Study: Alcohol impacts sexual assault

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

More attention is being given to preventing sexual assault at many colleges across the nation.

While this is a complex issue with many factors, this study suggests that students might be able to reduce their risk of sexual assault by reducing or avoiding alcohol or situations that involve alcohol.

What did the study involve?
• 1,197 students completed an online survey.
• The study authors looked at substance use by both the victim and perpetrator at the time of sexual assault.

What did the results show?
Substance use (including alcohol) was more common for both victims and perpetrators.

Of the students reporting sexual assault or forced sexual touching:
• At least 70% reported they were drinking alcohol at the time.
• At least 70% reported that perpetrators were drinking and/or drug use during incidents of sexual assault or rape.

How much alcohol was consumed by those who had the most harm in terms of sexual assault?

-Among victims 40 % females and 60% of males binge drank at least once per week over 3 months.
-Among victims, most of the study participants drank less than 20 drinks per week.

What do the results suggest?
• Substance use is often involved in both the perpetrators and victims of sexual assault.
• This study suggests that students might be able to reduce their risk of sexual assault by reducing or avoiding alcohol or situations that involve alcohol.

What are some caveats?
• Sexual assault is a complex issue with many factors involved.
• This is just 1 of many studies on the issue of alcohol and sexual assault.

•General Information:

o CCS: Sexual Violence Self Help Page

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• Reporting sexual assault allegations or information at OSU:

o Title IX coordinator by emailing; or Office of Human Resources (614-292-2800).
o Deputy Title IX coordinator by calling 614-292-0748 or emailing at the Office of StudentLife, Student Conduct Department.

• Seeking help after sexual assault:

o Counseling for OSU students.

oSexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) | (614) 267-7020 Hospital and hotline advocates.
o OSU Campus Police | Call 911 for emergencies | (614) 292-2121 Making an official report & safety planning
o Columbus Police | Call 911 for emergencies | (906) 645-4545 Assists in making an official report and safety planning
o OSU Wexner Medical Center | Call 911 for emergencies | (614) 293-8333 Can provide medical care, evidence collection, STI, pregnancy and drugged drink testing. Seek medical attention and/or evidence collection if the violence/sexual assault occurred within the last 72 hours. A specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner is usually available, and an advocate will be called to assist you.

 Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.
1. Elizabeth Reed, Hortensia Amaro, Atsushi Matsumoto, Debra Kaysen . The relation between interpersonal violence and substance use among a sample of university students: Examination of the role of victim and perpetrator substance use. Addictive Behaviors 34 (2009) 316–318