In an ideal world, we would be able to wear what we want and laugh the night away on dance floors, making brilliant memories with our friends. Memories to cherish, shimmying around in heels, head thrown back, lost in pure happiness.
In this ideal land, people would respect our rights and treat us the way they should. There would be no drink driving, no fraud and no opportunists; to be an opportunist you take more than your fair share at someone else’s expense, taking advantage as temptation arises.
Here you could leave your keys in your car with the engine running, bankcard in the ATM, and sleep with your door unlocked at night. That land would be heaven on earth – but it’s not reality.
Unfortunately, the world around us isn’t as shiny and pure as we the one we fight for, where everyone’s rights are respected.
Before you go out to make memories with your friends tonight, ask yourself this: Would you say to your daughter as she heads out of the door “drink as much as you want”, or “be careful”?
Women share experiences of sexual violence on Twitter. Post continues after video.
Would you tell her, “knock back all the drinks you can, make yourself vulnerable, go for it because no one has the right to rape you” or would you say, “drink sensibly, please take care of yourself”.
Of course, you would want her to be safe. You would tell her that getting drunk puts you at greater risk of danger, it reduces your ability to recognise risks and escape from harm. There are men out there who will take advantage of a drunk girl.
The connection between alcohol and sexual assault is crystal clear. There are ways we can try to reduce the risk of sexual assault and it’s important to remember that teaching prevention isn’t victim blaming. Do we want to be outraged – or try to keep people safe? There’s a distinction between an idealistic, theoretical fantasyland where rights are respected – and reality.
It’s estimated that 25 per cent of American women have experienced sexual assault, including rape. Approximately half of those cases involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, victim or both.