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Alcohol related sexual assault; It's not sex if a person is intoxicated

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If sex happens while a person is intoxicated it's not sex. It's alcohol related rape. The consequences can be life altering for both offender and victim.

This link  to a Vanderbilt University paper gives a clear definition on rape. It is rape any time a person is unable to give consent for any reason. You may be familiar with the old adage "candy is dandy but liquor is quicker". Those words may be a handy rhyme but the reality is that it outlines illegal behavior. In reality, alcohol is the number 1 most commonly used date rape drug in the United States. 

According to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN) 1:6 women and 1:33 men will be sexually assaulted in her or his lifetime. Women who are college age are 4 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than slightly older or younger women.  

Unfortunately, drinking alcohol is a major activity on college campuses. That is part of why alcohol related rape happens all too often. Universities and colleges around the country are educating students about sexual assault and rape. The U.S. Department of Education has issued publications and lists of resources to help schools combat the problem.

More than one person on a college campus has been surprised when arrested for sexual assault or rape after using the above mentioned "technique". That's because he or she mistakenly believed the myth that sex isn't rape when alcohol was used. That mistake can lead to ruined futures and jail time.

It doesn't matter that if the victim went to a party willingly or willingly consumed too much alcohol while there. That's not the issue. The issue is the behavior of the offender. If one is intoxicated and the other is not it's rape, not sex. The question surrounds the ability of a person to knowingly consent to sex. If a person is impaired by alcohol, drugs (legal or otherwise) or mental impairment they are unable to give consent.

Things may get more complicated if the victim had a relationship with the offender. If there is a relationship between the victim and the offender, and a sexual assault occurs, the assault may be part of a larger picture. This scenario is called domestic violence. 

Domestic violence can include sexual assault by alcohol, drugs, physical force or coercion. It can also include emotional, physical or financial battering, isolation and other means of controlling a victim. 

Neither alcohol related or any other form of sexual assault is ever the victims fault. There is nothing for the victim to feel ashamed about. 

If you are a victim of alcohol related rape it is important to remain as calm as possible. You may not realize what happened until the drink wears off. This is to be expected. 

When you realize what has happened its important to go to the emergency room or call a rape crisis center for help. Try not to change anything about yourself. This means don't shower, bathe, change clothes, comb your hair or even go to the bathroom. Doing so may destroy evidence. It is still ok to go to the emergency department or call a crisis center if you have done any of the things listed above. 

RAINN operates a 24-hour hotline to help victims of sexual assault. Their number is 1.800.656.HOPE. No matter what the circumstances victims of alcohol related rape or any other form of sexual assault deserve the help needed to heal. RAINN has compassionate advocates who will be glad to help a process what happened and to make referrals to local sexual assault centers.

Those who are researching this topic may be interested in the following links:

Universities Target Rape Prevention Through Alcohol Awareness Program

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health

Hope for Healing.Org 

5 comments

Martha lownsberry
0
Posted on Oct 4, 2010
Gayle Crabtree
0
Posted on Oct 4, 2010
Martha lownsberry
0
Posted on Oct 2, 2010
Gayle Crabtree
0
Posted on Oct 2, 2010
Martha lownsberry
0
Posted on Oct 1, 2010

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Gayle Crabtree

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