It’s clear now that the alleged Hofstra gang rape in a campus bathroom—in which a young woman said 5 guys tied her to a stall and attacked her—was not rape, by any legal definition. Confronted with a cell phone video, the woman recanted within 72 hours, admitting that the sex was consensual. So what was it, Emily Bazelon asks on Double X. Feminists have tried to make sense of alcohol-fueled college sex gone bad with the discredited "date rape," and now “gray rape”—encounters in which no one is quite sure the next day who agreed to what.
The hook-up culture has blurred the line "between consenting and being sexually assaulted," she notes, and date rape, even when the accusation is legitimate, is almost impossible to prove. “It often comes down to two competing accounts,” Bazelon writes. “Add drugs or alcohol to the mix, and you can pretty much forget it.” The young Hofstra student surely did women a disservice, trivializing real rape by going to the police. But the real issue is "how these late-night moments in a random bathroom that everyone regrets can stop before they start."