When I decided to research the relationship between drinking and sexual assault, I did an internet search of the two terms and found 3,280,000 hits in 34 seconds.
So what is the connection?
According to Dr. Scott Hampton from the State University of New York, Potsdam, alcohol and sexual assault often happen together. “According to some research, 30% of all sexual assaults occur when the perpetrator is under the influence of alcohol. In some instances, the victim is also intoxicated. Drinking makes it easy for the perpetrator to ignore sexual boundaries while the victim’s intoxication makes it more difficult to guard against the attack.”
However, it is important not to confuse correlation and causation. Being drunk does not mean that the person becomes violent. So, let’s remember that alcohol does not cause sexual violence. In some cases, researchers point out, it may actually be the other way around. The desire to commit a sexual assault may actually encourage alcohol consumption, as some men may drink before assaulting a woman in order to help justify their behavior. Sexual assault occurs despite alcohol use, not because of it. However, alcohol can act as a permission slip for doing something that is socially aberrant.
The problem of drinking and sexual assault is both prevalent and complicated on college campuses, where victims will most likely have to risk running into their attacker in class and in dormitories, and where administrators try to keep such cases quiet to avoid worrying parents and potential academic recruits. U.S. News reported that conservative columnist George Will suggested that women enjoy the perks of victimhood. The article goes on to say that “Will actually put quotation marks around the term “sexual assault,” implying that it was somehow a made-up word or idea.“ According to the US News correspondent this is the “crux of the problem of sexual assault and rape – the idea that men somehow have a right to women’s bodies, especially if those women have the nerve to go to college and sometimes have sex willingly. “
One of the most heinous accusations is that women who are raped actually wanted the attack, so prudish about their own sexual desires they could only have gone into an encounter willingly, then lied about it to protect their “reputations.” Till society comes to treat men and women equally in the decisions they make about their education, their careers, and their sexuality – this issue of sexual violence will continue.