Alcohol and Sexual Violence



Alcohol & Sexual Violence

People who commit sexual violence use intoxicants strategically. Here is how:

1  To enhance/exploit vulnerability: People who commit acts of sexual violence know that someone who is intoxicated will have less control of their body and surroundings, sometimes even losing consciousness. Additionally, a person who is intoxicated will likely have gaps in memory, which may increase doubts about their own memory and make it more difficult to accurately report what happened to them.

To lower their inhibitions: The adage “Take another a shot of courage” is rooted in truth. People who commit sexual violence sometimes use intoxicants to get up the nerve to carry out their actions.

3 To ensure others excuse their actions: People who commit sexual violence know that allegations of sexual assault are less likely to be taken seriously when drugs, including alcohol, are involved. People who have been sexually assaulted after voluntarily consuming intoxicants frequently have their behaviors scrutinized; really, the focus should be on the behavior of the person who caused them harm.

Founded in 1975, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape works to end sexual violence and advocates for the rights and needs of those who have been harmed by sexual assault. PCAR partners with a network of rape crisis programs to bring help, hope and healing around issues of sexual violence to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Each year, Pennsylvania rape crisis centers provide confidential services, at no charge, to approximately 30,000 men, women and children affected by sexual assault. To learn more, go to