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The Link Between Sexual Assault and Alcoholism

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Sexual Assault and Its Relationship to Alcoholism

Although cases of sexual assault have reduced in the past 20 years, it is still a significant challenge in the United States. For every six women, one of them has been sexually abused. On the other hand, for every 33 men, one has been abused sexually. Approximately 63,000 children in the U.S. experience sexual abuse each year.

sexual assault alcoholism substance use disorder alcohol abuse

Sexual assault, also known as sexual abuse, can refer to forceful sexual intercourse, inappropriate touching, coerced kissing, or taking sexual photos or videos without the victim’s knowledge. Sexual abuse happens to people of all genders and ages, and its effects can last for a victim’s entire life.

 

Risk Aspects in Sexual Assault

Sexual abuse is associated with various risk elements, including community, individual, family, and societal. Females 6 to 17 years old and individuals with exceptional needs are more likely to be sexually assaulted. Alcohol or substance abuse, violence, and neglect among the parents within the family may lead to sexual assault as well.

Tolerating sexual abuse, lack of education, and shaky regulations concerning sexual abuse within the community also promote the act. Socially accepted norms such as promoting male chauvinism and the subjection of women are also risk factors in sexual abuse.

 

Sexual Assault and Alcoholism

Within the past several decades, the media has highlighted the effects of alcoholism on sexual abuse among college students. Approximately half of the cases of sexual assault involving college students are influenced by alcohol or other drugs. According to studies, an ordinary adult American is sexually abused every 68 seconds. Therefore, campus and college students are not the only victims of sexual assault. Alcohol and substance consumption significantly increase the chances of one experiencing sexual abuse. Additionally, being a victim of sexual assault is a risk aspect for substance use and addiction in the future. Below are various ways in which sexual assault and alcohol consumption are related:

    • Substance use by the culprit: Culprits in sexual abuse are often under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
    • Drug-aided sexual abuse: Alcohol and drugs are a means to blur someone’s perception concerning sex, prevent their chances of resisting sex, or inhibit them from recognizing the incident.
    • Alcohol and substance use by the victim: The individual experiencing sexual abuse may have consumed alcohol and other substances.
    • Using alcohol and other substances as a coping mechanism by the victim: Individuals often use alcohol and drugs to suppress the trauma from the sexual assault.

There have been several conversations concerning the use of drugs by rapists facilitating sexual assault. However, according to studies, alcohol is the prevalent substance used by perpetrators in committing the offense. A majority of rapists consumed alcohol either before or during the act and ended up blaming their behavior on alcohol use.

Substance Use Among Men and Women

Men who use alcohol and become intoxicated have high chances of misunderstanding sexual signals from women. Furthermore, men under the influence of alcohol or drugs are more likely to disregard lack of consent and resistance concerning sexual situations. Sexual culprits do not have to take a lot of alcohol because just a small amount of it usually boosts their confidence to perform a sexual act. Furthermore, a higher rate of intoxication by the rapist corresponds to higher instances of applying force.

The danger of consuming alcohol is that you may not be able to defend yourself from a sexual perpetrator or avoid the experience. Alcohol blurs your judgment in perceiving any alteration in the rapist’s actions and makes it difficult for you to separate yourself from a culprit. As a result, fewer victims report sexual assault due to their “involvement” in the crime.

The cause of some rape victims feeling responsible is due to rape myth acceptance (RMA) convictions. These myths lead to victim-blaming when a sexual assault occurs, especially if the victim was under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the assault. Those who perpetrate these myths often claim that the assault was partly the fault of the victim because they put themselves in a bad situation. Other times, people will claim that the victim did not correctly remember the situation because they were under the influence.

Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol consumption causes mental disorders that affect the general well-being of an individual. It also prevents the proper functioning of the various organs, including the brain. Excessive intake of alcohol often leads to higher chances of interacting with others with aggression. According to research, aggression and alcohol intake generally correlate, in that almost half of the sexual violence and aggressive offenses are partly due to alcohol intake. Furthermore, the majority of the sexual offenders typically blame alcohol consumption for their aggressive misconduct.

In most cases, violent and sexual criminals allege having consumed alcohol during the sexual behavior. Since most of them are never in custody within an hour of assault, alcohol examination cannot occur. Therefore, it is challenging to prove the number of criminals who are under the influence during the act. A study discovered that individuals who seem to have consumed alcohol have higher chances of becoming aggravated when provoked.

 

Relationship Between Trauma and Addiction

Alcohol and substance use link with assault in a loop with no beginning or end. Children are mostly at risk to entering this cycle. They are in more danger of being sexually or physically assaulted if they stay with parents who have an substance use disorder. This is due to such drugs interfering with the parent’s ability to properly take care of their children without harming them as they would when sober.

In turn, sexual trauma increases the chances of individuals seeking comfort in alcohol and drugs. It is more prevalent in homes where parents are also addicts. In some individuals, this behavior becomes extreme, and they become unable to live without drugs or alcohol. It is because their brain and body adapt to functioning with the substances.

 

Reasons for Using Alcohol or Drugs After Trauma

Despite clients acknowledging that they have addiction issues, they may not understand or admit that their addiction connects with their traumatic experience. It can be very challenging to recover from addiction when one does not address the underlying cause. The victim may begin using alcohol or drugs to:

 

Dealing With Alcoholism Due to Sexual Assault

If someone you know is suffering from an alcohol use disorder due to sexual assault, it is vital to assist them in seeking professional help. Offer them support and encourage them to visit a medical treatment facility. It is also important for you to allow them to talk about their traumatic incident with you as a starting point for dealing with their trauma. The four main ways of showing support for sexual assault victims is by:

  • Understanding that recovery is a process
  • Being aware of the available resources
  • Checking on them frequently
  • Showing them that they are not alone and have a support system

 

Therapies to Consider

There are various evidence-based therapies, also known as psycho-therapeutic treatments, generally combined with a 12-step program that provides higher chances of maintaining sobriety. These include cognitive-behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and grief and loss therapy. They are applied in both individual and group sessions to find the root cause of addiction for effective treatment. These clinical interventions enable the client to fully comprehend their trauma and other factors that may affect or inhibit their recovery process. It also provides them with the tools they need to properly deal with the trauma instead of turning to drugs and alcohol to cope.

 

Granite Recovery Centers

Granite Recovery Centers offers you a comfortable and safe environment to easily share your bottled emotions. You will also have the chance to create a trusting relationship with your therapist. This includes engaging in group therapies with people who have the same experiences as you. Our facility and recovery programs assist individuals with addiction by providing them with the necessary tools and coping skills to undergo the healing process and finally live a quality life. If you think that one of your family members is experiencing addiction caused by past sexual assault, our dual-diagnosis program can help. By scrutinizing and addressing the root cause of the trauma and helping them deal with it, they can stop turning to alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism.

For over a decade, Granite Recovery Centers has been helping individuals who are suffering from alcohol and drug abuse. We provide evidence-based clinical psychotherapies, as well as the all-inclusive 12-step program. We also offer a variety of care services that you require in your recovery from drug use. Feel free to contact us so that that we can assist you in leading a fulfilling life.

 

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