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The internet has made possible the world’s first global survey of women’s experiences with adult beverages — and it found that more than a tenth have been affected by sexual assault with alcohol, while more than 1 in every 1,000 have been hit in the head with a glass.
In case of emergency a picture or video may be taken and used as evidence.
A new survey of 3,075 American women is the first to explore sexual assault and drinking culture in the United States. The results, published in October’s edition of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, were presented at the Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research annual meeting.
The findings provided a deeper picture of alcohol use for U.S. women than surveys or other research had taken into account, such as binge drinking frequency and alcohol utilization rate among those who binge drinking.
The survey is part of the program called “Good Times Not Bad Days”, run by She Decides USA and Girls Inc. of Greater Washington. The project was launched in 2016 to bring attention to negative consequences of underage drinking — including intimate partner violence, sexual assault and drunk driving.
According to the researchers, some 84% of the women who participated said they had been pressured by an intoxicated partner to perform sex acts without their consent. For the first time, 60% of those who took part in the study were able to identify the genders of those involved.
However, only 16% of women surveyed thought they were in danger of sexual assault or abuse by an intoxicated partner, which they attributed to “psychological processing” related to drinking patterns and victim blaming.
Despite multiple efforts over the years to raise awareness around these issues and encourage people to better protect themselves, the poll found that 42% of those surveyed do not have access to sexual assault or harassment protection laws, and were aware of no law that specifically protects against sexual assault or harassment perpetrated by an intoxicated partner.
However, when asked about the risk they felt they were at in the event of an emergency involving a drunk person, they were less aware, with just 7% listing their risk as very high and 30% listing it as very low.
Sex and alcohol in the home
One third of those surveyed reported having engaged in unsafe sexual activities with an intoxicated person. The most common use of intoxicating beverages in conjunction with sexual activity was having sex while intoxicated, with 18% of respondents stating that they had been in this situation. Half of all respondents reported having sexual intercourse with an intoxicated person, with boys disproportionately overrepresented.
Among those who said they had been pressured to participate in sex with an intoxicated partner, 62% indicated that their resistance was met with yelling or name calling.
Overall, 38% of respondents were in relationships that included alcohol. Nineteen percent of those in relationships said that their partner had controlled their drinking, and of those, 20% were in this situation with at least one other person. Seven percent of those in a relationship said that their partner controlled their use of pornography.
For both men and women, 33% of those in relationships reported that their partner was drunk when having sex with them.
Most women (75%) who reported sexually abusing someone else by the time they turned 18 did so after being given alcohol, while 90% of those who used alcohol in this manner then committed another sexual act. Four percent of women in relationships who used alcohol in this way then drank in an act of sexual violence, and for one in nine of those, it was more than two drinks.
An average of 1 in 3 women reported in the study having been subjected to this type of abuse before the age of 18. Additionally, 1 in 6 women said that alcohol was used in this way, and 1 in 25 women who abused another person in this way also used alcohol.