.

    • branford73

      You raise the theoretical possibility that under a system that says a person who is drunk but still volitional may not give valid consent, both parties could be simultaneously rapists and rape victims.

  • trollalert

    If drunk people are unable to consent, they should, therefore, be able to not be held responsible for other actions/potential crimes committed while under the influence.

    • Citizen

      And therefore, no one should ever be allowed to get drunk.

    • Joy Darby

      Yes. Like backing over the neighbor’s puppy with their car.

  • brinewater

    How did C arrive at the decision to go public—at this time? I find it odd that this article was published a mere two days after the deadline. Why the rush?

    Two things stand out to me as highly unusual.

    First, C describes R as responding to refusals (of what?) with “screaming, crying and other histrionics.” That’s really not normal adult behavior.

    Second, C’s tone (“I left the panel thinking I had slam dunked it”) combined with the haste to publish (as evinced by the dearth of responses/comments from people other than C) makes the whole situation…weird.

    Further details may be somewhat illuminating.

    Also, could the ydn publish redacted versions of the students’ e-mail correspondence?

  • PJ

    She said she didn’t remember going up the stairs and she texted him saying she was “Too hammered to get to his room”

    • Guest

      *I* can’t text while “tipsy”; can you?

      • alex

        Yes it’s not that hard

        • Guest

          Really? I found her texts far more intelligible than mine after just, say, two beers (and I am likely larger than “complainant.” Also: “goto” obviates spellcheck as an excuse…

      • the angels have the phone box

        Yes, I can. If you text with your finger rather than your thumbs, drunk texts are almost perfectly intelligible.

    • useyourbrain

      She could also just have rather been in her room as opposed to his. She wasn’t too hammered to get to her own room, given the *context* it seems more like location preference than indication of actual complete intoxication. If she was that hammered, why didn’t her friends, who apparently knew how hammered she was, feel compelled to make sure she made it home OK?

  • sy

    Complainant: “Sex is awesome. . .”, but a “slam dunked” rape complaint is better. Yale should publish more scenarios with the facts slightly change and condensed for confidentiality. Reality is better than fiction, and these cases teach more than hypotheticals and classes. Like the last YDN case, a woman has unwanted and unromantic sex with an unwanted and unromantic partner in the bedroom she goes to. She decides and reports months or a year later that the final “awesome” encounter was rape. Has Yale reported how many employees and millions of endowment dollars are employed to this political project? If you give less than $10 million to Yale, this project is how your entire donation will be spent.

  • flopsy

    Strong even-handed reporting

  • lex injurious

    Brave reporting. Good job, YDN!

  • kevin24

    Holy crap YDN, Journalism…..who would have thought?

  • ethanjrt

    I’m glad this was published. Let’s be reminded that sexual encounters are messy in this way, too.

    What stands out to me here is that we’ve arrived at a place where a subset of feminists is both encouraging a refusal to recognize one’s own agency in certain circumstances (e.g., while drinking alcohol), AND pushing us to have conversations about sex that pretend a different cultural context than the one we’re actually living in.

    In the Yale culture, “I’m drinking” and “Don’t let me try to seduce you” are VERY commonly paired opening steps in a time-honored and very well known courtship dance. (As is, pretty often, any jump of the barrier from a non-sexual to a sexual conversation.) They’re used to indicate openness and lack of inhibition, to imply that this is a special circumstance (so whatever might happen will probably not turn into a long-term thing), and sometimes to absolve oneself of future responsibility for one’s actions. I’ve used variations myself.

    Whether or not you think this SHOULD be the code our culture communicates in is another can of worms entirely. The fact remains.

    • the angels have the phone box

      “No means yes. Yes means anal.”

      Oh wait, I thought we were past that.

      • ethanjrt

        We are. Culturally, Yale is more or less in a place where “no” means “no.” Which is crucial — everyone needs to have the linguistic resources to stop a sexual encounter that they don’t want.

        Yale has not, however, reached the point where “don’t let me try to seduce you” actually means “don’t let me try to seduce you.” Much less has it reached the point where “I’m so drunk!” actually means “I am and will for the perceivable future be unable to form coherent thoughts or be accountable for my decisions.” (Sooner expect that “We should get a meal sometime!” really means “We should get a meal sometime!”)

        Whether getting to that point is desirable or not is a question I’ll leave to you. Whether we should review events — and decide a student’s fate — on the false premise that we ARE at that point, however, has an obvious answer: No.

      • Nancy Morris

        If the chanting frat boys had instead intoned “yes means no,” would it have been as irrational and offensive? Would the irony be obvious if that’s what they do next time?

  • Guest

    LUX: “I have been honest… about… why it was inappropriate and how I need to conduct myself… in the future, [especially] whenever alcohol is involved in any way, as it can [“Four! Five! Four! Anything you like. Only stop it, stop the pain!”].

    VERITAS: “I sincerely regret even responding.. that night.”

    “Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. It is not easy to become sane.”

  • jz

    Ok let’s sum this up: 1. She was his ex; 2. she invited him to her room; 3. she started kissing him/undressed herself; 4. they had more sex in the morning “because she felt refusal would be too emotionally exhausting;” 5. “she did not initially consider the encounter to be an instance of sexual misconduct. A few days later, however, the complainant was surprised when her friends said the respondent’s actions constituted rape because her level of intoxication rendered her unable to give consent.”

    hmmmm, clearly the guy should have gotten expelled for this.

    • newyork1974

      In the realm of the ridiculous, this one even beats the Swarthmore “I basically told him no” story. Thanks to the authors for a carefully written article that, like the Swarthmore one, is based on her version, and speaks for itself. Don’t these complainants (and their friends) realize the damage they are doing to the campaign against campus rape?

  • Guest

    In the capacity of independent fact-finder for the case: Miriam Berkman, supervisor at the _Yale-Child Study Center’s Trauma Section_.

    How deliciously appropriate.

  • theantiyale
    Sounds like the Parker Gilbert ’16 case up here at Dartmouth. LINK above.
    All Ivies are struggling in a sea of confusion in this post Age-of-Aquarius sexual liberation environment.

  • Nancy Morris

    If their alcohol levels had been reversed (his high, hers low) would anyone even entertain for a minute the possibility that she had raped (or sexually assaulted) him under the circumstances described here? After these hearings and findings? Of course not! But the arguments are exactly the same.

    For every case at Yale where the woman is inebriated and the man not when they have sex there are probably 100 cases where the man is inebriated and the woman is not. If there is a “culture of rape” (or a “culture of sexual assault”) at Yale under the standards put forth by this complainant, then it is a culture of rape or sexual abuse by Yale women of Yale men. Is the University supposed to take measures to root that out?

    • the angels have the phone box

      “If their alcohol levels had been reversed (his high, hers low) would anyone even entertain for a minute the possibility that she had raped (or sexually assaulted) him under the circumstances described here?”

      I would. Absolutely.

      • Nancy Morris

        I haven’t seen any sign of such activism on this or any other campus or otherwise, yet the phenomenon is very real. Where has your voice been sounded, other than here? Have you, for example, ever reported to authorities – or even considered reporting – a couple leaving a party with the obvious intent to couple, where the male is tipsy and the female not?

        Perhaps you hold your tongue that you might not dull us with your song? Or maybe it all depends on what your definition of “absolutely” is?

