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Alcohol and sexual assault: linked again

October 26, 2010

The town of Gilbert, Arizona, is struggling with a big problem — a 41 percent increase in sexual assaults over the last year.

Police report that there doesn’t seem to be a common thread among the assaults, meaning there doesn’t appear to be a serial sex offender on the loose. What does tie many of them together, however,  is the circumstances under which the assaults took place.

In half of the crimes, at least one of the people involved were drinking.

Lt. Mike Angstead explained the problem to The Arizona Republic. “We run into issues where they get so intoxicated that they pass out. A lot of times people are taking drugs and alcohol. It impairs their memory, their judgment and their ability to defend themselves.”

The problem is not confined to Gilbert, Arizona, of course. The link between alcohol and violent crime is well established.

Alcohol and safety don’t mix

We live in a culture that makes few attempts to draw the line between a drink at dinner and drinking to get intoxicated. College campuses are particularly prone to the problem. That’s why we see an annual spike in free self defense seminars in August and September when students return to school.

As helpful as those seminars can be, self defense training won’t cut it when you don’t have the balance, strength, stamina or motor coordination to escape a sexual assault.

Most adults can enjoy an alcoholic drink responsibly. But the sad truth is that too much alcohol — generally more than one or two drinks — doesn’t pay dividends for fitness, it doesn’t pay dividends for judgment, and it doesn’t pay dividends for self defense.

Play it safe. Just stay sober.

More Fight-Back Files on alcohol and violent crime:

Assaults reported by The Arizona Republic.


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