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Tara Ariano

S04.E06: Black And Gray

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Oh god, Bay looking at the comment section of the school paper... so heartbreaking, and doubly so knowing that so many girls have gone through the same kind of online bullying. I am glad that they're voicing all sides of it (even though I want to slap Marybeth and am glad Travis YELLED at her), but I'm still really worried it's going to leave young women thinking "yep, I'm never telling anyone, because I sure don't want to go through that". 

 

I did like that Katherine said that some women don't trust the voice inside them saying something is wrong and don't know how to say no. That's a good message to send, and I'm sorry it got cut off so fast. And I liked Katherine saying "John, don't be that guy", but then she just let him walk right off.

 

Most minor thing ever, but Bay's pink octopus plushie is adorable. 

 

I love Travis. That is all. And THAT LOOK he gave Melody. Heh. 

 

Daphne finally did one good thing and did it right - color me shocked. Although the tv drama of showing up at someone's door on a college campus always rubs me the wrong way, because campus info can't give out where students live, or even confirm that they're a student there. Speaking of which, although they're handling everything "properly" on the show, campus track records in general are sadly abysmal on treating sex crimes. It would be more realistic for Bay to be trying to report it and getting dismissed than for her to be hesitant and for it to get out of her control into Javert territory so fast. I've been through Title IX training seminars, and from what I'e been told victims have more control over the amount of investigation than when they showed here (although that might be a rule that can vary from campus to campus). 

 

"I didn't know it was about your permission". That's it, right there. Both people have to give permission. Drunk sex needs to become like drunk driving - some people might be able to handle it, but for the majority of people, it's dangerous and likely to get someone hurt. I think it can happen - driving after drinking used to be socially acceptable, but now it's something that's looked down on, that friends keep other friends from doing, that structurally we try to prevent from happening by designated drivers getting free sodas at bars, by telling bartenders to cut off people who have had too many, etc., and people have internalized that it's bad to the point that, even drunk, most people have a strong enough internal feeling about it to not do it. If drunk sex were seen the same way as drunk driving, situations like this wouldn't happen nearly as often. 

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Holy clunky PSA, Batman! What a bullshit storyline. Made me annoyed with pretty much everyone involved, with the possible exception of Bay.

 

I feel bad for Tank. He did not deserve to be expelled or be the target of a witch hunt that even the alleged victim didn't want.

 

At least Mary Beth was the voice of reason. She’s right – we have to be smart about not getting blackout drunk at frat parties. It might suck, but that’s how it is.

 

WTF, John. Because Tank is taller and heavier, he has to be in perfect control and Bay can do whatever the hell she wants? WTF. At least Bay admitted that she shouldn't have been that drunk in the end.

 

I can only hope the only message teens watching this take away from this story arc is that getting blackout drunk is not a good idea. But somehow I doubt that.

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All I have to say is that it was so damn nice to see the parents showing concern for Bay for once. It's way too few and far between on this show. I particularly liked Bay and John's scene. Made me a little teary and the actors do have good chem together.

 

Can't stand that Lily chick. Go away!

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She’s right – we have to be smart about not getting blackout drunk at frat parties. It might suck, but that’s how it is.

Getting raped isn't a force of nature like the weather. It doesn't have an inanimate cause. Getting drunk doesn't make you get raped, having someone there who is willing to rape you gets you raped. People don't just get raped at parties, they get raped on dates, at school, at their friend's house, at their own house, drunk, stoned, sober. We can't protect ourselves from every possibility, and thinking we can (and being told we can) is just a way to deflect the blame so we don't have to be scared it might happen to us. The only constant through all rapes is that there was another person there who was too careless or actively didn't care whether the other person wanted it or not. The only difference between getting drunk and getting raped and getting drunk and not getting raped is whether a person was there who was willing to try to have sex with a drunk person, not the drinking itself. All of the "protect yourself" rules we learn make it seem like rapists just can't help themselves, they will automatically rape if they get within 5 feet of someone wearing too short of a skirt or had too much to drink or is out too late at night. But we can actually make it socially unacceptable to treat other people that way. 

 

I don't actually agree with the expulsion - the odds that it would actually happen are almost zero (and certainly not that fast), so this gives ammo to people who think that women are "out to get" men rather than making them think "huh, guess it is a big deal, shouldn't do that". And next week - how much crap are they going to heap onto Bay, anyway?

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I find it difficult to take a particular side because I see everyone's point of view. I was rather impressed with Travis's reaction to this: blaming himself for not being there for a friend. Given how loyal he is to his friends, I'm not sure why Mary Beth wouldn't see why he took the situation so personally. Interesting comparison to see Regina's take-charge approach to Kathyrn's gentle side-story approach. Hmm, I felt a scene was missing. - in the previews, Kathyrn mentions to Bay that it wasn't her fault but she asks how she knew that because even she didn't know, or am I missing something?

 

I enjoyed seeing John this episode, you could see the steam flaring from his nostrils as he gave Tank a proverbial smackdown but I think he gave Bay what she needed most - someone to listen to her and just love her at the end of the day. I was really hoping that they would have encouraged Bay to see a counselor, not have an advocate from a campus crisis center trying to push her political agenda. Given the scrutiny they gave the situation, Bay's ambiguous statements made me think she still wanted to protect Tank regardless of her feeling he did something wrong. I don't feel as if she was "following her voice."  Tank was scared but he was still only thinking of himself despite saying he cares for her, it's fortunate he was only expelled and not arrested. A life lesson learned the hard way,.

 

Boy, you know it's an emotionally charged episode when nearly every deaf person is shouting at you lol.

 

And next week's episode seems no better, a fight scene in the rain? Can we get anymore cliché?

Edited by Eri
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I feel bad for Tank. He did not deserve to be expelled or be the target of a witch hunt that even the alleged victim didn't want.

 

Would a school really expel a guy if the victim said she didn't want that?

 

We can't protect ourselves from every possibility, and thinking we can (and being told we can) is just a way to deflect the blame so we don't have to be scared it might happen to us.

 

We can't protect ourselves from every possibility, but we can be as careful as possible.  I agreed with some of what Mary Beth was saying about that.  It doesn't mean Bay is to blame for getting drunk, but it definitely wasn't smart for her to drink that much.

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Getting drunk doesn't make you get raped, having someone there who is willing to rape you gets you raped.