        • the angels have the phone box

          In my 8 years of partying, I intervened in one situation by talking to the girl. She was @#$%faced, stumbling and slurring, and the guy, drinking but not inebriated, was pestering her to go for a walk. I took her aside and said, “I don’t think you want to go for a walk with him.”

          If I saw a male in the same situation, whether with a female or another male, I would say the same thing to him. I’ve just never seen that situation. I do have male friends who’ve told me about times they felt a woman took advantage of them. I am not at all okay with that.

          It’s estimated that women make up 27% of perpetrators against men and 1% of perpetrators against women. These women are just as reprehensible as any male rapist.

          You don’t know me, Nancy Morris. Why are you making assumptions about me, who I am, what I’ve said,what I’ve done?

          • td2016

            What assumptions are you talking about? I don’t see any assumptions in anything Nancy wrote.

          • the angels have the phone box

            My interpretation of what she wrote (so my own assumption, I must admit), is that she’s trying to point out a double standard by saying that anti-rape activists only care about women. That’s certainly not the case with me.

            When I said so, she chose not to believe me, essentially asking me to “prove” my concern for male rape victims. I wrote a little bit about it, and answered one of her questions, and then added in statistics on women rapists to show that I would like to see them punished just as much as I would want to see a male rapist punished.

            In a comment that got deleted (I don’t know why), she said that I had never seen a situation where I wanted to intervene on the behalf of a male because I had poor powers of social observation. But as I mentioned, I intervened in a situation once in eight years. Now, 19.3% of women have been raped in their lifetimes, but only 1.7% of men. I’m thinking what I’ve observed is a question of probability, not lack of paying attention (though at a party, is anyone ever paying attention??). But she decides to chalk it up to poor observation skills.

            That’s my answer to your question. If you disagree, I urge you to provide an honest re-interpretation of her comments. I’m here for an argument, not abuse. Nudge nudge wink wink.

            My statistics come from the CDC’s report on sexual and intimate partner violence released in September, 2014.

          • td2016

            You seem to get it right when you admit your comment was based on your OWN assumptions. Nancy’s comments and questions obviously express no assumptions about you, who you are, what you’ve said or what you’ve done. That’s a pretty serious case of psychological projection you’ve got there. Your unsupported ascribing of such assumptions to Nancy also constitutes your trying to cast yourself as a victim.

            Nancy asked if you had ever taken action based on the female-on-male predation you say you are concerned and sensitive about. But you admit that you have never taken any action in a female-on-male predation situation.

            Nor do I see how any of these statistics you adduce are responsive to any of Nancy’s comments or questions or observations.

            What’s your point?

          • the angels have the phone box

            I believe I said I was here for an argument, not abuse. Try an answer that’s not an ad hom attack next time.

          • Steven

            Notice what Phone Box did not mention – that men are often the victims of female sexual predators.

            Here – from that bastion of mansplaining conservativism (/sarc) : Slate


          • the angels have the phone box

            I didn’t read your article, but I want to mention that you should get your reading comprehension skills checked:

            “It’s estimated that women make up 27% of perpetrators against men”

            I wrote that. The very thing you said I didn’t write.

          • Steven

            Oh, wait, you FINALLY addressed it – *ONCE* – and, what, you want me to now admit … what, that all your other one sided stuff is now null and void.


      • Steven

        And …. yet, not so surprising, I’ve not seen you mention nor link one stat about women who sexually assault men, but plenty for the reverse.

        It’s almost like you … don’t care. You mention it, to sound egalitarian, but then breeze past it and never look back.

        • the angels have the phone box

          Advocating for women does not imply advocating against men. I mentioned it because someone else brought it up.

    • Konrad_Lorenz

      It’s not the same thing if you reverse the sexes. Men and women relate to sex differently. For women there is an innate fear, for men there is an innate opportunism. This derives from the biological fact that the female of the species carries the child, not the male.

      • Historical_Gandalf

        So are you saying that men can’t be raped or that its not a big deal if they are?

        There can be negative consequences for men for having sex: disease, possible future child support obligation, harm to relationships, etc. that you are not taking into account.

        For example:

        Your argument for a double-standard is specious.

        • Konrad_Lorenz

          No, I’m not saying that it’s not a big deal if men are raped. I’m saying that it’s not the same thing as if a woman is raped. It’s for that reason that the list of negative consequences you come up with for men will not be identical to list for women.

      • scanspeak

        So clearly equality is a concept you’re not in favor of.

        • Konrad_Lorenz

          The question is, equality of what? Equal treatment in unequal situations is not necessarily a good form of equality.

          • Steven

            Ahh, so equality is what it means, subjectively, to whatever promotes your agenda.


          • Konrad_Lorenz

            What? You can’t just say “equality,” because equality by its very nature means equality in some aspect. Otherwise, it’s just identity (I am only equal to myself, etc.).

            So, for example, do we have equal access to job interviews, or equal income? Do we have equal freedom to speak, or equal access to audiences to speak? Are we equally free to say X and to say Y, or are we just equally free to say X and equally forbidden to say Y?

            Basic conceptual logic here…

          • Steven

            And the reply is no. Women get PREFERENTIAL treatment to hiring and the wage gap is a myth.

            Men are told to not wear certain shirts, while women cannot be told what to wear – or else “misogyny”

            Men are told to mind their manners and not harass or catcall (seen that vid?) – meanwhile telling women to keep a civil tongue is discrimination and sexism.

            The list goes on and the fact you’re unaware of it says it all.

          • Konrad_Lorenz

            LOL, OK, you’re obviously crazy. None of that stuff has anything to do with what we’re talking about here.

          • Steven

            Riiiiiight – because double standards were so not a part of the conversation.

            I want you to look up the word obtuse.

          • Steven

            No actually Korad it does. We’re discussing double standards.

            Do try to keep up ol’ boy.

      • Steven

        So – in your mind – women are delicate flowers in need of protection and incapable of their own sexual agency or determination.

        Oh, wait, only when a female wants it that way – men, OTOH, are expected to be responsible for their actions at all times.

        Sorry, but that’s not equality.

        • Konrad_Lorenz

          Both men and women are capable of agency and thus being held responsible for their behaviors.

          But it literally is not the same thing for a man and for a woman when the two have sex. Not physiologically, and not psychologically. You cannot change that biological fact with any political form.

          Our political forms can recognize the biological difference, or not. If they do, they’re not necessarily discriminating (in the negative sense), because of the rational basis for making the distinction.

          • Steven

            Oh please basically your argument is “but, but, but, … that’s different”

            But only when the argument favors feminist ideology.

            At least you’re consistent in all your postings.

          • Konrad_Lorenz

            I don’t think my argument actually does favor feminist ideology.

            Anyway, I didn’t just say “that’s different” — I described the reason for the distinction.

          • Steven

            No, in EVERY case on this post – every one – your argument has been “that’s different” and in favor of some greater responsibility for the man, greater effect of the same actions upon the female, and not once calling for females to be judged the same when it comes to responsibility.

            Go and re-read your posts.

          • Konrad_Lorenz

            Well, the standard feminist doctrine is actually that sex is the same thing for both men and women. I’m putting forth what feminists call “biotruths.”

