Alcohol & Sexual Assault (Spring 2003)

Research shows that a concentration of alcohol ads depicting Latinas as sexual objects leads to increased violence against Latinas between the ages of 15 and 18 years. (SACNAS News, Fall 1997) Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science

Beliefs that blame the victim

Cultural beliefs that drinking signals a woman's heightened sexual availability may lead to sexual assault.

A man who believes that a woman who is drinking is demonstrating her sexual availability may initiate unwanted sexual advances.

Both men and women draw on their own experience and/or cultural images to attribute to a drinking woman more sexual intentions than they do to a non-drinking woman.

Source: Self-reported alcohol expectancies and post drinking sexual inferences about women. William H. George, Kelly L. Cue, Peter A. Lopez, Leif C. Crowe, and Jeanette Norris. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 25(2):164-186. 1995.

The role of alcohol in sexual assault

At least 50% of rapes are associated with alcohol use by the perpetrator, victim, or both, and more than 25% of offenders use alcohol immediately preceding a rape.

Prevention Research Center/Pacific Center for Violence Prevention, 1997

75% of men and 55% of women involved in acquaintance rapes reported using alcohol or other drugs prior to the incident.

Source: I Never Called It Rape, Robin Warshaw, NY: Harper & Row, 1988

Drinking by offenders and victims was associated with assaults occurring in less planned social situations (e.g., bars, parties) in which the victim did not know the offender well prior to the assault.

Victims of sexual assault who used alcohol before the assault were more likely to have suffered a more severe sexual assault. Source: Alcohol and sexual aggression in a national sample of college men. Sarah E. Ullman, George Karabatsos, and Mary P. Koss. Psychology of Women Quarterly 23:673-689. 1999.

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