Messy military lawyer here talking about dispelling myths that I have even heard when I was in processing. And I’ve certainly heard and overheard when I’ve gone to sit in on these briefings as a military uniformed prosecutor because I was really worried about them putting out misinformation.
There seemed to be a real big uptick on the number of reports and complaints of sexual assault after we had one of these briefings. The second myth that I want to dispel…Not even close this idea that if you cannot remember some parts of the sexual encounter, that that means 100% that you were not able to legally consent. Also not the case. There are an infinitesimal number of articles and studies that talk about the impact of alcohol on memory. We know and understand from having looked at all this literature and all the experts that we call to testify on these matters, that if you think about it like old school, and maybe this is really outside of anybody else’s understanding, but when you’re thinking about like maybe back in the day, anybody, my ages, babies, anybody back from the seventies and beyond, when we would make mix tapes, right? You’ve got the boombox, you can press play, and then there’s also that second button on top of the play that says record, right? When any of us are interacting and doing our day to day activities, if nothing else is inhibiting our ability to remember things.
You know, as we’re going on, both those buttons are down, right play. We’re doing these things and we’re also encoding it. We’re recording it in our memory. Alcohol is something that can block those synapses from being able to record memory. And so oftentimes you’ll hear peer periods of time when people have been drinking that maybe they can’t remember kind, they, you kinda remember flashes or maybe they remember very little from an encounter like, oh gosh. The last thing I remember was we were at the bar, and the next thing I know I’m waking up at home. The shorter periods are called fragmentary blackouts. The longer periods are called unblock blackouts. The absence of memory alone does not mean that you could not consent. It may mean that you don’t remember consenting, but failing to have a recollection of a sexual encounter does not mean by itself that you were not able to consent any more information. Check it out on my website or even on my YouTube channel. Messy Military Lawyer.
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Jocelyn Stewart is a UCMJ court-martial attorney who specializes in defense of allegations of sexual assault for all branches of the military worldwide.
Contact the Law Office of Jocelyn C. Stewart at 1-888-252-0927.