A victim's advocate knows that you cannot be both at the same time. You don't straddle the fence. You don't tap dance. You don't double talk. You don't have the luxury of speculating.
Be a devil's advocate. Be a well-intentioned bystander, trying to learn something. Hell. Be an indifferent troll. But tell the truth about it. And don't claim to be an advocate, until you understand and appreciate what it means, and how emotionally strenuous it is.
When you are a victim's advocate, your response is clear, and your role is simple. Believe and support the victim. Nobody said it's easy. But it is that simple.
You do not investigate speculations or gather evidence. That's law enforcement's job. You do not dissect or sharp-shoot the credibility of the complaining witness. That's the defense attorney's job. You are not impartial. That is the judge and jury's job. And any so-called confusion is a self-inflicted hazard of devil's advocacy, much like vicarious trauma is a potential hazard of victim advocacy.
For the love of all that is good and decent, there is absolutely nothing "unambiguously consensual" about sex with an incapacitated person. Not at any age, under any circumstances. The justice system that exonerated Nate Parker is the same flawed one that acquitted George Zimmerman, Darren Wilson, and any other shameless ilk who will likely take the truth to their graves (or trusted circles) about what really happened.
As much as I once admired the work of Parker (his roommate/writing partner/partner in crime, Celestin, can go to hell, too), Bill Cosby, and R. Kelly, all I have to give any of them at this time is contempt, disappointment, and shame. And no, I'm not in any hurry to forgive anybody who has yet to say "I'm sorry."
Show me some remorse. Show some courage of accountability. And don't spin me no long-winded, vague-ass yarns about dark moments of youth, or poor choices of decades past, and try to dress it up as a contrite heart. That dog don't hunt. Own your shit. Tell the truth.
There are many things on which you can blame unapologetically reckless youth. Underage drinking? Check. Smoking weed? Ehhh...sure. Twerking on camera (however badly)? Well...okay. But rape? No. Period. No. You sexually assaulted somebody, and you're not even sorry? Fuck you.
But y'all jokers go 'head on, keep being devil's advocates, and absolving people and incidents in whom or in which you may see past (or present) versions of yourselves.
Go on, and keep your lips pursed to tell your children, spouses, and mothers, how they are complicit in their own peril, because "under certain circumstances," they *could* contribute to their own detriment at the hands of others, that they relinquish their basic human rights to be untouched without their explicit consent.
Tell them, "but...," one time, and watch them not come to you as fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties, leaders, or friends, when they become *the one* of the one-in-four.
Know that while you sponge away the brutality, and misplace the culpability of their experienced, allowing them to carry the contempt, disappointment and shame that should be reserved for their assailants, they will suffer in silence. Some of them already are.