According to a recent study, 1 in 6 freshmen women are raped while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Research was conducted by a team of experts, led by Kate Carey, professor of behavioral and social sciences at Brown University School of Public Health, in Province, Rhode Island.
The analysis, published in the November issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, included a total of 483 female respondents, who had entered the first year of college at a private university in the state of New York.
Three follow-up surveys were carried out throughout the academic year, during which the participants were asked whether they had been sexually assaulted and under which circumstances the rape had occurred.
It was discovered that around 15% of the women had been the victims of sexual assault while being incapacitated, after abusing drugs or alcohol during their first year of college.
In fact, approximately 18% of the students surveyed by researchers confessed that they had been raped on a prior occasion too, and that at the time they had also been drinking or getting high on drugs. Of these respondents, approximately 41% had experienced the same type of sexual abuse as freshmen as well, after continuing to indulge in risky behavior.
According to researchers, this shows that more emphasis should be placed on explaining to young girls how harmful substance abuse can be when it comes to falling victim to sexual assault.
Excessive drinking or drug use heightens their risk of being targeted by rapists, and also leaves them so weakened that they can no longer fight off such attackers.
Researchers insist that while their survey proves that incapacitated women face a heightened likelihood of being sexually assaulted, this doesn’t in any way imply that the victims might be to blame for having been raped. In fact, this type of assault remains a punishable crime, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The fact that others decide to take advantage of women whose physical condition renders them unable to object or defend themselves is completely reprehensible. As a result, it should be combated by programs which emphasize the importance of consent before and during sexual intercourse.
Campus rapes that occur while the victim is incapacitated are much more frequently encountered than those which take place forcibly, using verbal threats or physical violence. This may be because college students frequently indulge in substance abuse: around 4 out of 5 of them drink alcohol on a regular basis, and approximately half are actually binge drinkers.
As study authors have revealed, women who had been under the impression that alcohol may boost sexual satisfaction were the ones more at risk of being raped. Also, this heightened vulnerability was present irrespective of the victim’s past history of sexual abuse.
As a result, it’s obvious that a change in perception as far as this type of risky behavior is concerned is also imperative, in order to limit the possibility of women finding themselves in such situations.
Across university campuses, sexual assault education programs and other preventive strategies should be carried out so as to address these issues, and efforts should also be undertaken in order to inform and edify other young adults who have chosen not to pursue higher education.
In fact, awareness should be raised regarding these dangers even among tweens and teens, given that some of the respondents who had been sexually abused while being drugged or drunk were as young as 14.
Moreover, before leaving for college, kids should be provided with the emotional preparedness required for tackling this new chapter of their lives, so as not to fall under the negative influence of their social circle.
Image Source: Pixabay