JOURNAL OF AMERICAN COLLEGE HEALTH, VOL. 58, NO. 5
Forcible, Drug-Facilitated, and Incapacitated
Rape and Sexual Assault Among Undergraduate
Steven Lawyer, PhD; Heidi Resnick, PhD; Von Bakanic, PhD; Tracy Burkett, PhD; Dean Kilpatrick, PhD
victim’s ability to fend off an attack.7 However, researchers typically have not distinguished between sexual assaults that occur when the victim is unable to consent to sexual contact or fend off an attack because she is intoxicated after consuming drugs or alcohol either voluntarily or after ingesting “date rape” drugs (eg, gamma-hydroxybutyrate [GHB]).8,9
Several studies suggest that the frequency of sexual assaults that occur when the victim is unable to consent due to intoxication may be quite high and deserving of special attention. In their oft-cited study, Koss et al3 found that approximately equal percentages of college-student respondents reported forced sex and unwanted sex “because the man gave you alcohol or drugs” (9% and 8%, respectively).
More recently, Kilpatrick et al1 found that equal percentages of college women reported a history of forcible and drugrelated rape (6.4%). Tyler et al10 examined different tactics that sexual assault assailants use to perpetrate sexual assaults and found that, among the undergraduate sample of women,
twice as many women reported that assaults occurred after
someone else got her “drunk/stoned” (23.5%) than reported assaults after being held down (11.2%).
Interestingly, Tyler et al10 found that victim voluntary alcohol consumption was associated with risk for incapacitated sexual assault, but was unrelated to forcible sexual assault or to unwanted sexual acts after verbal coercion, reiterating a potential link between victim alcohol consumption and risk
for sexual assault, perhaps due to impairment. Two more recent studies based on large representative samples of college students found the prevalence of sexual assaults that occur
when the victim is incapacitated may be more frequent than
those occurring via force in college-student samples.1,11 By comparison, Testa et al12 found that the lifetime prevalence of drug-related rape was exactly the same as the lifetime prevalence of forcible rape (approximately 10% for each) in a large sample of women selected randomly from the Buffalo, NY,
Abstract. Objective: To examine the prevalence of drug-related sexual assaults, identify the frequency of assaults that occur following voluntary versus involuntary drug or alcohol consumption, and identify contextual correlates of drug-related assaults. Participants: College-student females (n = 314). Methods: Volunteers reported experiences with forcible and drug-related sexual assaults in the spring semester of 2004. Follow-up queries regarding the most severe drug-related assaults determined whether the assaults followed voluntary or involuntary alcohol or drug consumption. Results: 29.6% (n = 93) of the respondents reported a drug-related sexual assault or rape; 5.4% (n = 17) reported a forcible sexual assault or rape. Voluntary incapacitation preceded 84.6% of drugrelated assaults and involuntary incapacitation preceded 15.4% of drug-related assaults. The majority of drug-related assaults (96.1%) involved alcohol consumption prior to assault. Conclusions: Drugrelated sexual assaults on college campuses are more frequent than are forcible assaults and are most frequently preceded by voluntary alcohol consumption.
Keywords: rape, sexual assault, alcohol, drugs, college
arious epidemiological studies indicate that up to
20% of college women report experiencing unwanted sexual intercourse (ie, rape) or sexual contact (ie, sexual assault) at some point in their lives.1–3 Alcohol use is a consistent behavior associated with sexual victimization, with studies suggesting that sexual assault increases risk of subsequent alcohol abuse4,5 and that alcohol use increases
one’s risk of being victimized.5,6 Alcohol use...
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