Zawacki, T., Abbey, A., Buck, P.O., McAuslan, P., & Clinton-Sherrod, A.M. (2003). Perpetrators of alcohol-involved sexual assaults: how do they differ from other sexual assault perpetrators and nonperpetrators?
A number of studies have round that among sexual assaults perpetrated by males against females (rape, other physically forced sexual contact, verbally coerced sexual contact), about 50% involved the consumption of alcohol by either the perpetrator or the victim. In most cases involving alcohol, both had been drinking. Most previous studies of sexual assault perpetration have not distinguished between possible personality differences between men committing alcohol-involved sexual assaults and men perpetrating non-alcohol-involved sexual assaults. The Zawacki et al. study compared the personality characteristics, attitudes, and experiences of men who had committed sexual assault involving alcohol, men who had committed sexual assault without alcohol, and men who report that they have not committed sexual assault. According to the authors, "By delineating similarities and differences between men who commit different types of sexual assault, this study provides information about potential mechanisms unique to alcohol-related sexual aggression that have implications for designing effective prevention and treatment programs" (p. 367).
The sample for the study consisted of 356 male students at a Midwestern university in the United States. The mean age of the sample was 24 years, and 57% were white and 30% were African-American. The men filled-out questionnaires that assessed sexual assault perpetration (without labelling the behaviours as criminal) since age 14, antisocial behaviour and traits, dating and sex-related behaviours and beliefs, and alcohol-related behaviours and beliefs.
In the total sample of 356 men, 31% reported verbally coerced sexual intercourse, 9% reported forced sexual contact (i.e., kissing and fondling but no penetration), 4% reported attempted rape, and 14% reported completed rape. Nearly all of the men who engaged in one of these behaviours (96%) were acquainted with their victim. Among these men, 26% reported that no alcohol was involved. For assaults involving alcohol, the man involved drank in 96% of cases and both he and the victim drank in 84% of the cases. On average, the perpetrator and victim consumed four or rive drinks each.
Zawacki et al. compared nonperpetrators, non-alcohol-involved perpetrators, and alcohol-involved perpetrators on a number of variables. Compared to nonperpetrators, perpetrators scored higher on history of delinquency, aggressive and dominant personality traits, frequent misperception of a woman's friendliness as sexual interest, casual sexual behaviour, endorsement of casual sex, attitudes supporting violence against women, and greater sexual dominance. Compared to the other two groups, alcohol-involved perpetrators were more impulsive and reported greater alcohol consumption during misperceptions of women's sexual intent, stronger beliefs that alcohol enhances sex drive, and a stronger belief that women's drinking is a cue signifying sexual interest. According to the authors, their findings suggest that
... men's beliefs that alcohol increases sex drive and is a cue that women use to convey sexual interest, and men's misperception of women's sexual interest in drinking situations, increase their likelihood of committing alcohol-involved sexual assault. Prevention programs targeting alcohol-involved perpetrators should specifically address the content of men's alcohol beliefs and provide corrective feedback about the inaccuracy and potential destructiveness of those beliefs .... men should be warned not to trust their perceptions of women's sexual interest when drinking. Through role-playing, men could practice listening and responding appropriately to women's refusals so that those refusals will be more easily recognized and heeded, even when drinking. Finally, programs should emphasize that drinking should not be used as a strategy or excuse for forcing sex on an unwilling person (p. 378).
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||Sex Research Update|
|Publication:||The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2003|
|Previous Article:||Krahe, B., Waizenhofer, E. & Moller. I. (2003). Women's sexual aggression against men: prevalence and predictors.|
|Next Article:||Conference announcements.|