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Study illustrates the relationship of binge drinking and sexual assaults

women binge drinking sexual assaults

Women who binge drink face higher rate of sexual assaults

A 2011 study led by the University of Buffalo examined the drinking patterns of 437 female college freshmen. While the results are not surprising, they continue to be disturbing.

Even young women who never drank in high school engaged in binge drinking in their first year of college. The physical implications of drinking on women’s health have recently been the focus of several studies. 59 percent of young women who consumed more than 10 or more drinks in one sitting in college were sexually victimized in their fall semester. One quarter of those female freshmen who consumed four to six drinks were sexually victimized. Victimization included sexual contact to rape.


“Women ages 16 to 24 experience rape at rates four times higher than the assault rate of all women,” making the college (and high school) years the most vulnerable for women. College women are more at risk for rape and other forms of sexual assault than women the same age but not in college. It is estimated that almost 25 percent of college women have been victims of rape or attempted rape since the age of 14.4…”

90 percent of college women know their rapist. According to the government report listed above, less than 5 percent of young women report their victimization to the police.  In another study, more than 40% did not report their victimization. Without a doubt, the abuse of alcohol and sexual aggression under the influence of alcohol by young men has a profound impact upon the rate of violence against female freshmen. The reasons for the lack of reporting are directly linked to attitudes in society which contribute blame to the woman and disbelief about her story.

Some police officers incorrectly think that a rape report is unfounded or false if any of the following conditions apply:

  • The victim has a prior relationship with the offender (including having previously been intimate with him).
  • The victim used alcohol or drugs at the time of the assault.
  • There is no visible evidence of injury.
  • The victim delays disclosure to the police and/or others and does not undergo a rape medical exam.
  • The victim fails to immediately label her assault as rape and/or blames herself.

The increase in violence against college freshmen cannot be ignored, but young women must seriously consider the risk and threat that faces them should they engage in binge drinking.

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