When acquaintance rape is conceptualized primarily around the issue of consent, prevention efforts also become narrowed to this specific issue. Prevention programs, especially those with college students, often focus on teaching men and women how to clearly negotiate consent and avoid mis- communication. Women are taught which behaviors and situations to avoid because of the impact such behaviors may have on others’ decisions regarding her consent. For example, researchers may emphasize the impor­tance of telling women that alcohol may impair their ability to commu­nicate sexual intent, yet not emphasize the importance of telling men that alcohol may cloud their judgment and that extra measures may need to be taken to ensure their partner’s consent.

When focusing on the issue of consent, these prevention programs become the only solution to the problem of acquaintance rape. This view suggests that couples must engage in open, verbal consent for all sexual activity. Although some may view this approach as desirable, it is unlikely to reduce the incidence of acquaintance rape because it ignores the social context in which acquaintance rape occurs. Moreover, as we discussed, consent is a socially constructed decision, a decision in which the woman’s actual desire may be overshadowed by socially prescribed norms, myths, and practices. It is naive to believe that one woman can choose to position herself, as Gavey (1992) has stated, “in a feminist discourse on sexuality in an otherwise misogynist material context” (p. 330).