Illinois makes drunk sex illegal

Illinois makes drunk sex illegal

It is difficult to make our material condition better by the best law, but it is easy enough to ruin it by bad laws. – Theodore Roosevelt

Weren’t we just discussing how Democratic lawmakers so fervently believe they can legislate the worst of the human condition away? Apparently, just like injudiciously repeating the word “Betelgeuse,” shortly after I mentioned that dynamic our illustrious Illinois General Assembly managed to top themselves in the bizarrely bad law regard. As anyone who lives in the Land of Lincoln already understands, that’s no small feat!

“What did they do this time?” you ask? Brace yourselves! They made that halcyon American pastime of engaging in drunken sex illegal. And, trust me, whatever you’re currently thinking about that possibility couldn’t possibly be as bad as the reality that’s just been thrust upon us.

But before we get into this amended statute’s utterly unconsidered ramifications, let’s cover the impetus for a piece of legislation that makes anyone who has sex with someone who’s been drinking a rapist.

Northwestern University freshman Kaylyn Ahn (she chose to identify herself), who described herself as “pretty inebriated,” was allegedly assaulted in the back seat of a vehicle after a male friend picked her up to go to a party. Claiming “she couldn’t possibly have consented in that state,” Ahn went to the Skokie, Illinois, Police who declined to pursue the case because she was voluntarily intoxicated and “no prosecutor would touch it.”

Prior to this bill, assaulting a highly inebriated or incapacitated woman was only considered rape if the alleged perpetrator administered the drug or alcohol that incapacitated her. But after Ahn, who worked at Sate Rep Mark Walker’s office, asked him to address this issue, he did. Walker said he was “stunned” by the “voluntary intoxication” loophole, sponsored House Bill 5441, and Governor Pritzker just signed it into law.

While his intentions may have been good, the beyond obvious unintended consequences will become a legal system quagmire. Here’s what the State added to the existing sexual assault statute:

“Unable to give knowing consent” also includes when the victim has taken an intoxicating substance or any controlled substance causing the victim to become unconscious of the nature of the act, and this condition was known or reasonably should have been known by the accused, but the accused did not provide or administer the intoxicating substance.

The first and foremost problem is it doesn’t begin to define what “intoxicated” means. If the police stop you for suspicion of DUI, it’s cut and dried. Blow a .08 or greater and you will be arrested. But without that kind of legal yardstick, what specific criteria constitutes being intoxicated under this new law? Some folks are three sheets to the wind after two bloody Marys while others can pound ‘em down all night and remain reasonably coherent.

Think about it. A couple just had a nice steak dinner at Firefox with couple of Jamesons on their third date. As things start to get hot and heavy back at her place, the guy pulls out a plastic tube and says, “Hey, honey! Before we go any further, I need to you to breathe into this thing.” While that would certainly kill the mood, even a breathalyzer test wouldn’t protect you from potential charges because there’s no intoxication standard.

Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault CEO, Carrie Ward (no relation), said the means by which someone became intoxicated shouldn’t have a bearing on sexual assault cases. But what Ms. Ward ironically fails to understand is, in their pursuit of everything “woke,” the general assembly failed to limit the gender of the “assaulter.” That means if an inebriated “couple” meet in bar, they have ostensibly consensual sex, but then they experience those morning after regrets, the first one to go to the police “wins” by having the other party charged with sexual assault – even if the complainant is male.

Oh! And ladies! Might I suggest being a little bit nicer to your husbands because the law makes no exception for married folks. Do it with your husband when he’s drunk and you’re a rapist – no exceptions.

I could go on, but I’m sure you can imagine all sorts of fascinating courtroom consequences. And before you pooh-pooh these seemingly silly possibilities, please remember that we live in the state of Illinois where bad ideas go to flourish and anything that can happen generally does.

Aside from the insanity of a statute that makes an “intoxicated” couple both rapist and victim, this law creates a legal inconsistency that cannot stand.

In every Illinois jurisdiction, being drunk or high is not a defense against committing a criminal act. So, if we hold offenders responsible for their actions while they’re intoxicated, how are “intoxicated” “victims” not similarly responsible when they claim it was non-consensual sex? Put more simply, the Illinois Supreme Court will strike this stupidity down the second an applicable case comes before them.

I’m sorry Ms. Ahn had a bad experience. I wish we all lived in a world where men never took advantage of a drunk woman, but that’s every bit the pipe dream as the legislature believing this law is going to make that happen. If you carefully read her press statements, Ahn strikes me as a perpetual victim who doesn’t begin to understand the concept of personal responsibility. She never said her friend forced himself upon her – she said she was too drunk to consent to the act.

But who’s fault is that? Who put themselves in that untenable position?

Furthermore, my suggestion to anyone who can get that inebriated – particularly before going to a party to continue that process – is to join a twelve-step program and deal with the greater underlying issue before blaming other people for your poor choices. It’s patently unfair, and the worst kind of sexist double standard, to thrust the responsibility for a “rape” upon someone who may well be equally, or even more “intoxicated” than you are.

But the worst part of this new law is it diminishes all Illinois women by absolving them of their choices and failing to hold them responsible for their actions. It casts them as second-class citizens who can’t be trusted to take care of themselves. Isn’t that the same 1920s logic that men used to prohibit women from voting, smoking, and owning property?

I’m all for well-defined and well considered laws that truly protect at-risk people, but when a statute, by its very definition, turns the majority of Illinoisians into criminals, it cannot stand. It certainly gives an entirely new meaning to that old Aesop’s admonition “Be careful what you wish for lest it might come true.”

In the end, all this liberal can say is, if we don’t start paying attention, sooner or later, the nanny state will come for us!

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