Alcohol, the partner in Rape and other Violence
More often than not, alcohol plays a role in acts of aggression and violence. Under its influence, you could become a victim – or a criminal. The evening wasn’t supposed to end like this. Lisa bit her lip, staring at her tear-stained face in the mirror jumbled scenes of last night’s date with Rob flashed painfully through her head. It had seemed so innocent. A movie. A few beers. A little flirting and kissing. Suddenly Rob wouldn’t stop. He was all over her – groping, pinning her down, hitting her when she tried to resist. Shivering involuntarily, Lisa again felt the fear and helplessness of her rape. If only she could change the events of the past few hours. If only. Like Lisa, every year thousands of young adults discover firsthand the dark, raging side of alcohol. Although alcohol ads promise a carefree, exciting party life, in reality drinking can bring pain, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy, financial hardship, or a life behind bars. When alcohol enters the picture, some people become victims. Others become criminals. Consider the hidden partnerships alcohol offers:
Partner in rape – between 1/3rd and ¾ of sexual assaults involved alcohol use. Alcohol-related rape tend to be more forceful and violent.
Partner in home violence – a study reveals rates of violence to be 15x higher in homes where the husband is drunk.
Partner in murder – In 60% of homicide cases, the murderers were drinking when they killed.
Out of Control?
Researchers believe that alcohol may contribute to violence in several ways: Alcohol robs good judgment and clear thinking. Affects the brain’s neurotransmitters. Mess with nerve cells, and you basically end up with an out-of-order brain. Good judgment sours. After drinking a guy might confuse a girl’s hello as a flirtatious come-on. Or a girl might not notice a guy’s sexual intentions until it’s too late. One misunderstanding can lead to rape or other violence. Alcohol can amplify expectations that lead to violence. Drinking alcohol has psychological effects. Guys often believe that alcohol will make them feel less inhibited and more powerful, sexual, and aggressive. And they may view girls who drink as prime targets for sexual abuse. One study found that people who’ve had alcohol or who think they’ve had alcohol tend to act more aggressively than others. Another study found that men who believe they’ve been drinking are more turned on by the idea of rape. Alcohol may make you feel less responsible for your behavior. Following drinking binges, college students may brag about fist fights, vandalism, forced sex, and other socially unacceptable behaviors. But a person who drinks is still responsible for pain and damage.
Let’s be Honest
Remember Lisa and Rob? In her right mind, Lisa would have exercised more caution on her date. She would have insisted on staying with a group of people. She would have been less flirtatious and quicker to pick up on Rob’s sexual advances. One simple choice to drink and she became a victim. She was not responsible for her rape, since she said no. But she might have avoided alcohol and a date who drank. In his right mind, Rob would not have sexually assaulted Lisa. He would have exercised good judgment. One simple choice to drink, and he ended up a rapist. Alcohol is mind-altering, behavior-changing drug. But that’s no excuse for violent behavior.
Reduce your risk of becoming a victim or a criminal. Keep your wits about you, and join millions of teenagers and adults who have chosen not to use alcohol.
(This is a condensed version of a brochure written by Kevin Waite. It is one in a series of brochures called The Drug Facts Series. Other brochures are available through The Health Connection. Call USA 1-800-548-8700 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-548-8700 end_of_the_skype_highlighting)