15 Percent of Women Raped While Incapacitated by Alcohol or Drugs in Freshman Year

Young girls drinking

A new study finds 15 percent of college women report having been raped while incapacitated from alcohol or other drugs during their freshman year, Newsweek reports.

Freshmen women who had been victims of incapacitated rape before starting college were at increased risk. Almost 18 percent of young women reported incapacitated rape (IR) before starting college, and about 41 percent of those women were raped again while incapacitated during their freshman year, the study found.

“The pre-college assessment went back to as early as age 14,” lead researcher Kate Carey of Brown University School of Public Health said in a news release. “That suggests that sexual assault education needs to begin earlier.”

The study included 483 female students at a private university in New York State who completed several surveys during their freshman year. The study found women who thought alcohol could enhance a person’s sexual experience were at increased risk for IR during freshman year.

The researchers said the findings could be used by colleges to establish programs to prevent incapacitated rape. The programs could address students’ expectations about alcohol and sex, Carey said.

The findings are published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

A report published this fall by the Association of American Universities found almost one-quarter of undergraduate women surveyed said they were victims of some type of sexual assault and misconduct while they were in college.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that each year, 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

    User Picture

    Ian Macdonald

    November 20, 2015 at 6:56 AM

    Major responsibility belongs to college administrators who do not acknowledge the fact that alcohol is illegally used under the age of 21 and who have allowed co-ed dorms to exist. That law us based in the fact that the human brain does not fully mature until sometime in the 20s and is prone to damage from alcohol that will be considerably lessen with maturation. Not only is the immature brain prone to the “fun” of risk taking but it is damaged in other important ways by alcohol.

    That does not excuse the males as is well reported in Wolfe’s excellent book, “I am Charlotte Simmons” which looks to the issue of competitive rape.

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    November 19, 2015 at 5:58 PM

    I agree with the above comment. This is very victim blaming. Men should be taught not to take advantage of women, and maybe protect them instead. Rape isn’t a woman’s choice, sober or while intoxicated. Let’s teach people (as this is both sexes issue) not to rape and there wouldn’t be the problem of rape at all.

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    November 19, 2015 at 5:18 PM

    The point of this article is that women and men are more vulnerable to rape when they are drunk or high. Obviously, men should not be raping anyone, but they do. So no one should their risk of being raped, beat up, or overdosing by getting incapacitated. Young women and men do not have any idea how prevalent rape is in our culture and they need to know and need to know how to lessen their risk of being attacked. We need more articles like this to get the word out. Also, approximately 1900 college students die of alcohol poisoning every year.

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    Lisa-Marie Taylor

    November 19, 2015 at 4:38 AM

    Incredible that a whole article can be dedicated to women ‘being raped’ without mention of men at all. Men rape 15% of college women whilst those women are incapacitated. Responsibility where responsibility lies please, and attention on the perpetrators, rather than a (hopefully unintended) women-blaming stance. Lisa-Marie

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