One of the most difficult things to do in life is to decline something that’s free. The hordes of people who take time out of their day to wait in lines for free FreezeFest gear, the number of events that hand out free food and the popularity of free t-shirts assure me that I am not alone in this belief.

Although I will happily accept a free pen, hat or sweatshirt on occasion, I refuse to accept something that is being given to me for free based solely on my gender.

The most offensive of these giveaways offered to females is Ladies Drink Free nights. This is when women get into parties or clubs for free or at a discounted rate. They often get some sort of drink deal at the bar, too.

The strategy behind this tactic is fairly simple. If a girl can get into a club, bar or campus party and drink for free, she is more likely to go. When heterosexual guys know that there are bound to be girls at this location, they are more likely to go, too. The girls get in for free and the guys pay for access to these women, essentially turning these women into  commodities.

This objectifies women and it is sexist in its differing treatment based on gender.   Even worse, this tactic promotes rape culture.

This may seem like a harsh accusation because rape is such a controversial topic but in essence, all instances of rape fall under one definition: having sex with someone without consent. When people are intoxicated, their ability to willingly, consciously and knowingly consent to sex is diminished and many argue that once a person is drunk, they are not able to consent at all.

According to Brown University’s Health Education page, “70 percent of college students admit to engaging in unplanned sexual activity primarily as a result of drinking or to having sex they wouldn’t have had if they had been sober.” Even worse, the site also states that alcohol plays a role in over 90 percent of rape cases on campus.

There is a clear connection that sleazier men have drawn between getting a girl drunk and getting her into bed. This isn’t all men of course. There are plenty of decent people who would never take advantage of an intoxicated person. However there are also people like the man from Phi Kappa Tau at Georgia Tech who sent out an email near the beginning of the school year with the subject line “Luring your Rapebait,” where he advised his brothers that if all else failed in their pursuit of a girl to sleep with, they should “GO GET MORE ALCOHOL.”

The Ladies Drink Free tactic promotes the idea that supplying women with enough alcohol to get them intoxicated and then taking advantage of their impaired judgment is perfectly acceptable. This is not acceptable. Taking advantage of or creating a situation in which a person’s capacity to consent or withhold consent is impaired, is rape.

RIT’s own policy about sexual misconduct states that a person may be incapable of giving consent due to intoxication no matter how they became intoxicated. Policies like these do not identify every person who has ever had a few drinks before they engage in sexual activity as a rape victim. In many cases, that is not how either party interprets the interaction. However, if someone does drink too much to be able to consciously consent due to their mental or physical state and someone else takes advantage of that for their own sexual pleasure, that is rape.

Free items, club entries and drinks are difficult to say no to and the possibility of hanging out with a bunch of super cool people of the female variety is difficult to say no to as well. But if you believe in the equal treatment of genders and do not wish to contribute to the already prevalent rape culture in today’s society, please try to say no on these nights.