1. What is the "Wasted Sex" campaign all about?
Over the years, San Diego area law enforcement has seen an alarming rise in the number of reported rapes that involve alcohol and drugs. These are sexual assaults that typically impact young adults, especially 18-25 year olds. Given the fact that only 3% of sexual assaults are EVER reported, the PRICE Coalition (Prevention of Rape by Intoxication through Community Education) was formed. Our primary goal is to educate "at-risk" young adults about the problem, the legal ramifications of rape by intoxication, and the ways to prevent rape by intoxication before it happens.
2. Why all the attention on "rape by intoxication"?
Rape by intoxication is one of those crimes that creates victims at every turn. It forever changes lives, whether it's a young woman who must bear the scars of rape for the rest of her life, or the young man who has swapped cocktail bars for steel bars. These are bright, promising futures that are forever turned upside-down by this crime... a crime that can be avoided.
3. So who is behind the PRICE Coalition?
In an unprecedented collaboration, the PRICE Coalition has brought together major players in law enforcement, higher learning, military, and the San Diego community. Members of PRICE include the San Diego County District Attorney, the San Diego Police Department, the Sheriff, the University of California San Diego, San Diego State University, the University of San Diego, the San Diego Community College District, the Navy, the Center for Community Solutions, and the entire Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). As part of their involvement in the PRICE Coalition, each of these groups has committed to educating the public about the dangers of rape by intoxication.
4. Who is this message geared towards? Men or women?
Both! We see many instances where men, who commit rape by intoxication, never intended to break the law or become a rapist in the first place. Through the "sex shouldn't be wasted" campaign, we hope to educate men about the dangers of having sex when a woman is showing signs of intoxication and, by law, cannot provide legal consent.
This campaign also aims to target 18-25 year-old women about the dangers of rape by intoxication. Young women can take precautions to help avoid an attack of this nature in the first place. For instance, women should drink responsibly and avoid binge drinking at all times. They should have an emergency "escape" plan to ensure they can get home. And, young women can look out for one another to ensure they get home safely after a night out.
5. What do I risk if I have sex with a woman who is intoxicated or "wasted"?
The penalties are severe. Rape by intoxication is a serious felony that can carry up to 8 years in state prison. In California, convicted felons are not able to vote, own firearms, or even sit on a jury. Plus, your job prospects quickly evaporate once your potential employer finds out that you're a felon. Don't forget that perpetrators of rape by intoxication, like other sex crimes, are required to register as sex offenders.
6. What does the law say about legal consent to sex?
There's a big difference between consensual sex and rape by intoxication. The California penal code clearly indicates that if a woman is wasted, intoxicated, asleep, or unconscious, she cannot give legal consent to sex. This is true even if she said "yes" to sex earlier.
7. What can I do to ensure that I don't violate the law?
Fortunately, the signs of intoxication are fairly easy to recognize. Watch for slurred speech, a staggered walk, lack of motor skills, and loud speech. If a woman is vomiting, passing out, falling asleep, or unconscious, that's usually a pretty good sign that she's intoxicated.
Don't just look out for yourself; look out for your friends, too. If you're out with a buddy and he's making the moves on someone who is clearly intoxicated, be a good wingman. Pull him aside and explain the ramifications. Tell him it's not right and against the law. A quick hook-up can lead to an even quicker lock-up.
8. Is there something that women can do to prevent rape by intoxication?
Absolutely! Young women should consciously decide ahead of time how much they're going to drink... and still maintain good judgment. Once you hit that limit, stick to it. Never accept open drinks from anyone, as you could risk ingesting a date rape drug. Make sure you have a way to get home safely, and that everyone in your group also has an emergency or "backup" plan in place.
If you or someone in your group does drink too much, put that emergency plan into action. Alcohol quickly causes dehydration, so be sure that your girlfriend drinks plenty of water. Even if she doesn't look like she might vomit, be sure she's on her side (to avoid choking). Lock the windows and doors, especially if you have to leave. And, if symptoms worsen and your friend shows signs of alcohol poisoning, call 9-1-1 immediately.