Drunken women put themselves in danger – judge’s wrist slapped

Drunken women put themselves in danger – judge’s wrist slapped

“I find it incredible that young people get so drunk that they don’t know who they’re with.” The judge concerned was sentencing a woman who had punched another woman in a drunken affray and linked his remarks to the killing of a young woman after a “night out” elsewhere.

Women’s groups accused the judge of wanting to make victims of sexual violence responsible for their plight. The difficulty here is that women who are drunk can be taken advantage of, by someone who is cold and calculating or by someone who is equally drunk and incapable of knowing what he or she is doing.

Rather than shutting down this argument, because it can be challenged as an affront to women, it should be extended. People who are drunk, especially in public places, are not only vulnerable, but they are a nuisance. Not only are they incapable of protecting themselves, and others for whom they may be responsible, but they are incapable of acting as responsible citizens, unable to help others, to summon help or to give evidence in court. By their drunken and disorderly conduct they encourage others to behave badly and indeed, in significant numbers, they provide sufficient confusion for criminal behaviour to pass unnoticed, unchallenged and unreported.

Perhaps we should regard drunkenness as contributory negligence, as making easier others’ wrong-doing. When drunkeness imperils our ability to perform such things as driving a car we face fines and imprisonment: why not extend this requirement, that we should behave responsibly and considerately, to other important responsibilities, starting perhaps with parenthood.

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