 

Right, and drinking lowers your ability to be aware of your surroundings and protect yourself. To quote an excellent article on the subject

 

Let’s be totally clear: Perpetrators are the ones responsible for committing their crimes, and they should be brought to justice. But we are failing to let women know that when they render themselves defenseless, terrible things can be done to them. Young women are getting a distorted message that their right to match men drink for drink is a feminist issue. The real feminist message should be that when you lose the ability to be responsible for yourself, you drastically increase the chances that you will attract the kinds of people who, shall we say, don’t have your best interest at heart. That’s not blaming the victim; that’s trying to prevent more victims.

 

It’s very possible to send the message that rapists are 100% at fault for rape WHILE AT THE SAME TIME advising women to be smart about their surroundings. Teaching women to avoid dark deserted areas at night, or advising women not to get blackout drunk, isn’t victim-blaming. Victim-blaming is telling a rape victim “you shouldn’t have worn that skirt if you didn’t want to be raped” (or similar). There is no good reason women shouldn’t know basic safety precautions.

 

Switched at Birth doesn’t appear to have gone for very nuanced view on the matter, though.

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I have a feeling that a lot of people watching this are going to leave with the message that they shouldn't tell anyone they were raped, because they won't listen to what they want and will publicly expose them.

 

I think Mary Beth was being insensitive at that moment.  She was talking with Travis about their mutual friend, and she was not in the room with Bay and Tank to know what happened.  There's definitely a time to talk about drinking, but that wasn't it.

 

Bright side!  Daphne continued being a good sister in this situation.  Regina, Daphne, and John all had some really good parenting moments.  John's conversation with Bay might be my favorite scene with him in the entire series.

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I was really impressed with how many different sides/reactions they showed, but...yeah it seemed they really let the ball drop by having Tank expelled so quickly and summarily. It's so much harder in real life for victims to be taken seriously and universities would no doubt be worried about a lawsuit if they were wrong or just not certain about what went down... I couldn't buy that and feel like they dropped the ball there. I know they probably won't but I wish they were following what happens to Tank after all this too. But I have a feeling we're not really going to see him again, judging by the previews. 

Edited by taragel
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I have to say, 1. I feel so horrible for Katherine, but the Moms handled things well here. And John gets a gold star. He does love his kids a lot.

2. I am glad with the role they have given Travis, he really is a good friend, I am glad that Melody was there to reassure him. It's hard thinking something bad could've happened to your friend and you maybe could've stopped it.

3. Tank getting expelled was unrealistic. Bay's question "did you feel like you were doing something wrong?", when Tank said "maybe", I thought perhaps Tank was feeling that way because he knew that Bay had passed up on the chance to have sex with him sober, and in his own alcoholic haze may have reveled in the fact that this was his "shot". I don't know what happened because I don't know if Bay was legally capable of consenting to sex or not, and I don't have enough personal experience regarding alcohol consumption to judge based on what we were shown. I'm kind of glad though we never got that objective scene.

Edited by Scarlett45
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Right or wrong, I feel equally bad about Tank as I do about Bay.

 

I think what bothered me about Mary Beth's response was that she told Travis it wasn't his responsibility to watch out for Bay when he saw her drunk, but it is Bay's fault to look to for herself.  I don't know....friends look out for friends. 

 

I am so glad Travis punched that guy.

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This episode was annoying. Glad to see that the parents finally paid some attention to Bay. Got to say that I agree with what Mary Beth told Travis. As women, we need to be smart and not put ourselves in dangerous situations. Now that doesn't mean that its right for anyone to be raped. In a perfect world women could walk around naked, get wasted and nothing bad would happen, but life isn't fair ad the reality is we need to protect ourselves from potentially bad situations.

John blaming Tank and saying it didn't matter that Tank was drunk, as the guy he needed to be responsible for Bay was ridiculous. So as women, we're too delicate and feeble minded to be responsible for our own sexuality? Yes, great lesson to give young women. Get wasted, have sex, regret it and all the blame can go on your equally drunk partner.

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I think what bothered me about Mary Beth's response was that she told Travis it wasn't his responsibility to watch out for Bay when he saw her drunk, but it is Bay's fault to look to for herself. I don't know....friends look out for friends.

I am so glad Travis punched that guy.

I think what Mary Beth was trying to say was that Travis didn't know Bay was in trouble, so he shouldn't feel bad about not being there for her. Had he walked over her, or seen that she needed help and blown her off he would be a bad friend, but he didn't know he did the best he could with the information he had at the time.

I think Travis had led such a lonely life for so long he feels protective of his new friends. Melody and Emmett are his family of choice, and in extension he feels protective of Bay.

Random side note- the show is allowed to use the phrase "FaceTime"- do they have a deal with apple?

Edited by Scarlett45
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This episode was preachy, true, but it had so many feels. I admit it, I cried.

 

It's vicious cycle with the "rules for women". On the one hand they need to keep being taught because things aren't going to change overnight. On the other hand, the rules keep feeding this idea that it's the woman's duty to stop rape and if she doesn't manage to, it's her fault. That makes it harder to make sweeping societal change, which is what ultimately needs to happen. The safety rules are not any kind of solution. They are a bandaid on a huge gaping wound that we're using only because we don't have anything else.

 

Change is happening a little bit, at least we're starting to talk about the men's part in this. The "women's safety rules" are still around but now there's a "but it's not your fault if something happens" disclaimer on some of those lists.

 

It's frustrating, though. It's like one step forward and three steps back a lot of the time. Every time there's a move towards making it easier to report rape, way too many people get all in a tizzy about the possibility of false rape claims after regrettable sex. The chances of this happening is rare for so many reasons. The stats on this are very clear. Worrying about this is about as silly as worrying about getting struck by lightning. Meanwhile plenty of rapists are actually walking free and hardly anyone seem alarmed by that. GAH. Where are our piorities?

 

That's why when I see the conversation cycle back to "but the woman should have done this, this and that" I feel like "Not this again. We get it already. This is the status quo. Can we please make some progress?"

 

All of the "protect yourself" rules we learn make it seem like rapists just can't help themselves, they will automatically rape if they get within 5 feet of someone wearing too short of a skirt or had too much to drink or is out too late at night. But we can actually make it socially unacceptable to treat other people that way.

