How Common are Alcohol-Influenced Sexual Assaults in College?
Attending college is one of the first steps to experiencing freedom and total control of life. However, it is also one of the most dangerous venues for people as it is a breeding ground for sexual assault cases worldwide. About 20 to 25 percent of women will experience sexual assault once they reach college. However, the numbers for men are not too far either—mostly juveniles under 17.
Most of the time, sexual assaults in colleges are in the form of rape—the victim goes out on a date with the perpetrator—sorority-related attacks, and students in fraternities. Meanwhile, college athletes are more likely to show signs of aggression and become hostile around women while demonstrating sexism, and violence, while practicing sexual coercion. Interestingly, 50 percent of these attacks involve alcohol, which is why it is vital to understand how alcohol influences sexual attacks.
What is the Relationship Between Alcohol and Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault can happen to anyone. Regardless of gender, millions of people survived sexual attacks—not including those unreported instances. But as some people still experience forceful kissing, unwanted kissing, or other forced sexual activities, sexual assault continues to become a problem in today’s society we should address as a nation.
In the latest numbers, women usually suffer from sexual assault. At least one in five women suffer from it, accounting for 24.8% of women in the US who experience sexual assault once in their lifetime. Men are not safe from the attacks either. At least one in four men experienced the horrific instance between 11 and 17 years old. However, what’s saddening about sexual assault is that anyone could become a predator.
Reports state that intimate partners cause the assaults 51.1% of the time, over ten times more than reports done by acquaintances, which is at 40.8% only. But aside from these numbers, reports also show that the influence of alcohol triggers more chances of sexual assault. Its only difference is that alcohol-involved sexual assault most likely can happen in situations where the perpetrator and victim do not know each other. Since there are no rules, alcohol-influenced sexual assaults can become more dangerous than non-alcohol sexual assaults.
Alcoholism and Sexual Attacks
Drinking alcohol can cause aggressiveness, especially towards women. The hostility can lead to sexual assault. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the same person does the alcohol-involved sexual assaults. More common is the alcohol-involved sexual assaults done on women by their partners or acquaintances.
Rape is one of the most severe crimes in the world. Unwanted sexual encounters can lead to rape, but it is possible that the perpetrator may not have been 100% in control of his actions because of the effect of alcohol. While one cannot fully say that alcohol causes rape, alcohol can cloud the mind and cause someone to commit the horrific crime of rape.
The Drinking Culture in Colleges
With limited access to alcohol, many students turn to binge drinking, which is five or more drinks at one sitting. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism shows that college students’ alcohol consumption was about 77 per week, with about eight alcoholic beverages per week for those under 18 years old.
Within the general population, male students are more likely to drink alcohol and have more chances of drinking than female students. According to the college drinking habits, about 46.5% of college students drink alcohol more than seven days per week. On the other hand, female students are more likely to consume less than once a week. This trend is more common among colleges as well.
Therefore, as most people consume alcohol as much as possible, binge drinking has become a favorite among college students. The risks of binge drinking may seem insignificant to students. However, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, they are likely to get involved in drunk driving, get arrested, develop an alcohol use disorder, and commit violent crimes.
The Dangers of Alcohol-Influenced Sexual Assaults
Alcohol-influenced violent crimes are more common than non-alcohol-influenced ones. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, various forms of alcohol-influenced violent crimes can lead to severe accidents and other instances.
- Statutory Rape
Statutory rape is having sexual intercourse with someone below the age of consent. The age of consent for every state is different, ranging between 14 and 18 years old. Therefore, the age of the victims is different.
- Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is a crime that involves forcing someone to perform sexual activities. It is different from statutory rape since the person’s consent is not valid—it can be a minor or a person under the influence of alcohol.
- Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a crime that involves using physical force or emotional abuse against someone you are in a romantic relationship with. Domestic violence can be psychological, physical, sexual, or financial.
The Dangers of Binge Drinking
Binge drinking is the most common way to consume alcohol. It is a behavior that students under the age of 21 perform to consume alcohol. This age group starts to develop alcohol-related problems during their college years. It is the reason why people must understand how alcohol influences sexual assault and how college students use alcohol to commit crimes.
Binge drinking can be dangerous as the accumulation of alcohol causes it as it reaches the bloodstream. But since the brain cannot signal the liver to slow down the process, the blood-alcohol content level overgrows and causes negative consequences. For college students, the more alcohol they drink, the more aggressive they become. It is the reason why most sexual assaults in colleges involve binge drinking.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is the tendency to abuse alcohol through intoxication and excessive drinking. It is a disease that follows a similar pattern to illnesses like obesity, cancer, hypertension, and more. As the alcohol intake increases, the likelihood of becoming obese and developing some health problems increases. Alcoholism can also lead to other disorders such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies.
Alcohol can be addictive as well—abusing alcohol most likely involves drinking lots of alcohol while participating in activities. The more alcohol someone consumes, the more likely the person will get intoxicated. Alcohol can also cause drowsiness, leading to excessive sleeping. Furthermore, people who drank alcohol the night before the incident will still be drunk and cannot control their actions or bodies. These are just some of the reasons why alcohol leads to alcohol-related sexual assaults.
Alcohol Use Disorder
Researchers from the University of Alabama Birmingham diagnosed the condition of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) during the research. AUD is a chronic disease that two large groups of people can characterize. People who develop mild to moderate AUD are included in the first group. For those who develop a severe AUD, the disease can lead to drug addiction and the development of alcohol-related problems.
Let’s shift our attention to people with mild to moderate AUD. These people are very likely to develop alcohol-related problems and alcohol-influenced sexual assaults. However, it is essential to note that the people in this group will have no trouble controlling their actions and will still remember what they have done.
As for the severe AUD cases, they are frequent drinkers and are likely to become violent. They might not remember what they have done the day before—especially if they are still drunk and are in bad condition. Some mild cases may not remember what they have done, but they can still control their actions. Minor alcohol-related sexual assault is also highly likely to occur in this group.
There is a significant chance that alcohol-related sexual assaults may happen in colleges in the form of drunk driving and alcohol-related sexual assaults. However, most cases are due to the increase in alcohol use of young adults and the pressure to become an adult. Most of the time, the act of alcohol-influenced sexual assault is committed by peers and friends.
Sexual assault is highly likely to occur in a group setting, especially at parties and celebrations. The best way to prevent alcohol-influenced sexual assaults is not to drink alcohol. Moreover, you should be cautious of your friends and peers. If you are with your friends, drink responsibly and take good care of your friends.