Note: The exact stats on the level between the use of alcohol or other drugs and sexual assault varies- but it always consistently high. The last study I heard about had the percentage between 70 and 80% for assaults at college campuses. A study done a few years back, specific to Syracuse University, had the percentage at 90%.


(adapted from "Acquaintance Rape and Alcohol Consumption on College Campuses," by Antonia Abbey, PhD, Journal of American College Health. Vol. 39, January 1991)

     Alcohol use by the victim or perpetrator is frequently
associated with acquaintance rape. In one study, 26 percent of the
men who acknowledged committing sexual assault on a date reported
being intoxicated at the time of the assault. An additional 29
percent reported being "mildly buzzed," Thus, a total of 55
Percent were under the influence of alcohol.
     In the same study, 21 percent of the college women who
experienced sexual aggression on a date were intoxicated at the
time of the assault. An additional 32 percent reported being
"mildly buzzed." Thus, a total of 53 percent were under the
influence of alcohol.

The Effects of Alcohol on Men

     Men expect to feel more powerful, sexual and aggressive after 
drinking alcohol. Expectancies have power of their own,
independent  of any genuine physiological processes . When people
expect a  certain outcome, they tend to act in ways that enhance
the  likelihood that the outcome will occur. For example, if a man
feels  powerful and strong after drinking alcohol, then he is more
likely  to assert his viewpoints forcefully and to end up in a
verbal or  physical argument. Studies show that men who think they
have been  drinking alcohol (whether or not they really have) feel
sexually  aroused and are more responsive to erotic stimuli and
rape scenarios.
     Many studies show that men are more likely than women to
interpret a variety of verbal and nonverbal cues as evidence that 
a woman is interested in having sex with a man. For example, males
were more likely than females to rate revealing clothing, secluded 
date locations such as his room or the beach, drinking alcohol, 
complimenting a date, and tickling a date as more indicative of a
desire to have sexual intercourse.
     The tradition of female reluctance and male persistence makes
it easy for men to ignore the woman's "no" and force sex on a
genuinely unwilling partner. Both the man and the woman might not
view this situation as rape. But if sex occurred without verbal
consent, or force was used to obtain sex against the woman's will,
then what happened is legally defined as rape.
     Alcohol consumption by men is likely to enhance the
likelihood that misperception will occur and lead to sexual
assault. For example, for some men going out on a date or going to
a party includes an initial hypothesis that sex will occur.
Drinking alcohol may cause men to interpret or reinterpret a
woman' s behavior as a sign of her desire to have sex with him-in
a way that fits his initial hypothesis. And he will ignore what
she is doing or saying that shows that she is not interested in
sex. If a man starts out on a date thinking, "I'm going to have
sex," he is starting out with a hypothesis that doesn't take the
other person into account. It is a rape mentality.

     Alcohol may be a catalyst, but it is not the cause of the
rape. If you choose to drink, you are responsible for what you do
because of that choice. Alcohol consumption is no justification or
excuse for rape. But misperception is not the only factor, The
majority of acquaintance rapes are planned in advance by the

The Effects of Alcohol on Women

     Alcohol consumption may cause women to ignore or miss cues
that suggest an assault is likely . It may keep a woman from
realizing that her friendly behavior is being perceived as
seduction. (Research studies have shown that men are inclined to
misperceive a woman's friendliness as a sign of sexual interest.)
Drinking may keep a woman from noticing a man's attempts to get
her into an isolated location or his encouragement to drink even
more. Alcohol consumption may also decrease the likelihood that
women can successfully resist an assault, either verbally or

     Men frequently feel justified in forcing sex on women who,
they believe, have been leading them on or are being sexual
teases. Legally sexual provocation, whether intentional or not, is
not justification for rape; sex with someone unable to give
consent (e.g. drunk) is also rape.

     There are many stereotypes about women who drink alcohol. One
common belief is that women who drink alcohol are more sexually
available than women who do not drink. The results of one study
showed that a woman who had a few alcoholic drinks was viewed as
more likely than a woman who drank only soft drinks to respond
positively to a sexual advance, as more willing to be seduced, and
as more likely to engage in sexual intercourse.
     Another study showed that men were more likely than women to
assume that a woman who drank alcohol with her date was interested
in having sex with him. Forty percent of the men who took part in
this study felt that it was acceptable to force sex on a drunk
date. In a different study 75 percent of a group of acknowledged
date rapists said that they sometimes got women drunk in order to
increase the likelihood of having sex with them. Many date rape
victims report that their attacker fed them drinks for several
hours before the attack.
     Women who were drunk when raped are often viewed by others as
partially responsible for what happened. Interviews with a group
of  college students showed that the male attacker was held less
responsible for the rape when he was intoxicated than he was when
he was reported as being sober. In contrast, the female victim was
held more responsible when she was intoxicated than when she was
reported as being sober. Thus, in terms of how others will
perceive their behavior, the costs of intoxication are higher for
college women than for college men. Nonetheless, if a woman who
has been drinking is raped, the rape is never her fault. Rape is
always the responsibility of the rapist. She is responsible for
drinking, and the drinking may have shown bad judgement, but bad
judgement is not a rapeable offense.

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