Bad choice, yes, but no is still no

Dear Amy: I recently attended a frat party, got drunk and made some bad decisions.

I let a guy take me to “his” room because he promised that he wouldn’t do anything I wasn’t comfortable with.

Many times, I clearly said I didn’t want to have sex, and he promised to my face that he wouldn’t.

Then he quickly proceeded to go against what he “promised.” I was shocked, and maybe being intoxicated made my reaction time a bit slow in realizing what was happening.


We were soon kicked out of the room by the guy who lived there, who was pretty angry.

I guess my question is, if I wasn’t kicking and fighting him off, is it still rape?

I feel like calling it that is a bit extreme, but I haven’t felt the same since it happened.

Am I a victim?


Victim? in Virginia

Dear Victim?: First, thank you. I hope your letter will be posted on college bulletin boards everywhere.

Were you a victim? Yes.

First, you were a victim of your own awful judgment. Getting drunk at a frat house is a hazardous choice for anyone to make because of the risk (some might say a likelihood) that you will engage in unwise or unwanted sexual contact.

You don’t say whether the guy was also drunk. If so, his judgment was also impaired.

No matter what, “no” means no. If you say no beforehand, then the sex shouldn’t happen. If you say no while it’s happening, then the sex should stop.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network website (

“Alcohol and drugs are not an excuse -- or an alibi. The key question is still: Did you consent or not? Regardless of whether you were drunk or sober, if the sex is nonconsensual, it is rape. However, because each state has different definitions of “nonconsensual,” please contact your local center or local police if you have questions about this. (If you were so drunk or drugged that you passed out and were unable to consent, it was rape. Both people must be conscious and willing participants.)”


Go to your college’s health department to be tested for STDs and pregnancy. See a counselor to determine how you want to approach this. You must involve the guy in question to determine what happened and because he absolutely must take responsibility and face the consequences for his actions, just as you are prepared to do. He may have done this before.


Dear Amy: About a year ago, I purchased a used car from my aunt and made arrangements to pay her monthly. Unfortunately my aunt passed away in August, but her son (my cousin) is still trying to collect on the balance, which is about $700.

I don’t feel I should have to pay this money to him, because this was not his car, it was his mother’s.

I made two payments to him because he was going through hard times and also don’t want him going back to other family members to complain.

Do I owe this money to him? If so, should I split it between him and his brother? I do not know how to approach it.

Anxious Debtor

Dear Anxious: You do need to pay your debt in full.


The smartest thing might be to pay your debt directly to your aunt’s bank; the person assigned to dispose of her estate would determine who should get the money.


Dear Amy: Responding to the letter from “Linda,” who was upset about the uncivilized political discourse in this country, when I was a girl (a long time ago) there were three subjects never discussed in polite company: politics, religion and sex.

It made for much more genteel and interesting conversation on such topics as art, music and literature.

Missing the Old Days

Send questions to Amy Dickinson by e-mail to or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.