The role of victim and perpetrator intoxication on sexual assault outcomes.

  • Testa M
  • Vanzile-Tamsen C
  • Livingston J
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The current study was designed to examine the impact of perpetrator and victim substance use on the sexual assault outcomes of penetration and victim injury. METHOD: Women, ages 18-30 (n = 1,014), were recruited from households using random digit dialing. They completed computer-assisted measures, including the Sexual Experiences Survey (Koss et al., 1987). Women who reported sexual assault since age 14 (n = 359) were interviewed face-to-face regarding their most recent sexual assault incident. RESULTS: As hypothesized, high levels of perpetrator intoxication decreased the likelihood of penetration occurring. When the victim was highly intoxicated however, penetration was more likely. Victim injury was more likely in assaults involving penetration. Higher levels of perpetrator intoxication in assaults involving a sober victim were also associated with greater odds of victim injury. CONCLUSIONS: Perpetrator intoxication effects are consistent with the presumption that intoxication at high levels impairs male sexual function but increases male physical aggression. Victim intoxication increases vulnerability to penetration but does not reduce odds of injury.

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Authors

  • Maria Testa

  • Carol Vanzile-Tamsen

  • Jennifer A Livingston

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