            I never said anything about more responsibility for men or less for women. That’s not what I’m talking about.

            Actually it’s easy to think of a situation where the biological differences would work in the opposite direction: infidelity. When a woman cheats on a man, that’s a very different thing (and a worse thing) than when a man cheats on a woman. Again because of exactly the same biological difference.

      • YourMomsCat

        lol. I love when the communists admit they have a double standard

    • Joy Darby

      If, to protect men, Yale tried to prevent sober female students from sleeping with drunken males,I’d wager those guys would hold the biggest protest rally ever experienced in the history of the college.

      • Nancy Morris

        And what conclusions do you draw from that?

  • theantiyale

    The matter is complicated by a sober roommate witness in a contiguous room in the suite who heard sounds of carnal pleasure but nothing which sounded like objection and by subsequent audio experts who took readings in the rooms to determine the validity of what the witness heard —- or more importantly—- did not hear.

    The point is, in 2014 we are splitting “legal” hairs about what used to be called intoxication and promiscuity and are now states or behaviors without culturally agreed upon definitions.
    A confused state if there ever was one, Ivy League or not.

    • sy

      So right you are–the state is confused. Yale tries to address intoxication, consent, and condoms to deal with the real problem of unwanted, unromantic and frivolous sex. Every case I know is about a woman going to a bedroom with an unwanted or unromantic partner or going to a bedroom with a partner she barely knows or likes. Rape also is sex with an unwanted, unromantic partner. Only in recent years have women started going to bedrooms for unwanted, unromantic sex and then petitioning the federal government and federally-funded universities to expel their unwanted, unromantic partners, after going to their bedrooms.

  • frog

    I am the mother of both a daughter and a son now in college. Shame on anyone who calls herself a feminist and believes this boy to be a rapist. I feel sorry for this girl – she needs counseling and some assertiveness training. But by the accounts in this story, I don’t believe she was raped. Nowhere in the story does either party describe force or violence or physical injury. At no point during the event did she say she was afraid of him (only a year later when she had worked herself into a froth). Why do feminists teach our girls to abdicate all sense of personal responsibility or need for self control and yet to expect boys to be all-knowing mind readers with perfect self control. That notion diminishes women. The girl states she knew the text conversation was heading down a familiar path toward sex, yet she continues to flirt – obviously not too drunk for that amount of self-awareness. She states she was sober in the morning yet had more sex because it was too “emotionally exhausting” to say no – she made a clear and rational choice. Again that is not rape. I raised my daughter and my son to be strong, to speak up for themselves and to view men as women as equals. And they know that if they make mistakes, the mistakes are theirs to own and learn from.

    • Nancy Morris

      Bravo. Sexual regret is not rape.

    • ShadrachSmith

      Well said, Jed Rubenfeld, professor, Yale Law School wrote a similar piece in the NYT Sunday Review/Opinion called: Mishandling Rape.

      His analysis fits well with yours. I wish Yale would give you and Rubenfeld the authority to sort out this new mess of rules and be done with it.

  • gutcheck

    Regardless of your opinion about the case in question, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the administration seems to have repeatedly disregarded its own deadlines for numerous steps in the complaint process. It is not difficult to see how doing so may produce unnecessary anxiety for all parties, as well as create the perception that the process is not taken seriously. If the administration establishes a process, it should follow it, or explain why deviations must occur (and perhaps revise the stated process to accord with the real one).

    • Nikki

      Yale fines you $50 if you’re minutes late to turn in your schedule. So how come it allows itself weeks of leeway?

  • DavidDoe

    One out of five women are raped on campus. President Barack Obama has confirmed this:

    Allegation alone should be enough reason to expell these rapist men from campus.

    • flopsy

      WELL, if President Obama says so, thats that then

    • aaleli

      Obama would not recognize reality, if he lived in it.

      • trollalert

        you really do jump on every possible opportunity to bash Obama, don’t you? Doesn’t that get tiring?

        • aaleli


    • Steven

      The 1 in 5 myth has been debunked for a while.

      It follows in the wake of the 1 in 4 myth that circulated since the 1980’s.

      THAT follows from the “only 2% of claims are false” myth that came from a book in the **1970’s** written by Susan Brownmiller.

      Learn to think, not to regurgitate.

      • Philomena

        Read the CDC’s latest report, released September of this year. It’s 1 in 5.

        • NYAttorney

          Read it again — nonconsensual effort kiss is not rape, but counts in the 1 in 5 number you have made up as rape.

          • the angels have the phone box

            Where on earth are you getting that? The CDC defined “rape” in the “Methods” section of the report: “completed or attempted forced penetration or alcohol- or drug-facilitated penetration.”

            Again, they concluded that 19.3% of women have been raped in their lifetimes.

  • the angels have the phone box

    You’re right. I got the rule wrong.

    It’s not the crux of my argument, though. The crux is that even if she did initiate, as he claims she did, the prior texts make the consent SUPER ambiguous.

  • Fakey McFakename

    This is nowhere near to incapacitation. Incapacitation is the inability to understand the nature of the act. Whatever this is, it doesn’t seem anywhere near that line.

    As for whether the complainant actually did consent, it’s probably closer, but I think the panel’s right. More likely than not, this is a case of someone who was not incapacitated actually making a decision she would not have made if sober. The accused student’s behavior in taking advantage of that state was probably immoral and predatory in some sense, but not rape. The remedy for that sort of behavior would be informal social stigma, not formal discipline.

    In short, drunken and regretted consent is still consent–but just because on the balance of probabilities it wasn’t rape doesn’t mean the accused’s conduct isn’t blameworthy.

  • Redman

    Yale does not allow freshman and sophomores to live off campus, therefore they are under a moral obligation to ensure there is a safe place to live even if that means same sex dorms.

  • theantiyale

    “Men and women relate to sex differently. For women there is an innate fear, for men there is an innate opportunism. This derives from the biological fact that the female of the species carries the child, not the male.”

    Why don’t you reinvent the wheel too?
    That authority your generation ignores (Sigmund Freud) made it perfectly clear that it’s a violence thing:
    The male sword is menacing and the female harbor is defenseless against its penetration. “Battle” “warfare” all those images the gender-neutral world seeks to erase—or ignore.

  • Martin Snapp

    Yet another case of Yale siding with the accused and not the accuser. I’m a big fan of Dean Holloway’s, but I can’t help noticing a pattern here.

    • YourMomsCat

      Did you read the facts?

    • Bob

      For decades Dallas County District Attorneys had a near 100% conviction rate for minorities who committed violent crimes. Then, in 2007, Dallas County voters elected Craig Watkins, the first black District Attorney in Dallas County. Like most Dallas elected officials, Watkins wasn’t clean, so he just lost his office, but to his credit, after his initial election, Watkins re-opened hundreds of murder and rape convictions for DNA analysis. Thanks to Watkins’ efforts to finally seek real justice, many Texas convicts have been declared innocent and released from prison for wrongful convictions. So “patterns” mean nothing.

    • Josh Smith

      Is the “pattern” you being an idiot?

      Due process for the accused in these proceedings has basically been reduced to nothing. If you’re *still* claiming that an alleged victim isn’t getting a hearing process favorable to them, you’re simply delusional.

      You also appear to be under the disturbing, bizarre, and altogether asinine impression that *the goal* in such hearings is to side with the accuser. Each case is judged on its own facts.

