Risky Business: Alcohol and Sexual Assault on Campus

The majority of sexual assaults on campus involve alcohol consumption by either or both the victim and perpetrator, which puts female students at a much higher risk than the general population. While alcohol does not cause someone to become a sex offender or victim, it reduces inhibitions of both parties which can lead to dangerous behaviors. Dr.Turnbull, Director of Health Promotion, a part of Student Health Services, states that the first six weeks of a new school year is when most sexual assaults take place, “new students may not be paying attention to how much they’re consuming or how strong their drinks are.” It is also important that men understand their role in preventing a sexual assault from occurring, adds Dr. Turnbull, “sometimes it’s the man that needs to be the one to make the decision not to pursue a sexual encounter with someone who may not be in the right frame of mind to give proper consent.”

To increase your safety in situations where sexual assaults do take place follow these tips.

  • Limit your drinking and pace yourself.  Should you choose to drink, make sure you have eaten beforehand and alternate alcoholic drinks with a non-alcoholic beverage.
  • Stick with your friends – DO NOT isolate yourself.  Isolation can make you appear vulnerable to those that may want to take advantage of you.
  • Do not  leave your drink unattended or accept drinks from others.  Doing so may leave you vulnerable to drinking a “spiked” drink, otherwise known as “Date Rape” drugs.
  • Trust your gut, if something does not feel right, it probably isn’t! Stay sober enough to be able to pay attention to what you’re instincts are telling you.
  • Reach out for help. Should you become a victim of sexual assault, know that it is not your fault and there are many resources dedicated to helping you through this.

Resources:
NC State Women’s Center  – 24/7 hotline (919) 618-7273
WakeMed S.A.F.E. Center – contact within 72 hours of a sexual assault
NC State Counseling Center-2nd Floor Student Health Center; 24 hour on-call counselor
Call 911