Pot legalization: Booze-fueled-sex-assault victim previews Women's Marijuana Movement event

toni fox.jpg
Toni Fox.
At 11:30 a.m. this morning in the State Capitol's Senate press room, members of the Women's Marijuana Movement will mark both Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Alcohol Awareness Month by arguing that increased cannabis use may help prevent rapes fueled by booze.

It's a subject that WMM co-founder Toni Fox understands from personal experience.

Fox, who's the stepmother of an eighteen-year-old college student and mother of a fourteen-month-old toddler, comes from what she describes as "an alcoholic family" and admits that she developed "a tendency to use alcohol to the point where you get intoxicated."

This habit led directly to the first of several incidents during her life when she was sexually assaulted, she says.

"I was in tenth grade, and I lived in a small town -- absolutely middle America, where it's socially acceptable for kids to binge-drink at any early age," she recalls. "I was invited to a party with the popular kids and binge-drank with them. And one of the attendees, a very popular kid in school, took complete advantage of me. I was completely inebriated, passed out, and he had sex with me anyway."

Thumbnail image for womens marijuana movement graphic 1.JPG
A graphic from the WMM website.
Similar situations took place in years to come. "When I was older, in my twenties and going out to nightclubs, excessive drinking was always part of the poor choices I made. You lose your ability to rationalize, and bad things can happen. And every woman I've spoken to, other than my daughter, has been sexually assaulted in one form or another -- and when they look back on it, alcohol was involved."

That's one reason Fox got involved with the Mason Tvert-founded SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation) six years ago. She subsequently helped launch the Women's Marijuana Movement -- and her stepdaughter's attendance at Metro State College has only reinforced her views about marijuana versus alcohol.

"My daughter makes the safer choice," notes Fox, who says she now drinks rarely and only in moderation. "Not that I condone her using marijuana when she's only eighteen. But she tells me on almost a weekly basis about someone she knows at school who was date-raped because of alcohol. And thank goodness nothing like that has ever happened to her."

At this morning's event, Fox says, "we're hoping to have at least several dozen women and men in Colorado come forward and represent the opinion that marijuana is safer than alcohol and that we need to legalize it and equalize it to alcohol." This message is expected to be part of a push for a proposed 2012 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use; according to Tvert, the legalization measure is in the planning stages. That's why attendees will be distributing information about marijuana to legislators after the press conference concludes.

"My main goal is to let them see a different face of cannabis users," Fox says. "And to let Coloradans know it's okay, and there's a place where they can join where their voice can be heard."

More from our Marijuana archive: "Pot legalization: Photos of Women's Marijuana Movement event in support of CA's Prop. 19."

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Ebneila
Ebneila

General public opinion has been fed a crock of lies by the anti-drug initiative. Marijuana has IS NOT a gateway drug that leads to abuse, neither is it habit forming or harmful. The benefits of legalization would not only help in many medical therapies, it would be controlled and taxed to lower the deficite. The war on drugs is nothing more than appealing to public fears and needless arrest that cost tax payers $billions incarcerating users. There are many other benefits in industrial cultivation that would produce everything from, new fabrics and paper from plant fiber, to oil based products from the seeds. Such widespread cultivation could reduce dependance on the need for traditonal petroleum for plastics and reap $billions in tax revenue 

Brandt Hardin
Brandt Hardin

Marijuana is the safest drug with actual benefits for the user as opposed to alcohol which is dangerous, causes addiction, birth defects, and affects literally every organ in the body. Groups are organizing all over the country to speak their minds on reforming pot laws. I drew up a very cool poster for the cause which you can check out on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot... Drop in and let me know what you think!

marylou
marylou

I'm sure the sex predators don't care if their victims are stoned or drunk.

Betty Aldworth
Betty Aldworth

outraged!, you are in some very desperate need of education. I'm sure you're not interested in actually educating yourself, but just in case, I'd like to recommended that you start here: finallyfeminism101.wordpress.c...

