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Related Services > SAVE Program > Violence Prevention Information > Rape Prevention > Date Rape and Alcohol


| Date Rape and Alcohol | Date Rape DrugsMen Changing Men |
Myths About RapeSelf-Defense Tips |


Though never an excuse or cause for rape, alcohol can be part of the equation. Alcohol can affect both men and women, but most importantly, it also affects those skills that can protect a person from being involved in a sexual assault. In particular, there are four useful skills and those skills form the word RAPE.


  Realize what situations place you in danger of committing rape or being a victim of rape.

  Avoid and manage conflicts with partners and intimates.

  Perceive clearly what others are doing.

  Establish and communicate your desires and limits about sex.


When drinking alcohol, people's thinking can get distorted. Therefore, they can miss important signals such as voice or behavioral changes. They are also less likely to avoid or talk their way out of a conflict.


Communication is very important, but men and women who have been consuming alcohol can be less able to communicate what they want and do not want out of a sexual relationship. The odds that "maybe" or "no" will be interpreted wrongly increase when either party has been drinking.


Some perpetrators may even push others to drink so the victim will be less likely to resist physical or emotional pressure to engage in sexual activity.

Regardless of how much a person drinks, no one is ever justified in forcing sex if the other party resists, says "no," or is under the influence of alcohol.


Sexual Assault combined with Drugs and Alcohol


The dangers and realities of sexual assault are exacerbated when drugs and alcohol become involved. Alcohol and drugs can inhibit resistance, increase aggression and impair decision-making skills.


Sexual assault and acquaintance rape are types of violence that are most likely to occur in social settings that foster rape-supportive attitudes and norms.

A study published in the Journal of Sex Education and Therapy reported that of those students who had been victims of some type of sexual aggression while in college--from rape to intimidation to illegal restraint--68 percent of their male assailants had been drinking at the time of the attack.


Alcohol and drug use exaggerates problems with misinterpretation of sexual intent and can be used to justify assault. Studies show that many college men believe that alcohol increases arousal and legitimates non consensual aggression. They also report that many college men believe that women who had two or more drinks are more interested than other women in having sex.


Safe Partying


There are simple steps that can help reduce the risks of a substance-related sexual assault:

  • Do not leave beverages unattended.

  • Do not take any beverages, including alcohol, from someone you do not know well and trust.

  • At a bar or club, accept drinks only from the bartender, waiter or waitress. If someone offers to buy you a drink, go with them to the bar and watch the bartender make your drink.

  • Do not accept open container drinks from anyone. (This includes punch bowls.)

  • Be alert to the behavior of friends. Anyone appearing disproportionately intoxicated in relation to the amount of alcohol they have consumed may have consumed a tampered beverage.

  • Anyone who suspects that they have ingested a tampered drink or sedative-like substance should be taken to a hospital emergency room or should call 911 for an ambulance. Be sure to ask for a urine sample and try to keep a sample of the beverage for analysis.



Ron Vick, MA, LPC
Counselor / Academic Advisor
Int'l Student Advisor



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