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Relationship Between the Quantity of Alcohol Consumed and the Severity of Sexual Assaults Committed by College Men

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 18 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2008 Pages: 813-833
Antonia Abbey; A. Monique Clinton-Sherrod; Pam McAuslan; Tina Zawacki; Philip O. Buck
Date Published
21 pages
This study examined the relationship between quantity of alcohol consumed and severity of sexual assaults committed by college men.
The results indicated that perpetrators' alcohol consumption during sexual assault was linearly related to their increased aggressiveness, and victims' alcohol consumption was linearly related to more severe forms of assault being committed. This relationship between perpetrators' alcohol consumption and the severity of the type of assault committed had an inverted U-shape with higher levels of assault being committed when a moderate amount of alcohol was consumed. There is evidence that at extremely high levels of intoxication, perpetrators are less likely to be able to complete a rape. Perpetrators' usual drinking at the time of the sexual assault, being in a casual relationship with the victim, and spending time at a party or bar with her were positively related to perpetrators' and victims' alcohol consumption during the sexual assaults. Victims' resistance was not significantly related to the severity of the type of sexual assault. More than half of the perpetrators reported that the victim was a steady girlfriend. The type of resistance strategies used by victims tended to match the type of force used by perpetrators, with verbal force being resisted verbally and physical force being resisted physically. In casual relationships, perpetrators may seek out intoxicated women because they view them as easy targets and fair game. In close relationships, alcohol may be perceived as a signal for sexual intimacy. Participants were 113 male undergraduates at a large, urban, commuter university. These individuals were part of a larger study with participation in the current study restricted to those men who reported that they had committed a sexual assault since the age of 14. Ages of the participants ranged from 18 to 53. Tables, figure, references


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