Stopeslite, I know, right? It doesn't take perfect control not to stick your penis in someone else's vagina. If anything, it takes some level of coordination to get it in.

 

I find Tank getting expelled kind of suspect, too. That's not so likely to happen in real life, considering what I've been seeing in the news. There was a gangrape case with fricking video evidence the rapists filmed themselves and people are still like "eh, that slut was into it. We shouldn't ruin those nice boys' lives over a bit of fun."

 

And good point about drunk driving. There's a scene in Double Indemnity (old movie from 1944) where a guy goes get a beer at a drive-in restaurant and drinks it right in the driver's seat. This used to be just what everybody did. When I watched this in a film class in 2003 there were plenty of shocked murmurs in the room. Hee.

 

Thing is, people have drank and drove without incident, just like it's possible to get drunk and have sex without anybody getting hurt. But still, both these activities risk people getting seriously hurt. Is it worth the risk? In the case of impaired driving, society has decided it's not.

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I think the writers did a very good job of showing what a complex issue this whole thing is, and that there is really no true right or wrong answer. The expulsion of Tank isn't realistic, but I also don't want to see this part of the storyline turning into a soap opera and continuing on for as long as it realistically would in real life. The continuing repercussions with Bay and Emmet next week make sense, but I'm glad for the most part a conclusion has been reached...possibly selfishly because I have a daughter Bay's age at college 7 hours away, and it was heartbreaking seeing it through the moms' eyes. That feeling of seeing your child in so much pain and knowing it is impossible to fix was just hard for me to watch.

For what it's worth, said daughter believes drunk sex is not consentual sex. I tried to give her some of the grey areas the show presented, but she was adamant about that when we talked about it. I think the required alcohol education all freshmen have to take at her school is really driving that point home.

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Boy, you know it's an emotionally charged episode when nearly every deaf person is shouting at you lol.

Oh yes - I gasped when Travis yelled, and then Melody did too! 

 

 

For what it's worth, said daughter believes drunk sex is not consentual sex. I tried to give her some of the grey areas the show presented, but she was adamant about that when we talked about it. I think the required alcohol education all freshmen have to take at her school is really driving that point home.

I am glad for that. It will protect the people wanting to have drunk sex just as much, because if they get that point and hard, they'll be staying out of those situations as well and won't end up doing it, getting a bad reaction, and being confused and angry like Tank. The transition period is the hardest. 

 

As frustrated as I've been with Katherine's character lately, that moment when she sank down next to Bay on the floor and just put her hand on her? That was beautiful, and was the first time in a really long time I've seen someone take the time to just be there for Bay.

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While I understand the grey areas, the key here is EVERYONE needs to be careful when they drink, not just women.  Also, when I was a college rape educator and counselor, we stressed having a sober buddy, just like having a DD, to check in with you when you were doing stupid things and to look out for you.  Its sad that 20 years later the rape culture has not improved but has actually gotten decidedly worse. You should be able to drink with some one that you call a friend and believe you can trust with out being worried that they will take advantage of you.  There is a difference between sexual regret (consenting but regretting it in the morning) and being so drunk you can not remember.  

 

Tank was drinking with her, saw how much she had to drink and had to realize she was impaired.  My feeling is that you should not be having sex while drunk.  If they dig you, they will still be interested tomorrow.  You should be a decent human being by putting them to bed, getting them water and maybe some aspirin and sleeping on the floor.  

 

All that being said, I thought the resolution was unrealistic.  No way would the process be so short.  And I do not believe that in a real situation, that Tank would have been expelled.  I mean look at all the situations that have been in the media.  They have pictures of men raping girls while passed out and some of these guys were still protected while the girls were shamed.

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Switched at Birth doesn’t appear to have gone for very nuanced view on the matter, though.

Amen! If the writers' idea for this story was to stir up debate, then they succeeded. However the execution of the story line leaved a lot to be desired. The way they presented this story line, it was like 500 shades of grey (and not a nod to that terrible book/movie). If they're trying to say that someone just not remembering then it's definitely non-consensual, then that seems awfully black and white. I mean what if it was consensual, but then one or both parties don't remember? Whether it be due to more drinking or the alcohol not fully taking effect till later, etc.... Also what if 2 people had sex and then one party left building and fell and hit their head and they have amnesia. Is that now considered rape too? Point is the way that the writers portayed this particular story line, nothing seemed black and white. It seemed like Bay didn't even consider it rape until her mother said it was. Plus it seemed like she was only upset about cheating on Emmett. The one inconsitsent flashback didn't help. Talk about an unrealiable narrator. I think that the resolution was kind of lousy too. At least they made it seem like everyone involved felt bad about it. I think if the creators decide to take on another touchy subject that they do a better job in the writers' room.

Edited by stuntdog
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It seemed like Bay didn't even consider it rape until her mother said it was. Plus it seemed like she was only upset about cheating on Emmett.

 

That bothered me too. So did her story constantly switching - first she didn't remember anything that happened that night, then she remembered being drunk, then she says she remembers *not* saying "yes", etc. etc.

 

It was more than a little unnerving how eager people were to push Bay into victim status. Even she was resistant to it and didn't feel that way, but apparently her mothers, Melody, Lily (who really needs to be killed off), the counselor, the other counselor and so on know better than her. That's really a little disturbing.

 

Its sad that 20 years later the rape culture has not improved but has actually gotten decidedly worse.

 

Could you expand a bit on this? From my outsider perspective I can't imagine how things were better in 1995 than they are now for rape victims.

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Could you expand a bit on this? From my outsider perspective I can't imagine how things were better in 1995 than they are now for rape victims.

There was not the internet or camera phones.  Yes there was harassment but it was localized not globalized.  Sure, it was difficult to revel that you had been raped but there was not pictures, videos, and documentation of every little thing that was said and done that night.  You did not have the whole world believing that they had the right and duty to comment on a situation that they were not involved in.  There was also not the spiking of the the drinks that has become more prevalent.  Plus, weirdly, the advancement of women has had an effect. Just look at all the messages on this board that are laying the responsibility on Bay. We should "know better" now.  Where in the 90's there was still a little more chauvinism that women should be protected.  Now all of this is my opinion and yours may vary.  

