By David Lee on February 4, 2010 · tagged as , , ,

Sexual Assault Histories and Evening Drinking Among Young American Men

In a study recently epublished in the Journal of Sex Research, the authors examined the relationship between sexual assault histories and how much people drank that evening.

In examining research it is important to understand how the study was conducted and understand how much we can generalize the findings in order to integrate the understanding of the research into prevention practice.

For this study the data was collected at the San Diego, California border with Tijuana, Mexico. Sexual Assault histories were determined by asking four questions derived from Koss and Oros’ Sexual Experiences Survey:

  1. Have you ever been in a situation where you became so sexually aroused that you could not stop yourself even though the person didn’t want to have sex?
  2. Have you ever persuaded someone to have sexual intercourse with you by giving her drugs or alcohol?
  3. Have you ever persuaded someone to have sexual intercourse with you when she did not really want to by pressuring her with continual arguments?
  4. Have you ever been in a situation where you used some degree of physical force (twisting an arm, holding down, etc.) to try to make a person engage in kissing or petting when they did not want to?

The study found that individuals who having sexually assaulted someone in the past drank more during their evening in Tijuana.  However, the study did not demonstrate a link between drinking that evening and committing acts of sexual assault.

Here is the full citation and abstract:

Sexual Assault Histories and Evening Drinking Among Young American Men in a High-Risk Drinking Environment.

Mumford EA, Kelley-Baker T, Romano E. Journal of Sex Research 2009; ePublished December 29, 2009

Click here for a link to the abstract on the journal’s web site.

(Copyright © 2009, Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality)

This study surveyed young American men traveling to Tijuana, Mexico from San Diego, California for a weekend night out, collecting responses both southbound at the outset of the evening and northbound upon return at the end of the evening. Among 650 males, we examined the relationship between sexual histories and attitudes and alcohol use, both historically and on their night in Tijuana. Respondents with a history of coercing sex drank more in Tijuana and were more likely to binge drink. Although estimating sexual assaults committed by these males on the evening in question was not possible, this research establishes the link between a history of sexual assault and the blood alcohol concentration of young men resulting from an evening in a timeout environment.

David Lee

More Posts by David Lee

David S. Lee, MPH, is the Director of Prevention Services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault where he provides training and technical assistance on prevention. David manages the national project PreventConnect, an online community of violence against women prevention practitioners, funders, researchers and activists. For over 27 years David has worked in efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Alissa Black February 4, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I really appreciate all the info CALCASA puts on it’s websites and listserves, and I learn a lot from you all. I know this study was not done by CALCASA and is posted for our info, and I have no issues with that. I do take issue with the study though in that I feel that the researchers missed and overlooked some critical factors within the context and reasons why young people go to Tijuana to party or rape. I grew up in San Diego, and it was common practice for people under the age of 21 to go to clubs in TJ or for men to go to sex clubs. I believe the difference in the behavior of the white american men at the clubs in TJ was quite different than the US, and it didn’t have anything to do with the level of alcholol consumption. I think it’s a mistake and an “out” to attribute their bad behavior and choices to alcohol. My take is that they viewed traveling to Mexico as coming to a place where accountability and social behavior could be some how be different or lessened, and it would be more acceptable to try sexually assaulting people. I truly believe they didn’t believe or know they could get away with the same choices as in the US. For example, I was aggressively groped a gew times while dancing with friends. Men would also try sneak attacks while just walking through a crowded club, but my hands and mind was often quicker…. and was able to dig my nails into mail of these guys hands and arms. The surprised look on their faces was always telling to me. There were such sad stories of rape that happened there or when they came back to the US. Just thought I’d share, thanks!

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