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Memory Does Not Define Rape

Singer Cee-Lo Green recently made headlines after pleading no contest to supplying a woman with Ecstasy; these charges arose from an incident where the same woman claimed that he spiked her drink, and that she woke up naked in his room. She immediately went to the police, and recorded a phone call with the singer where he admitted giving her the drug. Green maintains that the sex was consensual. But it was what Cee-Lo did after his plea deal that really raised eyebrows: he took to Twitter in an attempt to redefine the meaning of rape, and to claim his innocence.

His tweets speak for themselves:


Yes, according to Cee-Lo, if someone doesn’t remember being raped, she or he was not actually raped. These tweets are mind-bogglingly offensive — and WRONG as a matter of law, morality and common sense (which is probably why he deleted them shortly after posting). He later “apologized” without taking any actual responsibility for the posts. Television station TBS cancelled his reality show, The Good Life, within 24 hours of the tweets.

Unfortunately, there are probably at least a few people who share Cee-Lo’s views on rape (we do live in a culture where it was necessary to invent nail polish to detect the presence of date rape drugs, after all!) . For that reason, we’d like to take this opportunity to review what rape actually is:

  • Rape is sexual contact or penetration without consent of the victim.

  • If a person cannot consent — due to age, mental status/disability, or incapacitation due to drugs or alcohol — she or he cannot consent to sexual activity.

  • If a person cannot consent to sexual activity, then having sexual contact with that person is rape.

It’s as simple as that: if a person has been drugged, then she or he cannot consent to sexual activity. If you have sex with that person, it is rape, regardless of whether she or he remembers it.

If you are sickened by what Cee-Lo said, or the prevalence of this attitude towards rape in our culture, get involved! Click the links below to learn how to join Blackburn Center’s mission to end sexual and domestic violence in our community.

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