Legalize2012.com
Legalize2012.com

In 2005, SAFER ran a similar promotion linking battered women to marijuana prohibition during the campaign for Initiative 100, which made marijuana the "lowest law enforcement priority" in Denver. During the campaign for I-100, billboards were erected around Denver showing a woman with a black eye and a man standing behind her, presumably her attacker, with the message "Vote Yes on I-100". Mason Tvert, director of SAFER, was widely criticized by women's groups and political strategists for being misleading and deceptive in the ads.http://www.thedenverchannel.co...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

SAFER/WMM do not give any research to back up their assertion that marijuana use can help prevent sexual violence, because there is none. Instead, they say that they want the federal government to do a study to explore to "the possibility that alcohol-related assaults could be reduced if marijuana becomes a legal alternative to alcohol."

"This is clearly a stretch to say this. There is no evidence linking a decrease in domestic violence to cannabis use," says Denise Washington, Executive Director of Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence in an interview with the Cannabis Press Association.

The Legalize 2012 Campaign (legalize2012.com) is promoting a positive campaign, linking cannabis freedom with increased tax revenue, job creation and freeing up prison space for violent offenders. We feel trying to link marijuana prohibition with battered women only harms relegalization efforts, as their is only a tenuous connection between the two at best. This type of fear-based campaign is offensive to many women, who see this as an attempt to make light of their experiences with sexual assault, and to the many men who consume alcohol responsibly and do not use it as an excuse to engage in sexual violence.

It's great to bring awareness about alcohol's role in sexual violence, but why bring marijuana into it, when there is no evidence that a connection exists and when it offends so many people?

This political strategy well-illustrates the differences in our campaigns.

CR
CR

I'm confused by your group's stance against the Women's Marijuana Movement, considering that one of the people on your legal advisory board Robert Corry Jr. is the husband of Jessica Corry, a spokesperson for the WMM:

http://womensmarijuanamovement...http://legalize2012.com/commit...

*****"This is clearly a stretch to say this. There is no evidence linking a decrease in domestic violence to cannabis use," says Denise Washington, Executive Director of Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence in an interview with the Cannabis Press Association."*****

90 percent of Ms. Washington's organization relies on government grants ($571,234 out of the $641,368 they received in 2009), so she has a big incentive not to bite the hand that feeds her by advocating for marijuana reform. See her 2009 Form 990 at Guidestar.com, Part VIII, Line 1e.

*****This type of fear-based campaign is offensive to many women, who see this as an attempt to make light of their experiences with sexual assault,...

It's great to bring awareness about alcohol's role in sexual violence, but why bring marijuana into it,....*****

What could possibly make light of violence prevention campaigns more than laws that encourage people to use alcohol while tagging others with a lifetime criminal record for possessing marijuana, a much safer alternative to alcohol?

Finally, who is the Executive Director/President of Legalize2012.com? It's interesting that you are bashing Toni Fox and the Womens Marijuana Movement, but the coordinators for your group will not even come out of the shadows.

Andsoitbegins
Andsoitbegins

After reading K Chippi's and Legalize 2012 Campaign's replies to this article... I'm taking my gloves OFF. No more trying to reason with these fools. No more listening to these fools. No more. If all they can do is attack others.... they can expect the same thing to happen to them.

From now on, I will be out to destroy these jokers.

First target Timothy Tipton (aka midnight rider & commjexpert). First course of action, call all CO Court districts and find out where he "supposedly" has testified as a CO MMJ expert (lol), and then inform them of this recent arrest in WY for MJ. (BTW: Thanks, Tim, for admitting this, in public, at a CTI event at Casselman's).

Ericks Mom
Ericks Mom

Hello, Andsoitbegins.....obviously it begins with NOTHING, Erick.  You should re read Kathleen's comments.  She didn't mention Toni Fox, or the WMM or attack anyone.  She asked for facts and science.  What do you have against that? 

patient
patient

Since alcohol is so much worse than pot, why would we treat pot equal to alcohol? Your just continuing the lies and mis information.

I heard Brian Vicente (Sensible Co and now CAMR) at the NORML conference saying we should integrate recreational pot legalization into the mmj MMC model (a model he supported in hb1284), which includes personal licensing data collecting for users by the state, RFID chips and video surveillance available to all law enforcement including the DEA and pot cops.........yes, you could still break one of their new pot laws, even if they 'legalized' it.

I don't know if Brain is talking to patients or caregivers whose rights have been exterminated, but very few people support the attack on their rights for medical, let alone recreational.

Betty Aldworth
Betty Aldworth

What nearly everyone in this conversation is missing is the notion of consent: sexual activity without active and informed consent is not mutual sexual activity, it's sexual assault.

