Straight Talk Advice

Girl raped while passed out from drinking

Dec 14, 2011

Rape is wrong. It doesn’t matter if you are drunk.

DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: I am helping a friend in my dorm through a terrible experience. She passed out from drinking at a party and was put in a bedroom to sleep it off. She woke up in pain with somebody on top of her. It was like a bad dream that ended quickly. The next day, her genitals were raw and her pants were on the floor. I have tried to take her to a doctor, but she’s so scared she just wants to wait and see if her period comes. This is making me sick. Has anyone had experience with guys raping girls while they are passed out? Also, how can I get her to see a doctor? — Just sign me “Somebody’s Friend”

McKenna 24, Redding, Calif. Ask me a question

My heart goes out to your friend. I, too, was raped while passed out at a party. I drank too much and my friends carried me to another room where I woke up being raped by someone I knew. My recovery was slow and painful. The help of a good friend would have made all the difference. I totally blamed myself. I was scared I might be pregnant or have an STI. I was scared for my emotional health if I acknowledged being raped. Worst of all, I felt incredibly alone. When I finally did reach out to friends, most didn’t say what I desperately needed to hear: that it wasn’t my fault, that I didn’t deserve it, and that whoever raped me was incredibly wrong for doing so. Reassuring statements like these might persuade her to see a doctor. Your support could save her from unhealthy coping mechanisms that will make things worse.

Kristie 19, San Jose, Calif. Ask me a question

Just take her! It’s never too late. My younger sister was drugged and raped by an older guy when she was 13. She had bruises on her neck, legs and arms from it. Part of her just wanted to forget it ever happened, but from the look in her eye, I knew she was scared and wanted help. I told my parents even though I promised I wouldn't. (I didn't want to look back and regret not doing anything.) At the doctor’s she admitted to being raped. I'm not sure who she would be now if she hadn’t. Everyone there was so caring and supportive it really helped her move forward.

Ari 22, Los Angeles Ask me a question

When I was 17, I also awoke from a blackout to find myself having sex. I was in a lot of pain and was yelling stop. The next morning my hair was all over the bed and I was really sore. I drove straight to the hospital and was checked for STIs. The nurse said I had the signs of rape and should report the guy. But because I'd been drunk, I questioned myself. What if I had come on to him earlier and he was just following through? What if it wasn't an actual rape? Be supportive and get your friend to a hospital ASAP!

DEAR SOMEONE'S FRIENDThank heaven she has you. I wish I could tell her myself, over and over: this wasn’t your fault, you didn't deserve this, it doesn't matter how drunk you were or how much flirting you might have done. What this man did was dead wrong — not to mention cowardly, sick and illegal. Showing your friend what the panel wrote should convince her see a doctor. Once she regains her balance, if she has any memory of who did this, I encourage her to report him — just as I encourage McKenna and Ari. Until victims break the silence, vipers such as he will continue striking. It's never too late to come forward.

Editor's Note: My heart goes out to all these women and others who have been through this. I thank the panelists and "Someone's Friend" for the courage to tell their stories.

When I first got the letter from "Someone's Friend," I had no idea that some guys were getting their rocks off by raping unconscious girls. This did not happen when I was a teen. Then, when I got the responses from the panelists, I was mortified to find that it wasn't uncommon. Jessie, another panelist, reports, "This is a scenario that every girl who parties is afraid of."

As in all cases of rape, victims usually stay quiet. And in the case of being raped while unconscious or semi-conscious from partying, most victims probably think their case won't stand because of the inebriation factor. Or they are confused as to the definition of rape, as in Ari's case. (Let me clarify: If someone is struggling and saying stop, that's rape. It doesn't matter if was there was prior flirting.)

Difficult as it is emotionally, I encourage victims to "take back the night" and press charges on these people. If one gets to a doctor within 24 hours of a rape, the rape can be confirmed due to damage to the genital tissues and a semen sample can be taken for identification purposes. I give the same encouragement to non-victims who know who the rapist is. Do you really want this person to continue harming women like this? Who might be next? Your sister? A good friend? You're sturdy. No one just raped you. Occupy this! —Lauren

  1. By Bill, age , from Foresthill, CA on 12/18/2011

    Pleas note the CA Penal Code defines rape as an act by intoxication as well as force.