      What the hell is wrong with you? You liberals have truly gone full fascist. It’s sickening and pathetic.

  • disqus_rRkX5fhaKw

    If he was screaming, kicking, and crying like a baby every time he didn’t get his way, then the guy was a manipulative twerp who seriously disturbed her and ruined her self-esteem to such an extent that she couldn’t fight back properly. The committee were clearly focusing on irrelevant minutiae – it wasn’t about the drinking, really, at all. It is about psychological manipulation. She was so disturbed she had to take a year off!

    • Bob

      So all women are weak victims? Seriously, what kind of mature, grounded adult puts out (man or woman) to end a temper tantrum?

      • disqus_rRkX5fhaKw

        Someone who hasn’t been taught it’s OK to tell the guy to scram. And many women haven’t been taught that. You’re probably not aware of how much psychological manipulation men often inflict on women, or the patterns of abuse involved. This one is classic.

        • Philomena

          Don’t do the whole “a man can’t understand” thing. It’s kinda bigoted. Men can be abused. I have at least two male friends who were in emotionally abusive relationships and were truly hurt by it.

          • Bob

            I had a fraternity brother whose girlfriend regularly denigrated him verbally and it was rumored she was occasionally physically abusive too. And one day I actually walked into his dorm room and saw this beautiful, petite girl punching him in the head and face. And he just took it! I was so shocked that I just backed out the door. I guess nobody taught him it’s OK to tell the girl to scram.

          • disqus_rRkX5fhaKw

            Hope you are not from THAT fraternity…

        • Get off Jordan’s nuts

          Yea because women are childlike creatures easily handled and manipulated by men.

      • disqus_rRkX5fhaKw

        You have no idea what she meant by temper tantrum – it sounds as it was psychologically threatening or damaging to her. At any rate, she has had to take a year off to heal, which is something she will have to explain about in her resume or graduate school applications. It sounds psychologically abusive. She may not have been taught a repertoire of tactics to resist such psychologically aggressive advances – many women are not – and many also do not have the self-awareness or self-confidence to push back effectively at that young an age. I am disappointed that Yale does not have a system to support women in this situation. It’s fairly clear to me that the panel was more interested in bean-counting in order not to have more legal ramifications than it was in supporting the woman, who clearly FELT raped.

      • Philomena

        Have you ever dated an emotional abuser? I have. They won’t let it go until you relent. They emotionally blackmail you: “If you loved me, you would give me a b*** j** right now.” “Knowing you don’t respect me makes me want to kill myself.” “You’re my girlfriend. You’re supposed to have sex with me.” “I’m a guy, and I want sex. You should expect I’m going to want it and be prepared so I don’t have to hear ‘no.'” “If I can’t get it from you, I’m going to get it somewhere else.” “You never initiate sex with me. I feel like you hate me and I want to die.” “If you don’t want it when I want it, then it’s obvious that you just don’t get me and you never will. I don’t know what I’m still doing with you.”

        You’ll note, some of those are angry, and some of those are self-denigrating. Tears and screaming can go along with “you don’t love me,” “I want to die” or similar. Belittling statements (“you don’t get me,” “you’re supposed to”) or threats (“I’ll cheat,” “I’ll leave you”) are often delivered with a raised voice.

        The histrionics (good word!) don’t stop. They’re long tirades. Maybe there’s some wall punching, some kicking or throwing things. It can go on for hours.

        And the thing is, in my case, despite how he liked to make it sound, we had a lot of sex. Multiple times a week. It was pretty epic sex, too. We broke his bed at one point. So when he threw his tantrums, it was frightening and painful, AND not fair.

        The positives could never make up for the other side of the coin. When you know what you’re in for if you refuse, sometimes you just don’t say no. I know that more than once I chose to just lie there and let him do his thing so I wouldn’t have to face his temper. Considering I was letting him (that was the point), it’s obviously not rape. But it’s in the same family–I didn’t want to, but because of how he treated me/manipulated me, it happened anyway.

        Maybe I’m biased, but it makes perfect sense to me why the complainant didn’t say no the morning after–after the violation the previous night, she just didn’t have it in her to refuse and deal with the fallout.

        And yes, no one should stay in a relationship like that, but that’s a different topic for a different time.

        • Bob

          I’m truly sorry for what you suffered. I take it yours was a close, long-term relationship, which allowed him to incrementally sink his emotionally abusive fangs into you. Dreadful. And a manipulation scenario I can totally understand. But to me, the story above is altogether different because it was initially a short-term relationship and the parties had spent substantial time apart before the incident. Seems apples and oranges to me but perhaps I’m wrong. I will read it again.

    • frog

      Now you are just making things up. Nowhere in the article does it say why she took the year off. It could have been for any number of reasons unrelated to this event. Also, go back and really read the article. It was the complainant who re-introduced sex into their conversation. They had mutually agreed to end their sexual relationship, and he was honoring that agreement, but then she mentioned that she was thinking about seducing him. Who was the manipulator here? Especially when she knew he still had strong feelings for her that she admitted she didn’t share.

  • Antoinette Datoc

    “In the end, the message I got was, ‘If you’d had one more shot of vodka, it would’ve been rape,’” she said. “‘Sorry. Drink more next time.’” Seriously? how about this for a message: Learn to be responsible for yourself. Do not drink yourself stupid. Sorry.

    • Philomena

      Way to understand irony.

      • NYAttorney

        There is a line between irony and stupid sarcasm — that line was the latter.

  • The_Dumb_Money

    Here, based on YDN’s recitation of the evidence, I think the panel got it right. There is a line, and nobody is sure where it is. This guy did not cover himself in glory by any means, but I just don’t think it crosses the line, even under the non-criminal, lower (civil style) standard of proof used by this panel under Title IX, let alone under a criminal law standard for actual criminal rape.

    Also, are we sure it is even really a good thing for a university sexual misconduct policy and Title IX to have a lower bar for proof (preponderance, requiring only 50.1% certainty) than under criminal law for the same category of acts? The above is not a rhetorical question. I’m not sure I have an answer. What purpose does it serve to convict someone in a private court, for something he or she could not be convicted for in criminal court? Is it a way to let morality on such issues evolve in such a manner that if its evolution goes too far or too quickly, only reputations are destroyed, but people are not imprisoned? Maybe that’s fine. I haven’t thought about it until reading this. It’s just important to recognize the choice of standard itself has costs as well as benefits.

    It’s also important to recognize that under the law, this guy would not be a “rapist” even if the panel have found him guilty of misconduct. A rapist is somebody who gets convicted in a court of criminal law after a trial (or by plea) under a much higher standard of proof than was being employed here.

    (30-something alumnus here: maleus caucasianus.)

    • concerned

      Title IX is in reference to higher education for women, and equal opportunities therein. The parties did not meet from a random population on the street, and furthermore not only share the same living situation but expectations of collegiality and an environment of safety and trust. This situation should not be allowed to provide open access on demand favors in the service of a sober sexual aggressor; it does force most women and their friends to have to call the police rather than second guess a sexual aggressor’s motives in a student’s dorm room.