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I just assumed that the same awful things were happening - date rape, stranger rape, roofies, frat parties, etc. - but no one was really talking about it. Now we do have the Internet and it seems like rape is everywhere - blogs, magazines, TV shows, forums, etc. etc. (I may be biased, since I am in the midst of a 3-season Netflix marathon of SVU.) It's become much more of a conversation. (Some even think that the pendulum has swung too much to the other side, and not without reason.)

 

I think this episode was weird, though. It made coming forward look like the worst thing to do. Bay wasn't really helped by all the counselors and tribunals. Her parents helped, but on a broader, systemic level she was failed by the college. They did all the things she explicitly told them she did not want to happen, forced her into the role of a victim, and she got the outcome she didn't want either (Tank's expulsion).

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Right, and drinking lowers your ability to be aware of your surroundings and protect yourself. To quote an excellent article on the subject

 

 

It’s very possible to send the message that rapists are 100% at fault for rape WHILE AT THE SAME TIME advising women to be smart about their surroundings. Teaching women to avoid dark deserted areas at night, or advising women not to get blackout drunk, isn’t victim-blaming. Victim-blaming is telling a rape victim “you shouldn’t have worn that skirt if you didn’t want to be raped” (or similar). There is no good reason women shouldn’t know basic safety precautions.

 

Switched at Birth doesn’t appear to have gone for very nuanced view on the matter, though.

 

I got one better: how about teaching men and boys not to rape. Novel idea.

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I might be the only one but I don't like that they called Tank a rapist and said she was raped. I just don't think that was established in what we saw. I think it's clear she didn't say no. But just because she doesn't remember doesn't automatically mean she couldn't consent. 

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I think it's good, especially in a 50 Shades of Grey world, to make it clear that rape or consent does not always look like you think it does. Someone who is restrained, whipped or burned with hot wax can give consent and it is consensual. Someone who goes along with what you want but whom you wouldn't trust to make decisions to drive your car or get a tattoo or sign a check, may not have consented -- no matter how much you want it to be the case. This is especially the case when you are clear that if they were sober they would not have given that consent.

 

I admit I don't like Tank with Bay -- he is a little too comfortable making her feel guilty for how he feels -- but I can understand the hope that vino definitely created the veritas that she really, really wanted him. (And yes, even in fiction, this happens the other way too -- see The Way We Were where Barbra Streisand's character was impregnated by a drunken Robert Redford who remembered nothing about the encounter.) Tank lives in a world where frat boys can joke that "I'm so drunk" is a sorority girl's mating call and still brand as a slut any girl who will have sex with them.

 

Bay's first reaction was to be concerned with how Emmett and Tank would be affected. Tank's first response was "I'll lose my reputation." Thank God she has her father.

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I got one better: how about teaching men and boys not to rape. Novel idea.

 

Right after we teach thieves not to steal and murderers not to kill. Come on, that idea might be novel but totally unrealistic.

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The best part of the episode were the parents finally taking an interest in Bay but I hope that it doesn't mean that the writers will only have that happen this time. It's high time that they help Bay navigate the rest of her life.

Also, Emmett is acting like a jerk and I hope they break up. Some high school relationships are not built to last beyond senior year.

I did like that Bay was in her art studio.

I disagree with the posters who hate Lily. I agree that she should've told Toby before she reported it to Melody and the other administrators. What was she supposed to do? Keep it to herself and jeopardize her job. She is new to the campus and has to toe the line.

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I disagree with the posters who hate Lily. I agree that she should've told Toby before she reported it to Melody and the other administrators. What was she supposed to do? Keep it to herself and jeopardize her job. She is new to the campus and has to toe the line.

 

I have no problem with Lily's actions in regards to the Bay situation.

 

I just don't like her in general. The actress isn't great and she and Toby have no chemistry imo.

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That bothered me too. So did her story constantly switching - first she didn't remember anything that happened that night, then she remembered being drunk, then she says she remembers *not* saying "yes", etc. etc.

 

It was more than a little unnerving how eager people were to push Bay into victim status. Even she was resistant to it and didn't feel that way, but apparently her mothers, Melody, Lily (who really needs to be killed off), the counselor, the other counselor and so on know better than her. That's really a little disturbing.

I agree with all of the above.  They certainly infused a bit of "reasonable doubt" in regards to what really happened, particularly from Bay's switching recollections. What also bothered me about the legitimacy of what really happened was that Bay had that fight w/Emmet before and it left me wondering if she didn't consent while drunk and upset with Emmett for kissing another girl.  Whether that is what happened or not though, in the real world I'd suspect that Tank's friends would have brought that point up in his defense. I also agree that realistically Tank would have not been expelled based of a he said/she said investigation and w/no physical exam from Bay to offer any physical proof. I was almost expecting the previews from next episode to show Tanks's family suing the school and running with the "she just doesn't want her boyfriend to think she cheated" card. 

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To everyone claiming this episode was unrealistic or misrepresented university policy - "UMKC"'s Title IX reporting procedure is actually EXACTLY what most universities are doing these days. For example, at my university, a faculty/staff member who hears about possible sexual assualt involving one or more students MUST report what they heard, no matter what. And the Title IX coordinator must investigate. Here's our policy - http://www.bu.edu/safety/files/2013/12/Sexual_misconduct_form-fill-in.pdf). 

 

It is very important that students know the difference between talking to faculty/staff and talking to confidential resources on campus, like crisis counselors. At the beginning of every semester, I have begun to inform my students about the reporting requirements under Title IX and confidential resources on/near campus, so they can make an informed decision when they consider disclosing this kind of information.  This is so important for them to know, so that survivors can proceed from an assault in a way that feels agentic and authentic to their experience. Unfortunately, it's not always their choice to instigate a campus investigation.

 

The messy legal, cultural, familial, relational, and gendered dimensions of this episode, and how they might play out on a college campus, are incredibly real, in my experience as a university faculty member (and as one involved in our campus's sexual assault reponse and prevention activism).

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When Mary Beth said Bay shouldn't have put herself in that situation, what situation did she mean? In other words, until the morning after, nobody knew that Tank chose to have sex with Bay. So yeah, I don't walk down dark alleys, because I don't know what's lurking there; but Bay was at a dorm party, with her friends.