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  2. By donald Reed, age , from Cloverdale, CA on 12/20/2011

    Lauren I am far from being a teenager, however, reading last Sundays column on the rape I asked my wife who had attended frat parties while she was in nurses training if she had ever seen anything like this discussed today.  I had never joined a frat while in college, however, I had never heard of this type of incidents.
    She reminded me that girls drinking and all the college partying going on today would have labled a girl as “easy” “loose” and just being drunk was enough to lose friends.  Parents must start to teach children that drink, parties and sex acts have there own way of punishment. 
    I will give one point that rape was not talked about and was always consided the girls fault.  The fact that someone can ask the questions shows we have come a long ways from the 1940/50s.
    You and your group can be a leader in trying to educate against all the ideas that getting high, gassed or wasted as being a mark of attainment.

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  3. By ed, age , from sonoma, CA USA on 12/20/2011

    Who is telling young girls that if they don’t want to wake up from passing out drunk to find that they have been raped, DON“T DRINK UNTIL YOU PASS OUT!

    I am NOT absolving men of their responsibilities.  However, at the same time, it is true that all people killed in crosswalks who did not look before crossing may be RIGHT – cars SHOULD have stopped’ they were SUPPOSED to stop; it’s the LAW – may be RIGHT, but they are still DEAD.  Small consolation that they were “right”.

    There are lots of examples like this.


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  4. By Jo22, age 24, from Scotland on 12/16/2015

    About 3 years ago, I was raped in my own bed, whilst passed out drunk, by a boy I considered a friend.
    I too had been put to bed after too many drinks whilst the party carried on in the living room where my boyfriend & other friends sat. One of the lads had left the room & everyone assumed he’d left, was in the toilet or had decided to crash in the bed for a bit. Nobody thought to come through & check if everything was OK because nobody would even begin to comprehend what happened.
    I woke up on my front, my rapist penetrating me from behind. I was tired & still under the influence of alcohol but I knew this was not right. I started crying. It stopped. The next thing I was curled up in a ball, wailing my eyes out, when my boyfriend walked in with my rapist asking what was wrong and what had happened. I was confused, my rapist kept on saying that someone had raped me & that HE was going to kill them. My boyfriend asked who had done it to me and I said I didn’t know. The party ended, I slept off the alcohol and I confronted my rapist the next day via Facebook. He denied it all of course, he said he didn’t remember what happened but that he was SURE he wouldn’t do something like that to me. I let it slide. I genuinely believed that maybe it was my fault somehow. He thought I wanted it or something. My friends thought that I had made it up, or that I had slept with my rapist behind my boyfriends back. Just because I wasn’t doing anything about it. None of this was true. I was just so afraid of what might happen if I told the police or even made accusations. My word against his doesn’t make much of a case. And I would also lose a so called friend. But then, earlier this year I heard that my rapist had raped someone else. A 19 year old girl. She went to the police and is pressing charges. Only then did I feel I had the confidence to report him. He was arrested and has been remanded since July while they put evidence together. Maybe I had to grow up a little before doing the right thing, but it shouldn’t have taken it happening to another innocent girl for him to be punished for what he did. It’s never too late.

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  5. By LAUREN, from on 12/17/2015

    Jo22—Thank you so much for sharing your story and I’m so sorry for what happened to you. Your letter is so important for other girls to read because it doesn’t matter how you get your courage, or what motivates you to press charges or when you do it. Just do it! It’s never too late. There is no excuse for rape.

    Your case is clear cut as you were passed out,  but what many don’t realize is that ANY non-consent is rape. And being intoxicated automatically invalidates any consent that might have been given. We have done a few columns on this (which if you go to part 1, has more examples of your situation) and which may give you more useful information.

    Your letter also serves as a warning to NEVER drag someone into a bedroom to “sleep it off”. Keep them in the public eye at all times, preferably under the eyes of a friend so someone ELSE doesn’t drag them into a bedroom while you’re off in a different part of the party.

    Again, thank you for writing. I do hope you speak to a counselor and clear away the residual guilt, shame, and feelings of being used and not believed. You don’t deserve to carry this around. Love, Lauren

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