How Does Alcohol Affect Someones Ability To Consent To Sexual Activity?

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ABCs competition-oriented spinoff, has just found itself in some hot water.

TMZ is reporting that filming for the show has been shut down due to an instance of alleged sexual misconduct between DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios. Producers may have allegedly filmed in a scene (allowing a potentially illegal interaction) in which both parties were highly inebriated, and reports say there are now allegations of sexual misconduct between the two.

An investigation was opened into the incident.

Elite Daily has reached out to ABC and Warner Bros. for comment. Warner Bros. responded with the following statement:

We have become aware of allegations of misconduct on the set of in Mexico. We have suspended production and we are conducting a thorough investigation of these allegations. Once the investigation is complete, we will take appropriate responsive action.

Elite Daily has also reached out to DeMario and Corinnes teams regarding the allegations,but did not hear back at the time of publication.

Although we may not know the outcome of the investigation for some time, its clear that Corinneand DeMarioarent the only individuals to find themselves in a scenario where alcohol was involved and sexual activity took place, leading someone (in this case, a third party) to think that one of the parties was assaulted.

As an attorney that falls into the millennial category myself, one of the areas Ive most often heard peers ask about is handling situations like this at parties or other social gatherings. In other words, getting drunk and having sex arent just things that happen on TV. Our hookup culture means these issues affect a lot of people.

So how do you know whats OK? Where are the lines of consent for sexual activity when alcohol is involved?

And how does alcohol impact an individuals ability to consent?

As with many things in the law, the answers arent crystal clear. Here, we examine some of the most common issues regarding alcohol and sexual consent.

1. Consumption of alcohol doesnt automatically mean consent isnt possible.

Do the issues involved with hooking up while drinking mean that you can consent to sexual activity if any alcohol is involved?

Well, no. Just because two (or more) people have been drinking at all doesnt necessarily mean that legal consent isnt possible. After all, it happens all the time. Sometimes, people even purposely drink to enjoy their sexual activity even more.

Alcohol consumption doesnt automatically mean consent absolutely isnt possible.

That being said

2. Alcohol consumption make it much more difficult to consent and determine consent.

Alcohol affects ones ability to speak and understand othersclearly. Not only that, but drinking often means our inhibitions are lowered. In turn, we are more likely to get aggressive with another person.

While theres no hard-and-fast rule about alcohol effectively haltingconsent, alcohol does really muddy the waters.

Its a good rule of thumb to continue checking in with your partner about how they feel about having any kind ofsexual activity. Asking pre-alcohol consumption and receiving ayes doesnt mean that yes lasts all evening. Keep asking and keep assessing the ability of the other person to consent.

If youre questioning someoneslevel of consent whiledrinking, dont pursue any sexual activity. If you arent sure, they probably arent either, and the best course of action is to stop completely.

3. State laws vary for purposes of determining incapacity.

In most states, a person cant consent if they are passed out. That part is clear enough.

The lines beyond that, though, vary. Many states establish a level of incapacity, at which someone is too inebriated to consent, but even that varies depending on how exactly the person got there (i.e. voluntarily or otherwise).

State laws arent necessarily good benchmarks for determining consent.

As with any unclear situation, its best to continue checking in with your partner to see how theyrefeeling.If theyre unable to communicate their wants and needs clearly, refrain from making a pass at them.

4. Either or both parties can be liable for sexual assault if consent isnt clear and both are incapacitated.

Just asinebriation is no excuse for someone to be sexual assaulted, inebriation is also no excuse for the perpetrator.

In other words, if both parties were drunk to the point that they couldnt consent, and sex took place, parties could be liable for sexual assault. Saying I was drunk and so was he or I was drunk and so was she legally does nothing. Its important to remember here that rape and sexual assault are defined legally.

If one party reports the incident, the investigation will start there. Both parties being incapacitated doesnt mean that one will be off the hook.

The bottom line: If both parties are inebriated beyond consent, both parties can be liable for claims of sexual assault.

5. If youre in doubt, just leave the situation alone.

Consent for sexual activity in the presence of alcohol or other drugs clearly isnt black and white.

The solution? When in doubt, leave it alone.

If you have any kind of doubt whether someone may be too inebriated too consent, the best course of action is to assume they cannot consent and immediately cease any sexual activity or pursuit of sexual activity.

While its unclear how the investigation will go for what is clear is that the presence of alcohol or other drugs almost always raises issues of sexual consent between two parties.

The best course of action is always to err on the side of caution. Respect the other persons right to say no whether they are sober, drunk, just not into you, or just not sure and if not sure if theyre sober enough to say yes, assume instead that they said no to keep them, and yourself, safe in the situation.

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