If MB thinks that Bay being super wasted and spending time with Tank is a bad idea, then doesn't it stand to logic that MB came to the realization that Tank could be capable of hurting her? If you take Emmett totally out of the equation, and it's not about Bay cheating or not, then isn't the only question left one of whether Tank wanted to have sex with Bay (he did!) plus whether Bay did not want to have sex with Tank?

So MB's role was to point out the girl rules, but they skipped the part where MB found out that they had sex. It was incongruous.

I'm just saying the girl rules warning isn't analogous to me, because in the happy feel good Carlton kids' world we know and love, people would assume that Bay is in good hands with Tank. Even if they were flirty with each other, the other partygoers wouldn't assume that he was going to rape her (meaning they shouldn't accuse her of being irresponsible by hanging out with him), and they probably wouldn't think she was about to chose him as a sex partner either. They would probably think it was just a fun party.

And not to pick on Travis, because he's my favorite 40-year-old college kid, but is he not getting in trouble for buying the keg? What about the RULES?

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If MB thinks that Bay being super wasted and spending time with Tank is a bad idea, then doesn't it stand to logic that MB came to the realization that Tank could be capable of hurting her?

 

 

Mary Beth has (understandably) really not been a fan of Tank since his fraternity's "dog fight" party. I absolutely believe Mary Beth would believe Tank was capable of doing something like this to someone. I wonder if her thoughts would be the same if it was someone other than Tank? I don't know. 

 

 

And not to pick on Travis, because he's my favorite 40-year-old college kid, but is he not getting in trouble for buying the keg? What about the RULES?

I'm guessing Melody let that one slide because as she said "if that happens again I'll be out of a job and you'll be out of a place to go to college". Apparently the rules only apply when her career isn't at risk.

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The way there's such debate around whether what happened to Bay even counts as rape kind of reminds me of when Joan was raped on Mad Men. There was debate around that one, too. It's depressing how many people want to pretend these are normal behaviors between people and not abusive at all!

 

It's good that there's starting to be more conversations about this subject than ever. It's necessary. And isn't that just typical that there are already people who thinks it has gone too far? I'm sure when women first wanted the vote, there were plenty of voices saying "okay, that's enough out of you crazy boards with your crazy thinking. Shut up already. We like the way things are now and we want to keep it that way."

 

It's so typical, too, there seems to be more worries about Tanks life getting ruined by this. As if the impact on Bay's life is nothing, and she should just suck it up and pretend everything's just fine. I see the same thing play out in the commentary for every similar real-life news item. Lots of worries about how allegations "ruin" the alleged rapists' lives. The lives ruined by rapists? Too many people don't even want to spare a thought about those. "It was just sex, and she was just a slut," too many people would say, "she should get over it."

 

Downright terrifying that after watching Bay hit her head hard, say the room is spinning, and have difficulty walking under her own power, there's still plenty of commentary out on the interwebs saying "But Tank was drunk, how can he tell how drunk Bay was? If drunk people can't consent, then doesn't that mean she could have raped him? Waaah, no fair, people blame Tank for everything just because he's a man."

 

WTF? Have we completely taken leave of common sense? When someone is feeling so sick they can't even stand and require help to keep from falling down, maybe that is a clue that doesn't even require sobriety to figure out.

 

You don't have to be a knight in shining armor to know "having sex" with someone who is literally "falling down drunk" is a very bad idea. It only takes a moderately decent human being.

 

I'm no Sherlock, but she couldn't have raped him because she couldn't even stand up. It's really not that complicated.

 

But maybe I'm just too dumb to come up with a conspiracy theory for how this was all a trap for Tank because everyone secretly had it in for him all along and wanted to destroy his life for… reasons?

 

Tank mistakenly thought what he did was just fine and got himself into trouble because he is a product of the culture he grew up in. This is a culture in which people are very comfortable with thinking it's not rape unless a bogeyman jump out of a bush and force his dick into a woman while she screams and struggles. It's a culture that encourages people to take advantage of others and call this "just what everybody does". That's why people call this "rape culture". We need to teach our boys better than this. Change what society considers acceptable. That's what people mean by "teaching men and boys not to rape".

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I believe that the whole point of this story was simply to ignite these discussions. I don't think they ever set out for any single character to take responsibility or to come to any definitive conclusion. Which I can respect because this is a VERY important topic and discussions are necessary. However, the problem that arises from that is we're left with episodes like this that feel very... unnatural. There are WAY more than 50 shades of grey here and trying to introduce every POV into a 40-min slot fell a bit flat in my opinion. However, I understand them not wanting to drag it out for too long.

So I say kudos to the writers for a job well done. Whether you want to look at it as a bad PSA or not, there is a social responsibility that they have lived up to in at least sparking these debates. We need to raise awareness on the issues surrounding consent and victims not coming forward. Nothing can change if everyone stays quiet.

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I might be the only one but I don't like that they called Tank a rapist and said she was raped. I just don't think that was established in what we saw. I think it's clear she didn't say no. But just because she doesn't remember doesn't automatically mean she couldn't consent.

It does, becauze it means she was too drunk to consent.

  

To everyone claiming this episode was unrealistic or misrepresented university policy - "UMKC"'s Title IX reporting procedure is actually EXACTLY what most universities are doing these days. For example, at my university, a faculty/staff member who hears about possible sexual assualt involving one or more students MUST report what they heard, no matter what. And the Title IX coordinator must investigate. Here's our policy - http://www.bu.edu/safety/files/2013/12/Sexual_misconduct_form-fill-in.pdf). 

 

It is very important that students know the difference between talking to faculty/staff and talking to confidential resources on campus, like crisis counselors. At the beginning of every semester, I have begun to inform my students about the reporting requirements under Title IX and confidential resources on/near campus, so they can make an informed decision when they consider disclosing this kind of information.  This is so important for them to know, so that survivors can proceed from an assault in a way that feels agentic and authentic to their experience. Unfortunately, it's not always their choice to instigate a campus investigation.

 

The messy legal, cultural, familial, relational, and gendered dimensions of this episode, and how they might play out on a college campus, are incredibly real, in my experience as a university faculty member (and as one involved in our campus's sexual assault reponse and prevention activism).

That's good to hear. The aspect of the story that seems to most false to me was Tank's prompt expulsion. Especially when victims like Emma Sulkawicz still demand justice.

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That bothered me too. So did her story constantly switching - first she didn't remember anything that happened that night, then she remembered being drunk, then she says she remembers *not* saying "yes", etc. etc.

