Do you consent?

It was a dark and stormy night in the south end of Halifax. The Constabulary bumbled onto a parked up taxi. It was quite a scene. Driver, Bassam Al-Rawi, his zipper down, clutching his passengers panties, her half naked passed out drunk in the back seat.

Slam dunk, right?


It seems that the Crown was incompetent. They "failed to provide evidence on whether or not the woman consented to sexual activity." Or, as Judge Gregory Lenehan so elegantly summed things up, "Clearly, a drunk can consent."

The young lady had by now recovered her wits. Seems she did not appreciate being badged a "drunk". She took to social media.

Pretty soon, the CBC had worked everyone into an outrage. Feminist opinion all over CBC was that: "An intoxicated woman cannot consent."

Al-Rawi may have avoided conviction according to the laws of the land but he was pretty much hung-drawn-and-quartered in the court of public opinion.

Not to be outdone by public lunacy, Al-Rawi's lawyer played the race card. Poor Al-Rawi was being stereotyped because he's an Arab and a Muslim. Really, It's racism! Really, as though he was like other Arabs and Muslims who subjugate women: here, there, and somewhere. Really, it's outrageous...

Of course generalizations don't always apply specifically. It's highly unusual for a statement that is broad in its scope to also be entirely accurate. Al-Rawi, according to his lawyer, isn't a here, there, and somewhere Muslim.

Activists who take umbrage at "Clearly, a drunk can consent" are making the error of confusing absolutism with absolute accuracy. Consider the issues that arise if an intoxicated person cannot consent:

Civilization makes many presumptions about "consent":

Civilization is a lot like religion. It's a way of forcing a potentially-intelligent, small-group animal to live like an unthinking termite.