Student Programs: Drunk Sex or Date Rape?

Best Practices for Campus Health and Safety

Drunk Sex or Date Rape: Can You Tell The Difference?

A one-hour interactive program for male and female audiences of all sizes.

Brett Sokolow is one of the most popular and enduring prevention educators on the college lecture circuit, having visited more than 2,000 colleges and universities in the last fourteen years. Sokolow is a higher education attorney who specializes in sexual misconduct and campus security. Sokolow is the Managing Partner of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management. He is the Editor Emeritus of the Report on Campus Safety and Student Development, and the author of twelve books on campus security, sexual misconduct and campus conduct administration.

Brett draws on his legal experience to facilitate this interactive jury exercise where the audience “hears” a trial based on a real sexual assault case. Brett has presented this program at over 2,000 college, high schools, military bases and military academicies with resounding success.

HOW DRUNK IS TOO DRUNK?

Some students on our campuses today engage in a hook-up culture of random sexual encounters with other students, usually fueled by alcohol. But, just because some students are getting drunk and hooking-up doesn’t make it right, or legal. When does a hook-up cross the line? Students don’t really know, and they’ve heard confusing messages. This program teaches students about incapacity and blackouts, and dispels common myths about alcohol and sex.

WHAT IS INCAPACITY?

During the first 15 minutes of the program, Brett introduces the audience to Todd and Amy, two students involved in a drunken sexual interaction after a party. Audience members learn the facts of the case, knowing that they will play the role of jury, deciding whether Todd sexually assaulted Amy, or that he is not guilty. Once Brett shares the facts of the case, jury members ask questions about the situation and the legal standards. Brett uses the Q&A to help jury members understand blackouts, incapacitation, the legal actual/constructive knowledge standard, the “myth of puking” and how incapacity can invalidate consent.

NO CAPACITY=NO CONSENT

Once the jury’s questions are answered, the audience takes a vote. 50/50? 60/40? 80/20? How will your students vote? Every jury is different, but no jury is ever unanimous about Todd and Amy. After the vote, jury members share with the rest of the audience. Was Amy incapacitated? Why or why not? Did Todd know it? Should he have? The debate rages and students are influenced by the viewpoints of their peers.

MAKING ASSUMPTIONS IS MAKING A MISTAKE

Brett ends the program with a strong message about drunk sex, and the lessons that we can take from the case of Todd and Amy and other cases like it. More importantly, students draw their own conclusions from the case and take away lessons about their own behavior and decisions, and how to reduce their own risk.

In addition to our student programs, The NCHERM Group offers a variety of risk management workshops which can accompany any student program.

ANTICIPATED PROGRAM LEARNING OUTCOMES

  1. Participants will have a common sense understanding of what consent is, how it works, and how it is communicated;
  2. Participants will gain an understanding of how alcohol impacts consent;
  3. Participants will be able to differentiate intoxication from incapacitation;
  4. Alcohol myths will be dispelled, regarding quantity, BAC, vomiting and blackouts;
  5. Participants will gain tools for reducing risk of perpetration and victimization;
  6. Participants will gain greater sensitivity to victim-blaming attitudes;Participants will gain insight into predatory behaviors.

Two Program Options

1 hour, 15 minute Standard Program

(can be done in 1 hour, if needed)

Learning outcomes for this presentation are maximized with a 1 hour, 15 minute time slot. The standard program is a blend of information-based and risk reduction approaches, with the goal of attitudinal shifting, but not primary prevention. Shifting attitudes in critical, and can help to lay the informational foundation for true prevention. Programs like this build allies, encourage reporting, and enhance victim self-identification. And though there are some perpetrators who may commit assaults based on ignorance of the rules or laws, most are predatory. Knowing the rules will not stop them. Given an expanded time slot, Drunk Sex or Date Rape can also incorporate a primary prevention focus through bystander empowerment. See below for a description of that version of the program.

1 hour, 30 minute Bystander Empowerment Version

While many people believe that programming can and should support and empower victims and allies, we all recognize that educational programs don’t actually stop rapists from raping. Yet, we can and should empower audience members to recognize predatory behaviors in others, and equip them with the skills to confront, report and prevent.

This version of the Drunk Sex or Date Rape program needs a 1.5 hour timeslot, and with that expanded time, brings in a strong focus on bystander empowerment, using the case study to draw the audience into provocative discussion about predatory patterns, enabling behavior, and facilitating/accomplice behavior.

The audience then explores reasons why bystanding did occur in this case, and why it happens in many situations. The audience brainstorms ways that those involved in the case and the audience members themselves can more successfully engage in their own communities not as bystanders, but as interveners.

The learning outcome is ownership of the role of every member of the community in prevention, and skills to identify and safely intervene when predatory behavior is exhibited.

Video Clips

View video clips of this program.