The AS Review article “Drink Nice or Pay the Price” on Oct. 17 included a discussion on the connection between sexual assault and drinking alcohol.
While we recognize that alcohol is involved in many sexual assaults, it is important to note that perpetrators of sexual assaults and rapes are more often under the influence of alcohol. The article appears to frame this issue as the victim being more vulnerable due to alcohol consumption and thus assigns unjustified blame. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), perpetrators have been drinking in 50-74 percent of all sexual assaults.
This is not an issue of victims keeping themselves safe from sexual assault; the responsibility lies solely with the perpetrators. Alcohol often blurs the lines of consent in sexual encounters. “Paying the price” may mean that you have committed a crime because you, as a perpetrator, were less likely to acquire the consent needed in order to begin a legal sexual encounter.
What may seem like a drunken mistake in reality leads to lifelong impacts on the victim’s life. These impacts include much higher rates of depression, other mental and emotional issues and being 13 times more likely to attempt suicide.
One in four women will be sexually assaulted while in college. Given the prevalence of this crime, our community should pay the utmost attention to ensuring all conversations are appropriate and respectful of survivors.
This issue affects all of us and we must unite together to prevent perpetrators from committing crimes and to help survivors heal.