The statistics are staggering. The Department of Justice says one in five women has been sexually assaulted while in college.
The numbers have caused enough concern that the Obama Administration has released new guidelines to help put a stop to this behavior. The University of Kentucky’s Violence Intervention and Prevention program is being held up as a model by the White House. Acting Director Rhonda Henry believes alcohol use is a contributing factor to the growing problem of sexual assault.
“I definitely think there is a connection between sexual violence and substance use and abuse. I don’t think it’s a causal relationship, but I think that we definitely see that substance use lowers inhibitions." Henry said "so it’s not going to turn someone who doesn’t have violent or abusive tendencies in their personality, it’s not going to turn them into that, but it’s going to lower inhibitions and maybe impair decision making just like it would in any other situation we might be in. On the side of the victim, it may also impair their ability to notice red flags earlier on.”
Henry also thinks there is a misunderstanding of what the actual meaning of consent is. She said one key to stopping sexual violence is by teaching students that someone cannot willfully participate in a sexual act if they are impaired. The program also teaches former and potential victims how to forcefully end an unwanted sexual advance.