I'm not sure what to say about Helen Mirren's comments on date rape.
Let me state that I think that is good that rape victims speak out. Recent events have reminded me that sometimes people need senstive manner.
But as for the substance of Mirren's comments. There have been times when I think that the women's movement needs to take their fingers out of their ears and acknowledge that if a woman is going into a man's house or conversely that she invites him over to hers during the wee small hours of the morning then they need to think carefully about what signals their actions are giving to their partner. Because let's face it, for a lot of young New Zealanders a normal night out on the town consists of getting so hammered they can barely stand and then try to find someone to have sex with. If the couple like each other enough, they'll repeat the process and call it a relationship.
But then there are huge grey areas in this sort of thinking. What if she says beforehand, 'hey I don't want to sleep with you tonight' or what if he wants to do stuff that she isn't comfortable with, like anal sex for example. Does the fact she came into the house, car, went somewhere quiet for a snog mean she has given consent for all possible sex acts from the moment they left bar? In the cold hard light of day, my answer is of course not. But the rest of society doesn't seem to have sobered up enough to come to grips with the idea that gaining consent involves more than a drunken pash.*
* No you don't need to whip out a written letter every time you have sex. But perhaps you might want to try and engage in some talk about what you'd like to get up to in the sack. Some people call it foreplay, and from my experience chicks tend to dig it.