It's no secret that sexual assault is a growing problem on college campuses across the United States. It also isn't surprising that many incidences of assault occur alongside heavy drinking.
While alcohol is not the cause of assault, it does often serve as a catalyst. According to a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately one-half of sexual assault cases involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, victim or both. As a result, dozens of colleges are cracking down on alcohol use, particularly at fraternities, to curb binge-drinking as well as sexual assault.
Measures to restrict alcohol use on campuses has included the following, according to a recent NY Times report:
- Indiana University prohibits hard liquor at fraternity parties
- Stanford limits the size of liquor bottles students can possess and bans liquor from undergraduate parties
- University of Michigan bans kegs from fraternity parties and requires a "sober monitor" to supervise the party
- Boston University has a "night squad" of police officers wearing plain clothes to monitor underage and binge drinking issues
Time will tell whether efforts to control binge drinking have any effect on sexual assault on these or other college campuses. Locally, Penn State is facing a rise in reported sexual assault cases, and has made efforts to educate its students about consent during sexual activity and standing up against questionable behavior.
Sexual assault is a serious accusation with harsh criminal and academic penalties. Those accused of this crime at Penn State and other area colleges have the right to protect their legal rights with help from an experienced criminal defense attorney.