The College Sexual Assault and Alcohol Link: A Non-Ideological Explanation – Erik Kondo



Without the presence of a person with violating intent, there can be no sexual assault. Therefore, in such a situation regardless of how much a person drinks, she or he will not get intentionally sexually assaulted. That factual logic is the bases for the argument that dinking does not cause sexually assault.

According to popularly quoted studies, 1 in 5 college women will be sexually assaulted during their time in college (other studies have lower rates). Therefore, it is also a fact that there are people (statistically men) with violating intent on college campuses. It is also widely held that these men with violating intent make up about 6% of the male population, but they commit the vast majority of sexual assaults through serial offending.

If the estimate of 1 in 5 is correct, then 4 out of 5 women do not get sexually assaulted. That means the majority of women in college do not get assaulted. According to studies, the majority of college students drink alcohol, and yet most of these female college students also don’t get sexually assaulted.

The women who did not get sexually assaulted either were not in the presence of men with violating intent, OR the men didn’t have the means AND opportunity to commit an assault.

On the flip side, the women who did get assaulted (by men) were in the presence of men with violating intent AND those men did have the means AND opportunity to commit the assault. Typically, the means and opportunity comes in the form of the inequality of having greater relative situational influence over the selected victim along with being able to isolate the target from her protective resources of family, friends, and policing agents.

Therefore, the determining elements for sexual assault are victims being isolated by bad intentioned sexual offenders with greater relative power, control, and/or social status.

One popular method used by offenders to create greater inequality through the lowering the target’s ability to resist social, verbal, and physical coercion is by having the target drink alcohol, or by selecting potential victims that already have drunk alcohol.

In addition, perpetrators are more easily able to isolate their targets from protective resources because the intake of alcohol has lowered their targets’ ability to make critical decisions and assess their situation as it evolves and deteriorates.

Typically, if the victim was drunk, it is more likely the sexual assault will NOT be reported since the victim will be unable to recall the details of the violation. The victim’s alcohol intake will also make it less likely that her (or his) story will be believed. It will make it more likely that the victim (and others) will partially blame herself for what transpired. It will also be easier for the offender to use the victim’s drunkenness as a rationale to claim the violation was actually a consensual activity. As a result of these factors, a drunk victim makes it less likely that the offender will face consequences for his or her actions. Therefore, she (or he) makes for a more attractive victim than someone who is more likely to enforce a boundary violation through active resistance or by post violation reporting.

Therefore, while there is no direct causation link between women (and men) drinking alcohol and their subsequently being sexually assaulted, there is ample evidence that drinking large amounts of alcohol is a factor that provides people with violating intent greater means and opportunity to commit violations among the student population. And college campuses are well known to contain people with sexually violating intent.

Related References
The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study

RAINN Recommendations

The Sexual Victimization of College Women

Alcohol-Related Sexual Assault: A Common Problem among College Students

Fraternities and Collegiate Rape Culture: Why Are Some Fraternities More Dangerous Places for Women?

The Violation Triangle – Erik Kondo

One Comment

  1. I’ve always had problems with Lisek’s work. I’ve especially had problems with people who use his works as Holy Writ about rape and rapists and why we need draconian laws. I’ve had too many extremists claim “All rapists are serial rapists” and demand excessive punishment because anyone who is accused of rape — using Lisek’s ever changing numbers — has gotten away with 7-15 previous rapes.

    From the “Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists” study ” by Lisak, ” …self reported acts met the legal definitions of rape or attempted rape but were never prosecuted by criminal justice authorities.”

    Problem one. With the new legal definition of rape, drunk sex is rape. Problem two, we don’t know what state’s statutes he’s using so we don’t know what that ‘legal definition’ is (Hint, back when this report was published, Montana didn’t have a rape law. They had unwanted sexual contact [misdemeanor] and unwanted penetration [felony]) So on top of the lack of investigation, arrest and conviction we have an impressive sounding ‘…legal definition…’ but we don’t know what definition that is.

    Why’s that a problem? Well number three — from the same study — “…are compromised of behaviorally specific questions describing sexual acts that approximate the legal definitions of rape, attempted rape and sexual assault. However to avoid evoking defensive reactions in participants it does so without referencing any of those legal terms.”

    So problem 3A, you’ve lumped three different crimes/ actions as one. Then you’ve identified a person as a rapist. (hint, coping a feel is sexual assault, not rape) 3B, ‘aproximate’ 3C, you’re beating around the bush in the questions, but making absolute conclusions about the answers?

    Problem four Lisak’s findings were after interviewing 1882 men at college he found 120 “…whose self-reported actions” Now my little calculator says 120 time six equals 720. Not even close to 1 in 6. When I divide 1882 by 120 I get 15 plus change.

    Problem five. Those 120 claimed responsibility for 1225 anti-social, violent acts.(And this one is where I really start getting pissed) OF those 483 were sexual acts. My calculator says that in the 39% area. So 61% of the bad shit they did was something else… yet from the SECOND sentence of the report, these individuals are specifically identified as ‘rapists.’

    Problem six. So we’ve already blown a hole in the 1 in 6 is a rapist number. But here’s where we get even worse, of the 120 only 76 (63.3%) admitted to multiple incidents. Yet Lisak assigns 4.0 ‘rapes’ to each of them. Well that isn’t fair, because 44 guys only ‘admitted’ to one. So then Lisak — in the same paragraph (Results, page 78) — subtracts the 44, divides the remaining 439 ‘rapes’ among 76 ‘rapists.’ Thereby assigning 5.8 rapes to each person who ‘admitted’ to multiple offenses.

    Now I know I’m from the Los Angeles Unified School District, but 5.8 (actually 5.7+++) isn’t 7 and it sure isn’t 15 — which is the range of numbers stated in absolute certainty as to how many rapes all rapists are assigned of having gotten away with before he’s caught. This by people claiming to use Lisak’s study as the basis of their arguments about why we need to just lynch anyone accused of rape.

    But let’s visit an old friend. Let’s see 76 is what percentage of 1882? Hmmm according to my calculator it’s 4%. Oh hell, let’s go hog wild and say 120! Well 6% … hmmm not so impressive.

    Odd because the statement 1 in six men have ‘violating intent’ tracks to 16.67% of ALL men. Where’s that extra 10% come from?

    Now ordinarily I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about a study with this much bias and spindoctoring. My problem is Lisak’s work and the Dear Doctor himself has become a cornerstone on rape lobbying, legislation, investigation, and prosecution training. It is in fact, so ingrained in this training that it is considered prima facie that you’re nailing him for the 7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14 or 15 rapes he’s gotten away with.

    Because anyone who is accused of sexual assault, much less rape is a serial rapist, doncha know.


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