Alcohol, Drugs, & Sex

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Alcohol is a risk factor for sexual assault

  • 90% of college rapes are acquaintance rapes
  • “…most common situation for acquaintance rape…is after social events and parties where alcohol is abundant.” (Lam & Roman, 2009)
  • Risk reduction tips can often take a victim-blaming tone, even unintentionally. With no intention to victim-blame, and with recognition that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those actions, knowledge about alcohol/drug consumption may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk of experiencing a non-consensual sexual act.

Men’s expectancies about alcohol effects

  • Expect to feel sexual, powerful and aggressive after drinking alcohol

Men’s perceptions of sexual intent when under the influence:

  • More likely to interpret verbal and nonverbal cues as indicators of sexual interest by a woman
  • Perceive women as more seductive, promiscuous, and interested in sex than women perceive themselves to be

Alcohol consumption is sometimes used as a justification for men’s sexual violence

Alcohol’s effects on women’s ability to send and receive cues and/or resist sexual assault:

  • Alcohol myopia reduces the ability to recognize subtle or complex cues that might otherwise alert her to the risk for sexual assault.
  • The ability to verbally and physically resist becomes impaired as a function of her degree of intoxication (cognitive and physical impairment)

Stereotypes about women who drink alcohol:

  • Perceived as more sexually disinhibited, more likely to enjoy being seduced, more willing to engage in foreplay and intercourse compared to a woman drinking a soda.
  • “New drinkers” at greater risk
  • History of childhood sexual abuse and/or prior victimization increases risk

Men under the influence

Men’s expectancies about alcohol effects

  • Expect to feel sexual, powerful and aggressive after drinking alcohol

Men’s perceptions of sexual intent when under the influence:

  • More likely to interpret verbal and nonverbal cues as indicators of sexual interest by a woman
  • Perceive women as more seductive, promiscuous, and interested in sex than women perceive themselves to be

Alcohol consumption is sometimes used as a justification for men’s sexual violence

Women under the influence

Alcohol’s effects on women’s ability to send and receive cues and/or resist sexual assault:

  • Alcohol myopia reduces the ability to recognize subtle or complex cues that might otherwise alert her to the risk for sexual assault.
  • The ability to verbally and physically resist becomes impaired as a function of her degree of intoxication (cognitive and physical impairment)

Men are sexually assaulted too…

  • Most common form of sexual coercion men experience is substance-related (O’Sullivan, Byers, & Finkelman, 1998)

 

Where to go for help? 

Click here for more information on sexual assault or you may visit the University of South Alabama's Title IX website for a complete list of sexual assault resources.

 

Be sure to view the following videos for further information on alcohol and sexual assault:

It's On Us- University of South Alabama

The Dangers Of Alcohol