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Role Alcohol Plays in Sexual Assaults

Many campus sexual assaults involve alcohol.

  • Alcohol use can impair a perpetrator’s judgment so he/she disregards indications that a person doesn’t want to engage in sexual activity.
  • Alcohol use can impair a victim’s judgment so he/she is less likely to take heed of risk cues.
  • Alcohol use can increase the expectancy of what will happen when we drink.
  • Perpetrators may use alcohol as an excuse for their actions.

Keep all of these in mind when making choices about alcohol.



Just because you help her home, doesn't mean you get to help yourself.

Alcohol and other drugs play a major role in intimate partner violence as well as the majority of sexual assaults in college environments, as a person under the influence cannot legally give consent.

Alcohol consumption among college students is quite prevalent in the United States, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2013), roughly four out of five college students consume alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant that impairs inhibitions, judgment, and decision-making and is by far the most frequently used drug to facilitate sexual assault. Because alcohol consumption impairs an individual’s judgment, it may increase the likelihood of committing a sexual assault, and also may decrease the ability to withhold or give consent. 


o Drinking is a socially acceptable activity used as an excuse for a socially unacceptable behavior.

o Alcohol results in cognitive impairments

o Consent must be present in healthy relationships.

o Intoxicated persons cannot give consent More than 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 were assaulted by another student who was drinking. (HIngson, Zha, and Weitzman, 2009)

About 85-90 percent of sexual assaults reported by college students involve alcohol use by one or both parties and were committed by someone who was known to the survivor. (National Institute of Justice, 2008).



Date Rape Drugs

Drugs Commonly Used for Sexual Assault also known as Date Rape Drugs

Rohypnol – Also known as roofies, rophies, roche, or forget-me pill.  It is a strong sleeping, anti-anxiety pill in the same family of drugs as Valium and Xanax.  It is often found as a small, round, white pill that looks like aspirin, and dissolves in liquids.  Detection in a liquid is difficult because once dissolved it is odorless and tasteless.

Effects:  Physical effects may be noticeable within 20 minutes and may last up to 24 hours.  Causes drowsiness, confusion, nausea, impaired motor skills, dizziness, disorientation, impaired judgment, and reduced levels of consciousness.  A person under the influence of Rohypnol may appear drunk, with slurred speech and difficulty walking/standing.  Rohypnol can also cause memory loss of the events that occurred after ingestion.

GHB – Also known as G, liquid ecstasy, grievous bodily harm, scoop, and Georgia homeboy.  It is a powerful synthetic sedative, and is often found as a liquid with a salty taste, however, it can also be found in powder form. 

Effects may be felt within 20 minutes, and last from 2 to 6 hours 

Effects: Lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.  Causes dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, confusion, excessive perspiration, intense drowsiness, and seizures.  May cause unconsciousness or a coma, as a result, an individual under the influence of GHB may not be able to recall what happened after ingestion.

Ketamine – Also known as K, Special K, ket, vitamin K, and cat valium.  It is labeled as a general anesthetic, and used as an animal tranquilizer.  It has sedative, hypnotic, stimulant, and hallucinogenic properties.  It can be found as a powder or a pill.  Its effects can begin within minutes, and last up to 5 hours. Effects:  It can cause dizziness, confusion, disorientation, memory loss, hallucination, agitation, impaired motor skills, slurred speech, numbness, aggressive or violent behavior, high blood pressure, and potentially fatal respiratory failure.  Often times individuals may feel detached from their bodies and surroundings, and may cause a sensation of wanting to move but being unable to do so (“K-Hole”).  Can also cause depression and amnesia

Scopolamine – It is a depressant, which acts on the central nervous system.  Often times it is prescribed as a transdermal patch for travel sickness.  It is highly toxic, and can be used in tiny doses.  It is often found in tablet form or as a patch.  The drug may take effect within 30 minutes, and effects can also last 2-3 days

Effects:  Decreases secretion of fluids, slowing the stomach and intestines, and dilation of pupils.  Causes drowsiness, dizziness, restlessness, blurred vision, difficulty urinating, dry or itchy eyes, and accelerated heartbeat.   Overdose can cause delirium, delusions, paralysis, stupor, and death.  An individual who has been drugged with Scopolamine may appear to be in the midst of a psychotic episode, and often end up in police custody or admitted to a hospital.

Bystander Intervention

Bystander Interventions can prevent sexual violence