      • Philomena

        Title IX says that discrimination based on sex is illegal. It protects men as well as women. For example, there is not currently a men’s gymnastics team at Yale (or there wasn’t four years ago, anyway). If interest for one arose, Yale would have to supply them with facilities and equipment equal in quality as those for the women’s team.

        If a male student were sexually harassed by a professor (or student, or staff member), he too would be protected by Title IX.

        • Peter Houlihan

          “he too would be protected by Title IX.”

          He would in theory. In practice he’s still guilty of being male.

      • The_Dumb_Money

        You and Philomena are both completely missing the point of my Title IX statement, which related to the burden. This is derived directly from the article. To make it easier, I’ll quote the article: “A preponderance of the evidence is the legal burden of proof the UWC employs in weighing complaints of sexual misconduct, as mandated by Title IX.” Better?

    • Philomena

      In criminal proceedings, only 25% of rapists reported to the police are ever arrested. Of those arrested who are actual rapists, 88% never see the inside of a jail cell. When you include assaults not reported, it’s only 10% of rapists ever arrested and 97% still going about their business in society. I got these statistics from RAINN’s website.

      So, given the horrendous job the criminal justice system is doing at keeping rapists off the streets, I wouldn’t encourage anyone to follow their model.

      As for whether or not the preponderance standard is fair, I argue that it is. A college isn’t going to tell an offender, “Go sit behind bars and face institutional abuse for 8 years,” they’re just saying, “Your behavior is not what we want on our campus, so please leave.” If a preponderance of evidence says he’s guilty of sexual assault, a college is perfectly justified in saying, “Hey, you’re a liability, you’ve clearly hurt someone, please leave.”

      Also, point of clarification: The woman was blackout drunk, AND she had told him she was quite drunk AND he said in a text that she seemed very drunk. Under CT law, being blackout drunk is considered impaired enough not to be able to consent, and it’s reasonable to expect him to have known it. So under CT law, respondent is guilty of rape.

      Would a court of law find him so? Probably not.

      Another thing worth noting is that *he’s* the one who says she initiated and participated enthusiastically. No one’s willing to take her word for it, but everyone’s so willing to believe him. Is it just me, or is that a double standard?

      (Late 20’s alumna here: non-Hispanic white, raped in high school at age 18)

      • branford73

        “Under CT law, being blackout drunk is considered impaired enough not to be able to consent, and it’s reasonable to expect him to have known it. So under CT law, respondent is guilty of rape.”

        I’d like to see a citation reference for that assertion. I suspect you are confusing the terms “blackout” drunk with “passed out” drunk. Blackout refers to loss of memory of a past event, not loss of physical or mental capacity at the time of the event. One can certainly act with intent but not remember doing so.

        Here’s what I could find in the Connecticut statutes that apply to the factual situation reported. Note that the mental incapacitation required to obliterate consent where the person is not physically incapacitated also requires that the intoxicant be administered by someone other than the victim. As another poster suggested, this makes Connecticut a more difficult place than many to secure a sexual assault conviction in drunk but not passed out cases.

        Sec. 53a-65. Definitions. As used in this part, (Sexual Offenses)

        (5) “Mentally incapacitated” means that a person is rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling such person’s conduct owing to the influence of a drug or intoxicating substance administered to such person without such person’s consent, or owing to any other act committed upon such person without such person’s consent.

        (6) “Physically helpless” means that a person is unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.

        Sec. 53a-70. Sexual assault in the first degree: Class B or A
        felony. (a) A person is guilty of sexual assault in the first degree when such person . . . . (4) engages in sexual intercourse with another person and such other person is mentally incapacitated to the extent that such other person is unable to consent to such sexual intercourse.

        Sec. 53a-71. Sexual assault in the second degree: Class C or B felony. (a) A person is guilty of sexual assault in the second degree when such person engages in sexual intercourse with another person and . . . (3) such other person is physically helpless.

        • the angels have the phone box

          Please don’t take me for an idiot. I went to college. I know what blackout means. Come on. (<–said in good humor.)

          I also know that drinking to the point of blackout is so common that it's become normalized in our culture. But if you look at it from a physiological perspective, what's happening to the brain is very, very scary.

          A sharp rise in the BAC blocks certain neurotransmitter receptors, which triggers a chain reaction ultimately more or less shutting down the areas of the hippocampus responsible for new memory formation.

          Because the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex are sort of a team working on project form-new-memories, the next area of the brain to get hit is the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for things like thinking, making decisions and self control. We're used to the idea that alcohol impairs judgment. But once your hippocampal function is severely impaired, the poor judgment plus the anterograde amnesia makes things in the prefrontal cortex get really weird.

          As an extreme example, I'm going to bring up Phineas Gage. In case you don't know, Gage was a guy in the 1800's who survived a railroad spike through the head. The spike cauterized the wound, so he made a healthy recovery–except he became a completely different person. Belligerent, rude, really nasty. People who knew him just didn't recognize him. Guess which part of the brain the spike hit? Correct, the frontal lobes.

          So, there are different levels of being blackout drunk, for sure. But you cannot trust that a person who is blackout drunk is making the kinds of choices typical of themselves. In fact, you should assume they are not. That's why being blackout drunk is considered incapacitated for the purposes of consenting to sex. Having sex with a person who is blackout is taking advantage of someone in a severely compromised state. Importantly, the law requires that the other person either knew or should have known of the person's state in order to be convicted, which is as it should be, as hard as that may be for the "victim." (Can't think of a better word.)

          You're right to ask for a citation. I have a case in my head, but the only details I remember are that the girl was blackout and the guy was ultimately convicted. I can't remember about who served her the alcohol.

          • branford73

            Sorry for my assumption on your knowledge of the terms. And I’m OK with the use of the term victim here. It seems she sincerely believes she did not give consent and/or was incapable of giving consent.

            You’re right in saying that for criminal law for a conviction the improper intent of the perpetrator must be shown. That can be done with actual knowledge (from his prior experience he knows what she’s like when she’s drunk and knows she does things she doesn’t want to do) or imputed knowledge (he should have known based on observed behavior and statements).

            “Should have known” is based on a “reasonable person” standard and I daresay the compromised state of “blackout” drunk you describe is not general knowledge. It suggests someone should know there isn’t capacity when behavior and statements indicate there is. I would be quite surprised If a U.S. court instructed a jury to attribute such knowledge to a defendant.

            Certainly Connecticut’s statutory definition of mental incapacity I cited above would not even allow evidence of her “blackout” intoxication level if she voluntarily drank, so I’m still mystified by your statement that under CT law she was raped. (Unless my on-line code search is out of date and there has been a change.)

            To me the case shows the contrast of subjective belief of non-consent or incapacitation on the one hand to evidence of communication of consent and capacity to the accused on the other. It seems reasonable to believe he sincerely thought she changed her mind from ambivalent to yes, let’s do it.

            We don’t know whether anyone on the Committee asked him why, once he was face to face with her in her room, he didn’t clarify with her verbally that she changed her mind. Maybe they did ask and were satisfied with his answer.

      • The_Dumb_Money

        Philomena, by definition someone cannot be a “rapist” at the time of report to the police. At that point, he or she is an “accused rapist,” with the accusations completely unproven. That follows logically from the fact that courts of law exist.

