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College Alcohol and Sexual Assault

by James Heller 6. April 2009 14:24
April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

When inhibitions fade due to alcohol consumption in college, sexual assault incidents increase according to studies.  While results vary from campus to campus, the evidence is clear that this is a true statement.  These results are also consistent with logic and common sense.

The desire for social acceptance is high with most college freshmen and sophomores.  Attending parties puts the new college student on the fast track to gaining popularity with many fellow students.  When alcoholic beverages are served at a party, all in attendance are expected to drink.  Pressure may be placed on students to drink or suffer the consequences of being barred from future parties, or simple ridicule.

Alcohol’s effect is not just on the body.  While a lack of inhibitions can be fun at first, the state of mind eventually leads the drinker to worry free behaviors, and consequences are no longer considered.

Sexual assault has many faces.  It can range from unwanted touching to violent rape.  No incident of sexual assault should be taken lightly, as everyone has a right to a sense of physical security.  Any invasion can cause emotional distress.  

Today, with technology at our fingertips, videos and pictures of unwitting victims are being posted on the internet and ruining lives.  Many victims discover that the perpetrator of their misery is someone they knew well, maybe even a friend.  Some of them have committed suicide as a direct result.  In these cases, a few hours of fun resulted in the loss of a precious life and misery for many loved ones.

The data below from the Journal of Interpersonal Violence provides one scenario of alcohol induced sexual assault on college campuses.

-- Begin external content --

Most experiences involved the consumption of alcohol (81%) and almost one-third of the offenders were well-known to their victims (all were students at the university). Relatively more unwanted touching experiences occurred during the last time period—the second year from about one month after the start of school to the middle of October—than any other time. Researchers were told by sorority members that this corresponded to the period called “pledging”, during which young (second-year) women were invited to frequent fraternity parties at which alcohol was consumed.

-- Source: http://www.azrapeprevention.org/summaries/2008/April_2008.html --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.