Please see the following link for a basic definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...

In a culture--fueled by alcohol where sexual violence is regularly normalized or tolerated--that regularly exploits women and their bodies, alcohol consumption on the part of people who may be the targets of sexual assault lowers their capacity to give consent (whether they are passed out or simply too inebriated to make an informed decision).

Far more dangerous, though, is the lowered decision-making capacity of the potential perpetrator. Excessive alcohol consumption, which is well-known to make already aggressive people more aggressive and to distance people from awareness of consequences of their actions, creates situations and opportunities where people who may (in sobriety) be bounded by their inhibitions more dangerous than they would be when sober.

I would bet money that every woman you know who has been in a social situation involving alcohol has been groped, harassed, or worse--whether she was sober or intoxicated. I would also bet money that very few women you know who have been in social situations involving cannabis as the primary intoxicant have had that kind of experience.

The argument that cannabis prohibition may increase the prevalence of sexual violence does not suggest that legalized cannabis is the great coming of the end of sexual violence in America. It simply begs a question: if adults were able to make responsible decisions about using any intoxicant other than one that is well-known to be dangerous and aggression-inducing, might we see a decrease in dangerous and aggressive incidents?

What's so bad about asking that question?

CR
CR

Betty Aldworth said: "It simply begs a question: if adults were able to make responsible decisions about using any intoxicant other than one that is well-known to be dangerous and aggression-inducing, might we see a decrease in dangerous and aggressive incidents?

What's so bad about asking that question?"

Thank you, Betty. You are a true voice of reason. I'm so proud of all the work mainstream marijuana policy reform groups are doing and the brave women publicly sharing their traumatic experiences with sexual assault and rape. This news article is misleading because Toni Fox is refusing to play the role of the victim and has taken matters into her own hands in reducing her risk posed by the culture of alcohol-fueled violence. Her public education efforts are an inspiration to all men and women who have been harmed by the CoA in various tragic ways.

Commjexpert
Commjexpert

Betty, you seem clueless in this! We're not interested, as a community, on your 'question', and, in fact, as with most intellectual women, are repulsed by the marketing theme for re-legalization. Your corporate interests and shock value offerings at the expense of real education and compassion are repulsive. Be gone Commr! Be gone Safer! Be gone Senseless Colorado! Be gone Norml! (Please take your media spun Montel and spin claiming Colorado is Great for medical lies!) Be gone ASA! Bye bye Betty....

NotTimmy
NotTimmy

Tim Tipton: You are one to talk. For people who are not aware of Tim Tipton... simply google "Timothy Tipton" MMJ scam. This low-life has hurt a lot of people, and his actions have directly led to more than one person being imprisoned.

This guy is beyond a joke - he is a shame and a sham.

Betty Aldworth
Betty Aldworth

I'm sorry that you find your education and experience more valid than my formal education in women's studies, extensive informal education in rape culture and sexual violence, and life experience. But I can tell you--from my life experience and my education--that an erect penis isn't required to perpetrate sexual assault, which seems to be the primary argument in your press release above.

I'm not going to go away because you stare at me with a hairy eyeball in meetings. I'm not going to go away because your friends yell at me in public. And I'm certainly not going to go away because you levy baseless, personally insulting, or ill-conceived arguments against me or my opinions on the Westword blog.

People with opinions different than yours are just as entitled to express those opinions as you are yours.

outraged!
outraged!

This 'angle' on pot reform didn't work for Mason Tvert and SAFER in 2005. The community was outraged last time you tried to link pot smoking to decreases in domestic violence.

Eva Enns
Eva Enns

It did work, the initiative on the ballot in 2005 to decriminalize possession among adults in the city and county of Denver PASSED.

outraged!
outraged!

"When I was older, in my twenties and going out to night clubs, excessive drinking was always part of the poor choices I made. You lose your ability to rationalize, and bad things can happen. And every woman I've spoken to, other than my daughter, has been sexually assaulted in one form or another -- and when they look back on it, alcohol was involved."

So your blaming the victims poor choices for their assaults? This is insane. Woman all over the world should be outraged. Thanks for taking us back to the dark ages, which is what your fake legalization for mmj does also.

patient
patient

I was wondering if Toni Fox or her husband were fueled with alcohol or pot when they called at 7 am on a Saturday morning leaving a message calling me crazy and nuts and hanging up. Caller id made it pretty easy to figure out who is crazy enough to be up at 7am on a Sat. calling to leave crazy messages.

