Times really have not changed because I remember the drinking games played when I was in college. I am thankful that my bestie in college could not handle even one drink of alcohol before she would get sick to her stomach and we would have to leave the party. I wasn’t so happy at the time but she kept us out of a lot of trouble. Even though drinking trends among college students have not really changed over the years, there is a new twist that could put your daughter at risk for a very dangerous situation. Based on a recent article in the Journal of Adolescent Health regarding rape of college women, I can think of several reasons why our daughters should be turning down instead of up. The study indicates that at a large private university in New York, almost one out of every five young women were raped or experienced attempted rape during their freshman year.
Researchers at Brown and Miriam Hospitals Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine administered questionnaires to 483 incoming freshmen when they arrived on campus and at the end of their freshman year. The freshman women were asked if they had experienced either incapacitated or forced rape, regardless of whether the act had been attempted or completed. 15% of the women said they were raped or a victim of attempted rape while they were incapacitated. How were they incapacitated?
Drug facilitated sexual assault occurs when alcohol or drugs are used to compromise an individual’s ability to consent to sexual activity. These substances make it easier for a perpetrator to commit sexual assault because they inhibit a person’s ability to resist and can sometimes prevent them from remembering the assault. Alcohol is the most commonly used substance in drug facilitated sexual assault, and some may use prescription medicine like sleep aids and muscle relaxers.
After the attack, a woman will awaken and are not quite sure what has happened to them because they can’t remember. Victims of drug facilitated or incapacitated rape were somewhat less likely to report to the authorities than victims of forcible rape. Most often, the victims may not report the attack because they don’t want to confess the excessive alcohol consumption or they blame themselves for the attack or for putting themselves in a situation where it could happen.
How can we protect our daughters from sexual violence as a result of drinking? Here are five conversations must haves to educate them on the dangers involved.
- Communicate to them dangers of drinking too much alcohol and encourage them to drink responsibly.
- Teach them that if they are at a party to never drink anything from an open container and to kindly decline a cup of punch if offered. You can never know the contents of an open container by looking it or smelling it.
- Encourage them to know the symptoms of drugs used to incapacitate women and to let someone responsible know immediately if the symptoms occur. Symptoms include: dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, blurred vision, difficulty talking, difficulty with motor movements and feeling drunk.
- Teach them if they are in a club that once they put the drink down and take their eyes off of it or walk away from it, it is no longer their drink. It only takes a second for someone to slip something into their glass.
- If you consume alcohol, set the example by allowing your children to witness responsible drinking behaviors. Remember children live what they learn.