Nerd alert! Typically on Tuesdays, I'm taking grad classes. This morning, I really wanted to finish the journal article I was reading on the metro about innovative interventions aimed at reducing binge drinking. Then at work, I created a page about how sexual predators use coercion to increase their targets alcohol intake (leading to binge drinking- 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men), and how predators use potential harmful effects of binge drinking to their advantage.
Talking about alcohol can be tricky. Really good people offer to buy someone a drink while out and about without bad intentions. People can consume a lot of alcohol without it resulting in a physical or sexual assault. Awareness of tactics sexual predators use is important. Conversations with friends before going out about expectations, plans for what to do if someone gets separated from the group, how to respond if something doesn't seem right are all important in regards to safety.
Here are a few point about alcohol abuse and perpetrators when it comes to sexual assault:
- Although the media has labeled drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB as the date-rape drugs of the present, these are only two of the many drugs used to incapacitate a victim. Of the 22 substances used in drug-facilitated rapes, alcohol is the most common. (LeBeau, M., et al., Recommendations for Toxicological Investigations of Drug Facilitated Sexual Assaults, Journal of Forensic Sciences. 1999.)
- The relationship between alcohol and rape is multifaceted, and alcohol may be both a precipitant of and an excuse for sexually aggressive behavior by men (Abbey et al., 2001; Berkowitz, 1992; Larimer et al., 1999; Richardson & Hammock, 1991).
- Men who have committed sexual assault also frequently report getting their female companion drunk as a way of making it easier to talk or force her into having sex. (Abbey, McAuslan, & Ross, 1998).
- Alcohol was a factor in 61% of Kanin’s sample of college date rapists, and 76% of his sample admitted to attempts to intoxicate a female date (Kanin, 1985).
- In a study on male sexual coercion, 23% of college men admitted to getting a date drunk or stoned to engage in sexual intercourse, and 23% of women reported a date getting them drunk or stoned and engaging in unwanted sex (Tyler, et al., 1998).
- Alcohol can be a disinhibitor and increase sexual impulsivity, as well as lower an individual’s detection of risk and impair their ability to resist assault (Abbey, 1991).
- Intercourse obviously cannot be consensual when one individual is incapacitated due to intoxication. Men may believe that there are fewer risks associated with coercive sex when they are intoxicated (Tyler et al., 1998).