        Here, specifically, I think their respective testimony about what happened after the texts stopped is equally suspect, and I largely discount it. I would decide for him on the basis of the texts, which more strongly support his version. If everything she says about later events is true, then it was probably sexual misconduct by him. If everything he says is true, then it was definitely not. I prefer not to simply assume one person is telling the truth, and I think it is unfair to do so.

        That is why I discount their subsequent statements, and look at the texts. Someone who texts ““I mean … sex is awesome, and I might try to get it from you. But I shouldn’t. I don’t think,” and then “Goto [sic] my room I’ll be there soon,” is simply not “blackout drunk.” I have been blackout drunk, and that ain’t it. Moreover, as noted by a prior comment, while these might theoretically be interpreted as someone saying that they are too drunk to mess around, they are much more reasonably interpreted as rather typical “commonly paired opening steps in a time-honored and very well known courtship dance.” That interpretation is strongly supported by the fact that she told him to go her room.

        Finally, I have been drunk enough that the next morning I did not remember much, but multiple friends told me I interacted perfectly normally with them during the timeframe I cannot remember. Assuming I had sex with someone during such a time that I subsequently could not remember, would that make it “rape,” if during that time, I was presenting a relatively normal front to that person? I don’t think so.

        I am a parent of both a young son and a young daughter, and you all can be darn sure I’ll be having conversations with both of them one day about this. Neither had better ever act in either of these roles, as both of these people used very poor judgment. More broadly, the very idea of having sex while drunk to *any* significant degree is probably on its way out, given cultural shifts indicated by this situation. That is probably not a bad idea. I was never a hookup kind of person, the whole thing icks me out, and I’ve been married for many years to the woman I met at Yale (in a non-hookup fashion). It’s all a bit ironic though, because a significant reason why college students historically drink at all is precisely to lower their inhibitions and change their mental state so that they can get themselves laid. At a minimum though, it had better be done when both parties are drunk.

        • the angels have the phone box

          See my response below to branford73 for why a person who is blackout is not capable of consenting to sex.

          If you have sex while you are blackout drunk, the person can only be held responsible for raping you if s/he knew or should have known you were blackout. Since it’s not always obvious, it’s good to have that rule. Also, even if you were blackout, but upon learning of the encounter your reaction is, “Awesome! I got laid!” then it’s definitely not rape. Or it is by the letter, but not by the spirit. A lot of people have the opposite response to it, though.

          It honestly makes me feel kind of sick to hear a young woman’s drunken back and forth described as flirting or courtship. What kind of guy has sex with a woman who’s been sending such drunken mixed messages? To me it means that he doesn’t care too much how she feels so long as he gets to put his you know what you know where, consent be damned.

          Finally, what you said about rapist vs. alleged rapist only applies if you’re speaking about a specific person in a public forum, because without the “alleged” it’s libel. If someone commits rape, though, he’s a rapist, regardless of what a court of law says.

          • guest

            The biggest question is how do you determine someone is blackout? How is the defendant to know? How do you quantify it in court? I’ve been far drunker and remembered, than times I drank too much too fast and blacked out. I know some people who are perfectly functional while blackout, and others who are complete messes. I don’t disagree with you that it qualifies as rape. The question is how do people know at the time? Also how do you qualify it to law enforcement or the court?

        • Katie Harrison

          I think the semantics of the word “rapist” are a problem here, and in a lot of conversations about rape between men and women, or lawyers and feminists, or whatever.

          When I (and some other people on this thread) use the word, they don’t mean “according to the US Government, convicted of a sexual assault charge in a court of law.” They mean “in life, in the real world, this person raped me or my friend, and I know it to be true.” Because though it’s not my right to convict someone who assaulted me (or someone I know and trust their account), it is my right to say, to myself and people I care about (and, some might say, to anyone I please, ), that I know who this person is and what they did to me.

          (I’m not saying I agree or disagree about the decision of the panel, just a comment on language.)

          20-something alum, chiming in late. Don’t know these folks, just speaking from personal experience.

      • Peter Houlihan

        They’re only doing a horrendous job if you were to assume that all, or even most, of the people who didn’t end up in jail were provably guilty. In fact, even then, some of the people they send to jail are innocent. So we can’t conclude that even the ones which are found guilty are rapists.

        And it’s not “Hey, you’re a liability, you’ve clearly hurt someone, please leave.” it’s “Hey, we heard two stories, guessed which one sounds more true according two our biases and you got the short straw. Good luck with that college loan, lol.”

        * She claims she was blackout drunk, but hadn’t actually drunk all that much.

        * She told him that she was drunk, but implied that she still wanted to have sex.

        Sure he’s the one who says she initiated, and no it’s not a double standard. They’re not supposed to find someone guilty merely on an accusation, just as they couldn’t find her guilty of making a false report merely because he said she lied.

        (Age, race and sexual history irrelevant)

  • Randall Floyd

    There isn’t much to be said that hasn’t already said in the comments below, but I’ll try to just provide a few other perspectives.

    A common argument used to advance affirmative consent laws is something to the extent of “If you were blackout drunk and someone robbed your house, they would still be a thief.” In this story, however, I think the metaphor is a bit closer to someone getting drunk, purchasing hundreds of dollars worth of non-returnable goods on the internet, and then suing Amazon for robbery. There is a difference between being obviously taken advantage of while drunk (e.g., if she was passed out or very close to it), and what happened in this scenario. Likewise, if she (or anyone) got drunk and then stole a car, punched someone, etc.–she would be liable for whatever she did, so it’s hard to see why she suddenly becomes void of all responsibility when sex is involved.

    Another interesting way to see this case would be to imagine this scene playing out, instead of via text messages, in real life. The accuser’s case seems to kind of lie on her text that said “I shouldn’t. I don’t think,” and then jumping to the conclusion that that was a firm “no,” so since she ended up having sex later in the night, it must have been rape. But imagine that the two were talking at a bar. “Want to go to my place?” The accused might ask. “No, I don’t think we should tonight,” the accuser might have responded. If after ten minutes of discussion he was able to change her mind, he left the bar, and she willingly followed him, her earlier remarks would not revoke her later consent. Perhaps in this case she was substantially more drunk by the time she invited him over, but there was no way for the guy to tell this, and especially if they had had drunken sex before, it would be extremely hard for him to understand why this time would be any different. Taken in combination with the point above, it almost seems like the accuser’s side is trying to criminalize men wanting to have sex.

  • disqus_rRkX5fhaKw

    What was the gender and racial balance of this panel? Unless it’s gender-balanced and has sufficient representation from ethnic minorities (at the least, Asian/Asian-American, African-American, and Hispanic, and ideally a third of the panel), it’s prone to bias.

    • the angels have the phone box

      We live in a society that blames the victim. If the panel is composed of human beings, it’s prone to bias.

      And I can’t really tell if you’re being serious, but I hate the idea that all the different races are SO DIFFERENT that they can’t consider a case of sexual misconduct fairly and without bias. I’m white. If I am accused of a crime and brought to trial, if the judge is (for example) Native Alaskan, should I complain citing bias?

      It would be chaos if everyone started doing that.

