What Happened Last Night?



Dear Dharma,

Straight up: What determines the horrible “R” word or someone taking advantage of another?

It is said that both parties have to consent but what about when things get a bit muddy as in if alcohol was involved… Or even muddier when you’ve had relations in the past with that person but one particular drunken night you wake up mid coitus… but don’t remember how it started and don’t even remember how it finished.

What would this be considered as? Does it all depend on how both people are feeling the next day about it?

Let’s be clear that these two people were not in a relationship, but did have a very long unhealthy friendship.  Does the past make the incident okay?


Dear Confused,

Argh. I feel like I’m about to plunge off some terribly steep PC cliff with this one…

For me… for me the feeling of being violated and/or manipulated into a sexual experience that you didn’t want, and expressed you did not want, would work towards defining rape.  Residual feelings of trauma would contribute as well.

However, I don’t know if I think all human interactions can be neatly packaged into right and wrong boxes (as in, because X occurred, it must be defined as Y) and I’m also trying to read between the lines of your question.

Your question, I think… I think, is “Hey Dharma, I was hanging out with a former Friends with Benefits the other night, we got really drunk and ended up in bed together.  No memory of how we got there, but I know we had sex.  Was I raped?”

Huge apologies if I’m way off base and take this in the wrong direction based on that assumption…

And huge apologies for my lame ass answer.

I don’t know.

Simply put, I couldn’t draw enough from your question.  Dharma doesn’t know how you define an “unhealthy friendship” and what that all entailed.  I don’t know how you feel about this person in general or how they feel about you.  Was force was involved or did you wake up feeling mortified, traumatized?  Who ended the Friends with Benefits relationship and will you choose to spend time with this friend again since this latest episode?

The answers to all of those questions ties in deeply to the nature of what potentially happened.

However, if you are feeling uncomfortable at the thought of spending time with this person again, or have a gut feeling that something bad went down, then perhaps there’s something to pursue – or not pursue, as in walking away from any type of relationship with this person.  Because apart from that, I don’t know how you would go about verifying what exactly happened.  I suppose you could ask him, but… would he be honest?  Frick.  I don’t know…

Otherwise I would say if you are content to leave it alone, then do so.  Don’t feel obligated to escalate things if you genuinely don’t want to, simply based on a political stance.

Would love if any other readers could weigh in on this, as Dharma’s not sure she’s been useful here at all.



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