Binge drinking and rape

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From The Irish Times


THE VULNERABILITY of teenagers to sexual violence in a binge drinking culture, must be addressed, the Rape Crisis Network has said.

Referring to the conviction of a boy for the rape of a 15-year-old girl at what she said was a  “drink- and drug-fuelled party ”, Rape Crisis Network director Fiona Neary said there was  “clear evidence that Ireland ’s binge drinking culture leaves teenagers vulnerable to sexual violence ”.

 “For just  €5 each the teenagers at this party could get drunk and high. The vast majority of rape cases in Ireland involve a victim and perpetrator who have consumed alcohol, ” she said.

Ms Neary also quoted a Rape and Justice in Ireland study which found that in 10 per cent of rape cases, the complainant was completely incapacitated by alcohol.

Ms Neary said incapacity due to alcohol consumption was often the reason someone was targeted for sexual violence,  “not only because they are considered easier to rape, but because they may have poor memory of the details of the crime ”.

In addition she said sexual predators benefit from  “popularly held beliefs ” that girls and women who drink are partly to blame for being raped. The alcohol consumption pattern and its impact, combined with victim blaming, can leave many young people very vulnerable to sexual violence, she said.

Ms Neary said rape crisis centres were seeing an increasing number of teenagers accessing their services, something she said would be demonstrated with the release of the Rape Crisis Network ’s annual statistics next month.