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.