Was it alcohol......cause it surely wasn't a pot.

Legalize 2012 Campaign
Legalize 2012 Campaign

Legalize 2012 Campaign Does Not Blame the Victims of Sexual Assault

Contact: Legalize 2012.comhttp://www.Legalize2012.com1-877-420-4205

The Legalize 2012 Campaign (legalize2012.com) has NO relation to SAFER and the Women's Marijuana Movement, who today took advantage of Sexual Assault Awareness Month to hold a press conference in a attempt to link cannabis use and with preventing sexual assault. Legalize 2012 is appalled that SAFER and the Women's Marijuana Movement would use the issue of Sexual Assault Awareness month to make a case for the legalization of marijuana. This belittles the real causes of sexual assault and perpetuates the "blame the victim" thinking that activists against sexual assault have been trying to overcome for years.

SAFER and the Women's Marijuana Movement claim that "marijuana prohibition is driving people to drink and fueling incidents of sexual assault and date rape" and say that they want to explore "the possibility that alcohol-related assaults could be reduced if marijuana becomes a legal alternative to alcohol." They claim that 50% to 90% of sexual assault cases "involve the use of alcohol by the victim, the perpetrator, or both."

In an interview in Westword, Toni Fox of the Women's Marijuana Movement, says when she was in high school she got drunk and passed out and someone raped her while she was passed out. Fox implies that if she would have smoked pot, she would not have been raped, blaming herself for her assault.http://blogs.westword.com/late...

Fox doesn't mention whether the perpetrator of her rape was not drunk or not. Since it is common knowledge that alcohol prevents men from having erections, making it more difficult to perform a sexual assault, then the SAFER/WMM assertion that alcohol is a cause of sexual assault would only put the blame on the victim.

The Legalize 2012 Campaign believes these outrageous statements diminish and cheapen the devastation of someone who has been sexually assaulted. For SAFER/WMM to say to the victims, "if you would just have smoked a joint, you would not have been raped" puts the blame back on the victim of the assault, not the perpetrators. For SAFER/WMM to say to the perpetrator, "if you would have just smoked a joint, you wouldn't have the urge to rape someone" ignores the underlying pathology, mental and societal problems that really causes a person to commit sexual assault.

Legalize 2012 supports every effort to prevent sexual assault. However, we feel it sends the wrong message to try to link sexual assault with marijuana prohibition. The SAFER/WMM statements are an opportunistic attempt get publicity at the expense of facts and research. There has been NO research that has shown that if perpetrators or victims smoke pot they are less likely to engage in or become victims of sexual assault. There has been ample research that shows that men who consume alcohol are actually less likely to obtain an erection, thus less likely to be able to commit rape. By the SAFER/WMM reasoning then, if more men smoked pot instead of drank, they would be more capable of committing rape, not less.

Legalize 2012 has nothing to do with the cheap publicity stunt perpetrated by SAFER and WMM. The reasons for cannabis relegalization number in the thousands. There is no need to go into the area of preventing sexual assault to make a case of relegalization. It cheapens the cannabis movement, and offends the thousands of women who were the victims of sexual assault by blaming victims of sexual assault for their rapes by saying they used the "wrong drug."

The Legalize 2012 Campaign has been actively working on a freedom-based model to legalization for the 2012 ballot. SAFER and the Women's Marijuana Movement reported recently that they are also working on a ballot initiative, based on the law enforcement model. The SAFER/WMM campaign has no relation to Legalize 2012.

###

Just Wondering
Just Wondering

What kind of entity is the PCRLP? You're accepting donations, so how are they declared? Have you released a budget or an annual report? Are you a nonprofit? Are you accountable to your donors in any way? How do I know that my money has gone to something other than something you burn in your bowls?

Betty Aldworth
Betty Aldworth

Erectile dysfunction caused by alcohol clearly isn't helping in the more than half of incidents of sexual violence involving alcohol.

Oh, and by the way: sexual violence doesn't require an erect penis. Lucky you if you don't know that.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Thanks for this long and passionate post, Legalize 2012 campaign. You've obviously stirred a lot of discussion. We're going to make this an upcoming Comment of the Day. Congrats.