      • disqus_rRkX5fhaKw

        As a non-white woman who reported two sexual harassment incidents (and could have reported many more), I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that race (and culture) absolutely matter. It governs everyday behavior through microaggressions in public places and elsewhere. It also means people make assumptions – e.g., white college roommates calling the police when their new non-white roommate falls asleep on the couch. Popular culture has long pushed the myth that non-white women are always available to white men, and unfortunately there are many white men who think they can do anything they want with non-white women. That assumption is what is behind the rage over #takedownjulienblanc. In the Yale case described, I find myself wondering if the young woman came from a culture that taught deference while the man came from a privileged background. And as often these types of institutional panels are biased toward preserving management anyway, it makes it doubly bad if the panel is mostly white men, as they’ll more naturally side with the privileged white boy. I’ve now looked on the UWC website and find that the committee looks gender-balanced and appears to have some ethnic diversity. But perhaps it could use more ethnic diversity.

        • the angels have the phone box

          I remember well #solidarityisforwhitewomen, and I get it (to the extent that my background allows). And the intersection of racism/cultural bias and misogyny is important to consider for sure. Do a google image search of the word “Latina.” No quotes, no anything, just the word. But only do it if you feel like being angry.

          I agree that it’s hugely problematic if the panel is all white or all male. It’s the need for prescribed ratios of cultures/races/ethnicities that I object to. It’s a five-person panel, after all.

          Also, if you want to ensure fairness for a female victim, gender balance could backfire. When prosecuting a rape trial, the prosecutor does everything s/he can to get women off the jury. Women are far more judgmental of other women than men are. Just some food for thought.

  • Philomena

    No one’s saying that a jury would reach a guilty verdict. People like to hate on rape victims. A jury would likely find the same way the UWC did.

    But the complainant was raped if you follow the letter of the statute. Which you got wrong, by the way:

    “(a) A person is guilty of sexual assault in the first degree when such person…(4) engages in sexual intercourse with another person and such other person is mentally incapacitated to the extent that such other person is unable to consent to such sexual intercourse.”

    You don’t have to be unconscious. Just “mentally incapacitated,” and people who are intoxicated to the point of a “blackout” (i.e., their brain function is so impaired that formation of new memories is almost completely disabled–this is a big deal, despite drinking to blackout being normalized on college campuses), are considered mentally incapacitated.

    The perp doesn’t have to serve the alcohol. S/he just has to either have known or SHOULD have known what state the victim was in, as the respondent certainly should have known and probably did know the complainant was.

    • branford73

      But under the Connecticut statutes on sexual offenses “mental incapacitation” must not have been caused by the victim’s own voluntary intoxication.

      Section 53a-65
      (5) “Mentally incapacitated” means that a person is rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling such person’s conduct owing to the influence of a drug or intoxicating substance administered to such person without such person’s consent, or owing to any other act committed upon such person without such person’s consent.

  • disqus_72aemgCM02

    As far as I know, the drinking age is 21. Most students are under 21. The issue seems to be whether the complaining party’s judgment was impaired as a result of alcohol consumption. No alcohol consumption, no incident. Rather than litigating emotions and the resulting ambiguous sexual encounters, the completely legal elimination of alcohol on campus or purchase of alcohol seems to be the way to deal with “he said, she said,” impossible-to-adjudicate sexual encounters between teenagers.

    • disqus_rRkX5fhaKw

      Your suggestion would be great, but I would think, difficult to implement. The university can keep alcohol out of large college-sponsored parties, but they really can’t in a dorm room. There will always be a 21-y-o student willing to supply younger students, or liquor stores willing to look the other way. You’d have to have dorm advisers making surprise visits to dorm rooms all the time to implement it. That would create a police-state atmosphere.

      I think it would be more constructive, and more executable, to hold a mandatory awareness lecture or workshop that everyone – students, faculty, staff – attends the first week of class. Ideally the lecture would include information for potential victims – signs to watch out for in psychological or physical manipulation, that it’s OK to say no, different ways to fight back or resist. It would raise awareness among potential predators of the behaviors that are not considered OK. It would outline sources of counseling and support where people can go if they sense things are becoming uncomfortable, before they end up in an unwanted situation. It would be best to teach this in a workshop situation where people can play-act, but even a lecture would probably be useful.

    • Peter Houlihan

      Or they could just abstain from sex entirely, that would solve the problem too. Except that neither of those things are likely to happen this century.

  • WashingtonDame

    The campus system for handling these types of complaints is completely lacking in due process that it’s a complete joke. If a woman thinks that she’s raped, call the police, and by that, I mean the REAL police, not the campus rent-a-cops.

    • concerned

      I think there may already be a deal with the city that New Haven Police will not take the call and force an on-campus victim to call YPD. So if that is the procedure agreed upon by Yale (Dorothy Robinson) and the city (Dean Esserman), there are no REAL police available to a student in order to bring charges against another Yale affiliate. Unfortunately it seems you have to get yourself killed before NHPD gets involved (Linda Lorimer could tell you more about that). The graduate student murdered on campus might not have struggled so definitely against the Yale affiliate attempting to rape her had her wedding not been scheduled for within days following that assault. I don’t know who gets the state to drop assault charges when a murder does not ensue, because there are no such trials that I am aware of.

  • dnager

    Both students seem to have been set up for pain, with a rule change likely in order.

    If he had served her drinks, drink would be highly material. Instead, a bright woman made a willful choice to drink her own smarts away. Logical result: she is accountable for her words and actions to other and Yale. As she consented, it’s not rape.

    It seems Yale’s committee may have used such logic,. As a result, the woman and her friends who read the rules feel understandably jilted. Thus, she may have a legitimate beef with Yale. Yale did right by him, which is good. If she has a case with Yale, Yale has resources to recompense her. That may be the best result for all.

    A simple test:
    if he had poured the drinks, would the committee have found guilt?

    If so, Yale needs to refine its rule to reflect drinking agency.

  • Josh Smith

    If you have to be *persuaded by your friends* that you were raped, you probably were not raped.

    • Bob

      I agree…and I love Squidbillies!

  • Yitzchak Lipszyc

    Shorter version: woman drinks to lower her inhibitions, summons her boyfriend for sex, much later comes to regret it with the encouragement of various feminists and can’t stand the sight of him around campus anymore, so she tries to get him expelled from college and ruin his life. If she had achieved this “slam dunk” she would have done a little victory dance and high-fived all her friends! Revenge is sweet!

    Spurned lovers have always had fantasies about punishing their exes but it’s sick that our society empowers and encourages these women (and only women), who seem somewhat mentally unstable to begin with, to try to turn these fantasies into reality. Their enablers may think that they are bringing down the patriarchy or something but they are merely discrediting the whole concept of “rape” and making it harder for real victims to be believed. Wiser heads (and a wiser system) would have told this young woman that lover’s quarrels are private matters and that she should get over this relationship and move on with her life. It is clear that this process (especially given that she did not achieve the desired “slam dunk”) has been (almost) as destructive to her as it has been to her ex and she should have never been encouraged to go down this road. But , since you are not permitted to “blame the victim” (even when the “victim” invites someone over for sex) she was instead given false encouragement at every step until she believed that she had achieved a “slam dunk”, only to be let down in the end.

    • Guest

      “…somewhat mentally unstable to begin with.”

      Truer words never… caveat emptor…

  • Dedwards

    The fact that this case was pushed by the powers that be in the Title 9 office is more proof that the UWS/Title 9 intelligentsia (if we give them that much credit) is determined to nail some poor sap irrespective of his innocence.