Bay was consistent that she didn't feel right about it.  That she didn't understand the implications of what happened is not that unusual.  She didn't immediately jump on the explanation that it was rape, but she knew it was not something she would do sober and she wasn't ok with it.  And that's the point.  If she wouldn't have said yes sober, then the "yes" if any (it seemed more like Tank reading encouraging, but ambiguous, "signals) was not a valid yes.  Which lead me to the below.

 

Right after we teach thieves not to steal and murderers not to kill. Come on, that idea might be novel but totally unrealistic.

Yes, it is unrealistic that was can get all people not to rape, but we can change the culture so that THIS kind of rape is far less likely.  The "drunk people have sex" excuse leads people to think it's ok; and people that have no intention of hurting someone one do so out of a mistaken belief that it's what's normal and totally ok.  We spent years changing the general attitude that "Girls say no because they're not supposed to admit to wanting it, but they don't mean it" with consistently sending the message that "No means no."  So now we need to work on "Drunk consent is not valid consent."

 

I realize that people do get drunk and have sex and often no one gets hurt, but it's a risk.  At minimum, it should not be the way you begin a  sexual relationship.   As someone said up thread, if they really want you they will still want you when they're sober.  And if they don't want you in the morning, then it's better not to have the regrets.   Seriously, if it's missing out on 1 opportunity for sex vs. people feelings, shouldn't we be encouraging that?

Edited by RachelKM
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Downright terrifying that after watching Bay hit her head hard, say the room is spinning, and have difficulty walking under her own power, there's still plenty of commentary out on the interwebs saying "But Tank was drunk, how can he tell how drunk Bay was? If drunk people can't consent, then doesn't that mean she could have raped him? Waaah, no fair, people blame Tank for everything just because he's a man."

 

WTF? Have we completely taken leave of common sense? When someone is feeling so sick they can't even stand and require help to keep from falling down, maybe that is a clue that doesn't even require sobriety to figure out.

 

 

I had to create this account just to let you know this may be one of the most hypocritical/double standard statements I've seen. If you re-read this paragraph and cannot understand how you are applying a safety net for Bay because of her being drunk but not allowing Tank the same safety net, then you are not being logical. 

 

I'm frankly disappointed with how Switched at Birth has handled these two episodes. There was way too much reasonable doubt and story switching for Tank to have received such a harsh punishment. From what we have heard and seen, no one can really say Tank sexually abused anyone, but I guess we are okay with going with guilty until proven innocent in today's society. It's disgusting. If Tank was sober, you would definitely have a point about him having common sense (and I'd be right there with anyone else looking to punish him), but because he was drunk and his judgement was impaired, he CANNOT be hung out to dry like this if he felt Bay consented. I find it ridiculous that you are mocking people for saying Tank couldn't tell how drunk Bay was. You are asking HIM to use his judgement and common sense when he was impaired, but you are totally okay with Bay getting a pass for her judgement calls while being drunk. Can you honestly not see how hypocritical this thought process is? I don't want to hear anything about Bay bumping her head or struggling to get up. They were both drunk. Point blank. Both have admitted to it. If we start getting to the "well she was THIS much more drunk than such and such so her judgement was this much more impaired than such and such," you start to introduce such a huge slippery slope, it's not even funny. We might as well start installing breathalyzers next to people's beds. 

 

On one hand, you are allowing Bay a pass for being drunk, and on the other, you are scolding Tank for not having better judgment...while he was drunk...that is just messed up. You are essentially saying that Tank should have been able to process and make judgement calls about Bay's sickness while he was drunk, but at the same time Bay can't make judgement calls about whether to consent or not because she was drunk. If Bay can't remember whether she consented or not after being blackout drunk while admitting her partner was also VERY drunk, then he should not have been expelled. Bay introduced enough doubt in her interview for this outcome not to be like this, and judging by the upcoming preview, I think Emmett may have a similar reaction. We'll see.

 

This is a very serious issue in this country, but Switched at Birth has handled this incredibly poorly if the end result was supposed to be about finding someone guilty or even spreading proper awareness. If they don't continue with this storyline past next week's episode, then they should have changed the storyline and made Tank sober. Then we can talk about judgement calls and how Tank likely took advantage of a situation he has always wanted. That would be appropriate and would fit the storyline they were going after much better. You talk about teaching boys better, but all this episode did was "teach" boys that they shouldn't even attempt to have sex with anyone while drunk by instilling fear (by not putting any responsibility on the other drunk party whatsoever), and on the other side of the token, they made coming out to counselors look entirely unappealing to women. Just a bad example to set all around. I feel terrible for both Bay and Tank, especially at this point for Tank.

 

If something comes out later that puts Tank in clear guilt and wrongdoing, then I'm all for his expulsion and potential arrest, but if all we are getting is "well they were both drunk, but we'll give Bay the benefit of the doubt even though she was apparently a little more drunk and her memory is fuzzy," (which would NEVER hold up in any court by the way) then they have absolutely nothing to stand on, and I think even Bay knows that, which we see at the end of the episode by how awful she feels. 

Edited by darkazc
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I got one better: how about teaching men and boys not to rape. Novel idea.

So by your statement, all men and boys are rapists who randomly attack innocent women?

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I had to create this account just to let you know this may be one of the most hypocritical/double standard statements I've seen. If you re-read this paragraph and cannot understand how you are applying a safety net for Bay because of her being drunk but not allowing Tank the same safety net, then you are not being logical. 

 

I'm frankly disappointed with how Switched at Birth has handled these two episodes. There was way too much reasonable doubt and story switching for Tank to have received such a harsh punishment. From what we have heard and seen, no one can really say Tank sexually abused anyone, but I guess we are okay with going with guilty until proven innocent in today's society. It's disgusting. If Tank was sober, you would definitely have a point about him having common sense (and I'd be right there with anyone else looking to punish him), but because he was drunk and his judgement was impaired, he CANNOT be hung out to dry like this if he felt Bay consented. I find it ridiculous that you are mocking people for saying Tank couldn't tell how drunk Bay was. You are asking HIM to use his judgement and common sense when he was impaired, but you are totally okay with Bay getting a pass for her judgement calls while being drunk. Can you honestly not see how hypocritical this thought process is? I don't want to hear anything about Bay bumping her head or struggling to get up. They were both drunk. Point blank. Both have admitted to it. If we start getting to the "well she was THIS much more drunk then such and such" you start to introduce such a huge slippery slope, it's not even funny. 

