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There are many connections between sexual assault and substance abuse. Although there are many cases of rape, at the societal and individual levels, alcohol may be a contributing factor in its occurrence. In many sexual assaults the perpetrator and/or victim may be using/abusing alcohol or drugs prior to the assault.

For the perpetrator, being under the influence may remove both physical and psychological inhibitors, which keep all people from acting out violently. An offender may also use the alcohol or drugs as an excuse for criminal behavior. The use of alcohol and drugs also makes it much more difficult for the victim to stay away from dangerous situations and to problem-solve a way out of an assault. Many sexual assault perpetrators have admitted to feeding alcohol or drugs to their victims.

Being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is not an excuse for perpetrating sexual violence. It does not give someone a right to hurt other people. Victims who were under the influence of substances at the time of the assault are not responsible for the perpetrator's actions. (Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault)

For more information visit the Counseling and Health Center Web site.

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