    Also that leads me to ask: Who are the people who comprise the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct (and why Misconduct instead of Conduct… the name itself implies that the accused are assumed guilty!)? Are the members of the committee themselves in stable heterosexual relationships? You would think that would be a prerequisite seeing as it is their role to opine on the guilt or innocence of young men and women engaging in sexual activity.

    Just a quick Dedwards prognostication: One or more of the members of the UWS will be involved in a public domestic abuse situation within the next 5 years. Timestamp it. The pot will get a chance to call the kettle black.

  • yccc

    ““In the end, the message I got was, ‘If you’d had one more shot of vodka, it would’ve been rape,’” she said. “‘Sorry. Drink more next time.’”
    — Oh honey, no. We all know you are smarter than that. The message was, “We cannot punish a young man who had no reason to think you didn’t want to have sex with him at that moment.” And while I consider myself a feminist 100% and am not in the least bit afraid to call a rape a rape — this situation was pretty cut and dry. And it wasn’t rape.

    This whole scenario does suck for everyone, but the worst thing about it is how poorly the Yale administrators involved dealt with the process. The lack of care and caution and the extreme time delays… Who DOES this system work for? neither the complainant nor the respondent, certainly. Yale comes off as not caring about its students on either side of the situation. There has to be a better way to deal with these things.

    • Bob

      A rational feminist voice. Respect!

      • Katie Harrison

        You sound like you’re not a feminist, which is fine, but as such, your opinion on her “rationality” feels a little nasty, given the implied condescension for most other feminist voices.

        Just sayin’.

        • yccc

          (Thanks Bob, but Katie, I actually kinda agree.)

        • Peter Houlihan

          Given the usual feminist line in these cases (it’s rape if she drank anything) I’d say he was being accurate, not nasty.

    • Katie Harrison

      On the one hand…your reading of the facts as presented is a valid one, I think. And certainly the timeline and the process should be better.

      On the other hand, can I understand that as an emotional reaction to having sex you regret when you were drunk, that you maybe did not want to have at the time but were too out of it to really do something about? Yes, definitely. Don’t think it calls for the condescension of “oh, honey, no.”

      We need to do better at having these conversations before this happens. All of you jumping all over yourselves to tell her (and, like, the 5% of you offering advice to the man in this story) how she should have run her sex life: I am hoping you are actively having conversations in your lives with the people you care about, especially the young people, about how to navigate challenging sexual situations and drinking, instead of just jumping all over a young person who is doing her best to do that and who sounds pretty thoughtful to me in her comments (if not her actions while intoxicated).

      • yccc

        I hear you — and I agree, we do need to do better at having these conversations!

        On many levels, I understand the predicament of regretting sex (I’ve been there! and so have many of my friends) and I do think this girl was for the most part thoughtful… though I wholly disagree with the idea that she was “too out of it to really do something” considering the texts she sent and the fact that she undressed herself, had sex twice, and then had sex while sober the next morning.

        The “oh honey no”: admittedly a little condescending and I take responsibility for that. It was my strong reaction to this young woman’s completely immature statement that Yale was telling her “drink more next time.” That statement struck me as incredibly volatile — and quite literally, from the rest of her comments and analysis of the situation, we DO know she is smarter than to think that was Yale’s message.

        I think to be honest, as a feminist, a recent Yale grad, and a young woman who believes we should all be safe and that sexual assault needs to be taken much more seriously — I am so SO frustrated and disappointed that this is the case that has gotten the most press attention (well, YDN attention) since the Title IX suit a few years back. I get that it’s because the complainant made the decision to share all the materials with the YDN. But it feels like a “boy who cried wolf” situation in my opinion. This is the perfect fuel for people who think girls are “crying rape” all over college campuses and ruining young mens’ live because of their own sexual regret. The article still manages to highlight the ways in which Yale’s administration poorly manages the reporting process. But I agree with Yale’s decision not to punish this young man 100%.

        Where are the stories about women who did say “no” and were ignored by Yale? they didn’t have to have been physically or violently forced into it (I’m not looking for “legitimate rape” here), but something even a LITTLE more in the grey area… any story that would give us something to grasp onto when asking Yale to improve their policies and practices. And something that doesn’t make me wonder, “have we been blowing it all out of proportion?”

      • Peter Houlihan

        It absolutely calls for that. If an individual absolves themselves of all personal responsibility when they drink (a small amount of) alcohol, others conclude as such, and they decide that next time they’ll solve the situation by drinking more, it’s completely justified to say that they’ve come to the wrong conclusion.

        I don’t intend to tell her how to run her sex life, but if she does decide to have sex with someone who has every reason to believe she wants to, she doesn’t have the right to retroactively revoke consent and call it rape.

  • Guest

    Pivotal question: should campus policy prepare students for the legal
    responsibilities and protections of the wider society, or encourage
    them to abdicate both those responsibilities and their own agency to

    1) In the “real world”, only contemporaneous consent
    counts for determining if sex is rape. You are free to change your
    mind to stop having sex, after saying yes. And you are also free to
    change your mind and consent to sex, even after declaring a previous
    intent to never do so again.

    The lesson: be careful what you
    consent to in the moment, especially if your actions and ideals are not
    consistent with each other. The resulting cognitive dissonance is
    extremely unpleasant.

    2) In the “real world”, short of
    incoherence/unconsciousness, only *involuntary* intoxication (e.g.,
    being roofied) invalidates your contemporaneous consent. Connecticut
    Penal Code Chapter 952 section 53a-65(5) (defining “Mentally
    incapacitated” to exclude voluntary intoxication.)

    Lesson: If
    sober-you cannot accept the decisions (voluntarily) drunk-you makes,
    sober-you should decide to drink less, so drunk-you can’t take the

    If sober-you knows that drunk-you will seek out sex that
    sober-you doesn’t want, but still cannot stop drinking, my heart goes
    out to you. Addiction is not a moral failing, but it can be emotionally
    devastating, and I hope anyone suffering with this is able to get help
    with their substance abuse problems.

  • Kris

    if getting behind the wheel drunk is considered to be voluntary, so is having sex with a guy drunk and leading him on. PERIOD.

    • Guest

      I disagree that the “leading him on” is relevant to consent, because consent can be revoked at any time, for any reason (or no reason at all).

      But, this isn’t “leading him on,” so much as “affirmatively consenting at the time.”

  • ARM

    Pivotal question: should campus policy prepare students for the legal responsibilities and protections of the wider society, or encourage them to abdicate both those responsibilities and their own agency to others?

    1) In the “real world”, only contemporaneous consent counts for determining if sex is rape. You are *always* free to change your mind, but that is true in either direction.

    2) In the “real world”, short of incoherence/unconsciousness, only *involuntary* intoxication (e.g., being roofied) invalidates your contemporaneous consent.

    When you choose to intoxicate yourself, you are also choosing to take responsibility for any bad decisions you make in the moment — decisions like consenting to sex with your ex. So, if sober-you knows that drunk-you will seek out sex that sober-you doesn’t want, it’s going to be on sober-you to drink less, so drunk-you can’t take the wheel.

    If you still cannot stop drinking, my heart goes out to you. I hope anyone suffering with addiction issues is able to get help with their substance abuse patterns.