 

On one hand, you are allowing Bay a pass for being drunk, and on the other, you are scolding Tank for not having better judgment...while he was drunk...that is just messed up. You are essentially saying that Tank should have been able to process and make judgement calls about Bay's sickness while he was drunk, but at the same time Bay can't make judgement calls about whether to consent or not because she was drunk. If Bay can't remember whether she consented or not after being blackout drunk while admitting her partner was also VERY drunk, then he should not have been expelled. Bay introduced enough doubt in her interview for this outcome not to be like this, and judging by the upcoming preview, I think Emmett may have a similar reaction. We'll see.

Yet know one is saying Tank should have remained sober enough to be able to accurately determined whether Bay was sober enough to consent! The oness is on Bay to have remained sober.

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Yet know one is saying Tank should have remained sober enough to be able to accurately determined whether Bay was sober enough to consent! The oness is on Bay to have remained sober.

 

Sorry, but this is kind of crazy. How far are we going to go to try to find someone to blame? I'm not even sure what you are trying to say honestly. I'm not blaming anyone or saying someone should have done something differently. My previous post boils down to: they were both drunk, and they both made the mistake together if it was a mistake at all. Asking someone to make proper judgment calls while drunk and giving a pass to the other is a straight double standard. No arguments can be made in my mind. No grey area and no subjective opinions there. Maybe that sounds harsh, but if they were both drunk and neither remember the situation 100%, a proper ruling cannot be made on this case at all. I feel bad for both of them, and Bay clearly felt weird about them going for Tank's throat during the interview and post-interview when he was expelled. The message would have been much better and clearer had Tank been sober. Then we can start questioning his judgment calls and his intent (rape and/or taking advantage). 

 

If it comes out that Tank drugged her or fed her drinks throughout the night, then we can start talking about him getting arrested and going to jail for YEARS, but based on the information we have now? Nothing. I was going nuts the last two weeks watching everyone jump to conclusions ridiculously (ESPECIALLY Regina, Daphne, and Melody). Kathryn, John, and Tobey handled it much, much better. 

Edited by darkazc
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You are asking HIM to use his judgement and common sense when he was impaired, but you are totally okay with Bay getting a pass for her judgement calls while being drunk.

 

Exactly this. I can't see any way around how illogical this thought process is.

 

 

we'll give Bay the benefit of the doubt because she was apparently a little more drunk and her memory is fuzzy," (which would NEVER hold up in any court by the way)

 

None of it would hold up in court. No rape kit, no bloodwork to gauge Bay's blood alcohol content or the presence of roofies, no visible trauma, nothing but he said/she said. Prosecuting rape is insanely hard even under laughably obvious circumstances (i.e. photographic evidence), but Bay's case was barely a case.

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Exactly this. I can't see any way around how illogical this thought process is.

 

 

 

None of it would hold up in court. No rape kit, no bloodwork to gauge Bay's blood alcohol content or the presence of roofies, no visible trauma, nothing but he said/she said. Prosecuting rape is insanely hard even under laughably obvious circumstances (i.e. photographic evidence), but Bay's case was barely a case.

 

Exactly. It is blowing my mind that Tank got expelled based on a he said/she said. How are we deciding whose opinion is more important? The one who feels victimized after the fact? And why? There is no objective proof whatsoever, and the only concrete information we have is that both admitted to being heavily intoxicated. It's such a weird way to handle this situation. The fact that they were so quick to expel him makes me worried that they won't properly handle this storyline after next week's episode. If we are going to accept the vilification of Tank, at least add some proof that he drugged her or was much more sober than we were previously led to believe. Actually add some tangible proof because until then, this is just a plain messed up way of teaching any kind of lesson.  

 

I'll say it again and again: 

 

Asking someone to make proper judgment calls while drunk and giving a pass to the other is a straight double standard.

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I wouldn't call Bay waking up feeling violated and realizing nothing will be the same again "getting a pass". Not to mention having to deal with the "crazy internet people" and people like that dude Travis punched in the face.

 

I'm not expecting Tank to have perfect judgement while drunk. I'm arguing it doesn't take perfectly sober judgement to realize Bay is falling down drunk and leave her be.

 

Did it escape Tank's notice that Bay couldn't stand up by herself? Even while drunk, he must have noticed that much: he's the one who helped her get to a bed and lie down.

 

Even in the sober light of day, Tank was still all "people have drunk sex all the time, it's no big deal". This is the assumption he was operating under when he decided to have sex with a girl who he knew very well was too drunk to even stand up. It was not the alcohol that made him think this way.

 

The drunk factor here is like a drunk person walking into the road and getting hit by a drunk driver. It's not a crime to walk into the road after getting drunk (though it is not a good idea), but drunk driving is a serious crime. See what I'm getting at?

 

For what it's worth, I do believe Tank when he says he never intended to hurt Bay. But he did hurt her. Unintentional as it was, he can't expect it to just go away. (Though true enough that if this was real life he would not be expelled.) If the drunk pedestrian who got run over by a drunk driver decided "I don't want to press charges", the law is still not going to let the drunk driver off the hook.

 

all men and boys are rapists who randomly attack innocent women?

No, they just live in a culture that encourages them to become rapists by calling abusive behaviors "no big deal, just stuff that everybody does". They live in a world that often don't convict rapists or just give them a "slap on the wrist" punishment. They live in a world where victims are shamed and ridiculed. Where when people try to change any of this, they get responses like "You're asking for too much and being unfair. Everything's fine with the way things are from where I'm standing."

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I don't actually agree with the expulsion - the odds that it would actually happen are almost zero (and certainly not that fast), so this gives ammo to people who think that women are "out to get" men rather than making them think "huh, guess it is a big deal, shouldn't do that". And next week - how much crap are they going to heap onto Bay, anyway?

 

It depends on the policies of the school, Tank never denied having "drunk sex" with Bay. Bay doesn't remember what happened but felt like something was wrong. Many people saw her acting very drunk.

 

In many school's Sexual Misconduct policies that's an automatic expulsion. It might not have happened in the span of, like, 2 days, but the result would have been the same.

