Cathy McCulloch, a criminal barrister with over 35 years experience in sexual assault cases, believes that men should not have sex with women under the influence of alcohol (regardless of how much they have consumed).
In a piece for the Daily Mail, she explained: “The law is simple. If a woman has had a drink, and says after sex she did not have the choice, freedom and capacity to consent, the man can be accused of rape. A man being drunk is no defence in law. The real issue is there is no legal definition of what is ‘too drunk’.”
She continued, “With drink-driving, we all know if you blow into a breathalyser and are over the 35 micrograms limit, you can be prosecuted. There is no such guidance for consensual sex.”
With the rules surrounding how much is too much alcohol blurred, the consequential risks of sleeping with an intoxicated person are high. Alcohol can also cause us to forget or fabricate memories, both of which could prove dangerous in court when asked to give evidence.
If a man puts alcohol use down to his lack of understanding of consent, this is not considered defence in the eyes of the law. The jury would instead have to work out what his understanding of consent would be when sober.
However, it is interesting to learn that if a man was to claim that he did not consent to sex, the chances of a woman being prosecuted are low.
McCulloch appeared on This Morning today to further explain.
She told Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes : “If a man is equally as drunk as the female and they both have sex and he wakes up and thinks, ‘I really didn’t want that’ and she wakes up and thinks ‘I really didn’t want that’, the law at the minute is that there’s a sexual assault on the male but there is a rape of the female.”
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