Alcohol is no excuse. Ever!

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Abuse (and worse) related to fraternity hazings and college graduation activities has been very much in the news in the last two years.

Amid the stories of sexual harassment, peer pressure and reprehensible behaviour, a number of measures have been taken to put a stop to the problems and make students more accountable. However, not enough emphasis has been placed on drinking and the role it plays in such situations.

According to a recent Quebec study, about 75% of sexual assault victims had alcohol in their blood when the crime was committed. That makes alcohol the substance most often present when sexual assault occurs.

It’s a fact that people who drink excessively are likely to suffer from a kind of “myopia” that affects their ability to recognize danger signals and identify risky situations that could lead to sexual assault. Sometimes, an aggressor will even get a victim drunk deliberately as a tactic to obtain sex.

The first step in preventing sexual violence is never to drink excessively. Moderate drinking allows potential victims to recognize warning signs and be on the alert for danger. It also keeps potential aggressors from becoming uninhibited enough in their thinking and behaviour to commit sexual assault.

Sexual harassment is all too common, on and off campus, and drinking can never be an excuse for unacceptable behaviour of any kind. Crude comments and gestures, unwanted advances, rape and other kinds of assault all tend to increase under the effect of alcohol. It is your responsibility to control yourself, and if you see someone cross the line, you have to speak up and take action.

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