 

Nothing other than Bay lying and saying that she remembers clearly giving consent or Tank lying and saying that no sex at all took place would have got in the way.

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The problem with the show just "bringing it all up for discussion" the way they have is that the takeaway message for someone watching could easily be: 

If I get raped, anyone I tell might go to the authorities and blow it up more than I meant it to. It will be made public, and I'll be slut-shamed across the community and all of the internet. The person who did it could end up with consequences more serious than even I think is warranted, and they will be really, really mad at me. (and having someone who has already demonstrated a willingness to physically violate me get mad at me is honestly scary worrying about what they may do in retaliation)

 

The show may have gotten across some elements of the "don't be that guy" campaign, but they didn't make it look at all like a good idea to talk about it. To make it worse, she didn't even report it. She told her brother, and the reporting decision went entirely out of her hands. I would much rather have seen the storyline have her talk to a few people and then decide herself whether to make it official. 

 

 

Asking someone to make proper judgment calls while drunk and giving a pass to the other is a straight double standard.

 

What was Bay's bad judgment call, apart from the drinking itself? She was at a party with friends. She trusted Tank. He had shown himself to be entirely trustworthy in the past. She agreed to lie down in a bed because she was dizzy and concussed and couldn't stand straight. If anything, she was being responsible by attaching herself to a friend instead of a random person at the party she didn't know. If Tank had acted with her like he had in the past, nothing would have happened. But his judgment call was much more active - he wanted her to do something she had actively, consistently said no to in the past, she didn't seem to be resisting enough, so he kept going. From what we've seen, even though they kissed she didn't give him any more encouragement than that, and might have shoved him off even then. The drunk walker/drunk driver analogy is a good one. Drunk walking, or drunk hanging out with a trusted friend, is something that doesn't naturally have any bad consequences to it by itself. Drunk driving or drunk sex, though, is an active action that is well-known to result in bad consequences. People don't lose 100% of their judgment when drunk, right? If you gave a drunk person a gun and told them to go shoot a person, their brain would still be able to process and say no to that? So the trick is to get drunk sex in people's minds to that same category of "don't ever ever ever do that", so that even when drunk, they don't do that thing.

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If anything, she was being responsible by attaching herself to a friend instead of a random person at the party she didn't know.

 

I don't see Tank as much of a friend, more like an ex who still had feelings for her. She felt uncomfortable in the past when they were in a bedroom together but I'd have never felt comfortable around him again, much less tell him my relationship woes about my current boyfriend who I had cheated on him with. I don't even know why Tank was in the deaf dorm to begin with, I don't think he has a connection with anyone in that group unless Toby was there. Had this been a fraternity party I'd have understood, but I think it was a gamble deciding to party with him of all people, especially with alcohol involved and being upset about Emmett. Just because Tank claimed he was over the cheating, I wouldn't have let my guard down. I'd have chosen a safer net: Travis and Natalie for instance, but Bay was angry and had a rough day so I could see how she just wanted to let off some steam and let herself have some fun, it's unfortunate.

Edited by Eri

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You talk about teaching boys better, but all this episode did was "teach" boys that they shouldn't even attempt to have sex with anyone while drunk by instilling fear (by not putting any responsibility on the other drunk party whatsoever), and on the other side of the token, they made coming out to counselors look entirely unappealing to women. Just a bad example to set all around. I feel terrible for both Bay and Tank, especially at this point for Tank.

Eek, I'm more than a little nervous to wade in here, but as a parent of three teenagers -- one girl, two boys -- and as a teacher in high school and college, I've thought about these issues a great deal.

 

It happened that I watched this episode with my fourteen year old son -- and I flat-out told him to never have sex while drunk or with someone else who is drunk. I told him that I want him to respect sex enough, to respect himself enough, and to respect the other party enough to simply not do it. We talked about the dangers of the he said/she said. And we talked about how consent is simply different for women (I'm talking strictly about heterosexual male/female sex -- certainly there are all sorts of issues in other relationships, and I mean no disrespect to those, but for the sake of this conversation, I want to be clear.) because of the fundamental anatomical differences between  men and women and because of the culture that surrounds sex. The reality is -- it is far more likely for a woman to be violated than a man in a drunken sex encounter. It doesn't mean that Tank intended to violate Bay, as his judgment was most certainly impaired. And certainly intention matters, or at least Bay thought it did. But Tank's intention does not negate the fact that Bay, in fact, felt violated.

 

For all that I have bitched about this show and these writers, I thought there were some things that were handled pretty realistically here. One -- Bay's confusion. Some have said that Bay never thought it was rape until others put that in her mind. But isn't that kind of the point? That women have so long been shamed into silence about sex that "didn't feel right"? Bay never latched on to the word rape and wanted to reject the victim status. She seemed to own her part in the situation -- that mistakes were made all around. But perhaps it is important for Bay (for culture) to have the paradigm shift that sex that "didn't feel right" is a violation and might even be rape (and perhaps I'm splitting hairs in trying to make a distinction between violation and rape). She was falling-down, room-spinning drunk, and he had the foresight to get her a bottle of water. I would argue that she was a good deal more drunk than she was. Her confusion and shifting perspectives the next days seemed quite realistic.

 

And sadly, the whole reporting aspect spinning out of her control seemed realistic -- though I would think that up until very, very recently (when universities have been under fire to handle sexual assault more seriously), the likelihood of the powers that be taking Bay's "side" would have been very small. I thought some of what happened with the Title IX woman was that many universities, in an attempt to take themselves out of the line of fire, may well take what "she said" far more seriously. Certainly we could argue a lack of due process for Tank here, and I think it truly matters that Bay never wanted him to be expelled, that she doesn't think he is a monster, but a man who made a bad decision. But that the decision about Tank was taken out of her hands seems realistic.

 

I liked that Daphne (FINALLY!!) served as a supportive sister, and that the parents actually parented. John's hug for Bay slayed me. Emmett's initial reaction irritated the hell out me -- especially throwing his computer. Dude, that's expensive equipment.

 

Finally, the underlying issue -- the incredible amounts of binge drinking that goes on at colleges. THAT is a societal scourge. I have recently read some studies that show it is getting worse, yet it is treated as some kind of normal rite of passage by many who look the other way. As we as a culture address issues of consent and rape, I hope we also address issues of alcohol abuse.

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