Substance Abuse

The Link Between Alcohol and Sexual Assault


The Link Between Alcohol And Sexual Assault

  • Alcohol helps us to forget about the things that make us nervous.  It causes us to let our guard down and “go with the flow”.
  • Unfortunately, drinking too much alcohol can put us at risk, physically and emotionally.  If you drink, drink moderately.
  • We all have decisions to make; any chosen sexual activity should result in positive feelings, with freedom from doubt, regret, and physical or emotional damage.
  • Alcohol makes it more difficult to make good sexual decisions and to control what happens to you in a sexual situation.

Top Ten Facts About Sexual Assault and Alcohol

  1. At least 80% of college students who had unwanted sex were under the influence of alcohol. (Core Institute, University of Southern Illinois, 1995)
  2. Men are more likely than women to assume that a woman who drinks alcohol on a date is a willing sex partner. 40% of men who think this way also believe it is acceptable to force sex on an intoxicated woman. (Journal of American College Health, 1991)
  3. Forty-seven percent of college women in Virginia who were raped believe they were unable to effectively resist as a result of their own alcohol use. (State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, 1995)
  4. Alcohol use can contribute to an atmosphere where anything goes, including rape by individuals or groups of men.
  5. Alcohol impairs judgment and lowers inhibitions, making some people more likely to force sex on an unwilling partner.
  6. Alcohol slows reflexes and can impair the victim’s ability to recognize a potentially dangerous situation.
  7. Under the influence of alcohol, men are more likely to interpret a woman’s smile, laughter, clothes, or body language as evidence that she wants to have sex.
  8. Alcohol use at the itme of the attack was found to be one of the four strongest predictors of a college woman being raped.
  9. Sexual Assault is a crime of violene. Alcohol never justifies violent, criminal behavior. Intoxication can never be used as a defense for someone who commits a sexual assault.
  10. An incapacitated person does not forfeit his/her rights. Many state laws recognize that when someone is drunk, he/she is unable to give consent. If you have sex with someone who is passed out or incapable giving consent, it will be considered SEXUAL ASSAULT.


If a sexual assault does occur remember, you did not have an opportunity to give consent and it is not your fault. No one asks to be sexually assaulted, even when intoxicated.