Booze-filled, chaperone-free parties. Teasing that crossed the line under the influence of alcohol. Relatively shy young men who became “aggressive and even belligerent” when drinking. Whatever the behavior of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, it’s become clear that the circles he traveled in as a young man — both at prep school and later Yale University — were characterized by young men drinking, a lot. And by young women whose social interactions were fraught with danger.
Every drink is downed amid cultural expectations and societally mediated attitudes about women and power. Those things — and how young men absorb them — have a stronger causal influence than the alcohol alone. When a man feels entitled to assault someone, he may get drunk before he does it, but the decision to act was ultimately his alone.