Jake Browne
Jake Browne

"The SAFER/WMM statements are an opportunistic attempt get publicity at the expense of facts and research."

And this is an opportunistic attempt to get publicity at the expense of a woman who was sexually assaulted.

Shame on you.

Legalize 2012 Campaign
Legalize 2012 Campaign

Shame on us for sending out a press release distancing ourselves from this negative and misleading campaign?

Legalize2012.com
Legalize2012.com

To Jake: There was a little more to the press release than what you got out of it:

For SAFER/WMM to say to the victims, "if you would just have smoked a joint, you would not have been raped" puts the blame back on the victim of the assault, not the perpetrators.

This is the type of propaganda that women have been literally fighting for decades to overcome -- that they were somehow responsible for being raped. The "blame the victim" mentality.

Jake Browne
Jake Browne

For starting your own negative and misleading campaign. How you, or anyone at CTI/Legalize 2012, could think that a press release about erectile dysfunction was an appropriate response is beyond me.

?????
?????

Should woman be offering their attackers a joint before the assault?

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Fox says, "we're hoping to..... represent the opinion that marijuana is safer than alcohol and that we need to legalize it and equalize it to alcohol."

First--it's not an opinion that marijuana is safer than alcohol, it's a fact.Cannabis is SAFER than water, 9 raw potato's and chamomile. It's the safest therapeutic substance known to man, with no known lethal dose. Almost everything is safer than alcohol.

Second--Since alcohol KILLS over 450,000 people a year and cannabis has killed ZERO people in 10,000 years of recorded history, why would SAFER or Toni Fox want to regulate cannabis EQUAL to alcohol? We don't need more mis direction or over regulation (reefer madness).

We need honesty backed with science and facts. Yes, cannabis should be legal based solely on the fact that it is the safest therapeutic substance known to man with no known lethal dose. It should NOT be EQUAL to alcohol because it is COMPLETELY different.

Oo
Oo

you can die from eating 9 raw potatoes?

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

yes--50% of test subjects will die from eating 9 raw potatoes.

Enough is enough!
Enough is enough!

WTF? Marijuana is now the drug that warts off rape and sexual violence?

I admit that facts about the tree of life (cannabis) are astounding, (like it's the safest therapeutic substance know to man, it's the strongest natural fiber on the planet, it's the most nutritionally complete seed on the planet for human consumption etc.)

But this inference that if Toni Fox had smoked pot she wouldn't have been raped is outrageous! Sex assault is a mental problem in offenders, not VICTIMS!

This is written as if the VICTIMS of sexual violence are the ones responsible for the rape and sexual violence.

The Spleen
The Spleen

Yes, how dare Ms. Fox decide what is best for her and what might have helped stop the horrendous assault she survived! YOU are a much better decider! Only YOU get to tell rape victims how to feel and react!

If this isn't clear enough yet: fuck off. You're an idiot who seems totally incapable of nuanced comprehension.

Enough is enough!
Enough is enough!

How dare Ms Fox imply woman would be safer from sex assault if pot were involved.

Ms. Fox and the victims in this story were the ones "fueled" with alcohol. It says nothing about the alcohol content in the attackers. Ms. Fox is implying if she had smoked a joint instead of drinking, she would not have been assaulted. Did the attackers agree they would have changed their actions, had someone smoked a joint?

The Spleen
The Spleen

So you agree: YOU are the only person qualified and capable of interpreting and understanding the trauma and horror of a sexual assault you didn't experience. Ms. Fox's response to her own experience is totally invalid because YOU know better.

Good luck with that.

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

Maybe you missed this part - "I was invited to a party with the popular kids and binge-drank with them. And one of the attendees, a very popular kid in school, took complete advantage of me. I was completely inebriated, passed out, and he had sex with me anyway."

They binge drank together. That would imply that the attacker was also "fueled" with alcohol. I think the point she was trying to make is that if they engaged in "binge smoking" she would not have been taken advantage of that way.

Betty Aldworth
Betty Aldworth

Toni, thank you for sharing your story and shining a light on a danger of alcohol consumption that is so often overlooked in epidemiological data. As a fellow survivor of booze-fueled assault, I appreciate the work you are doing to make sure this next generation of young women has a safer choice available to them.

Readers can click here to ask the CDC to study the impact of marijuana prohibition on sexual assault in America: http://salsa.wiredforchange.co...

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