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Is Alcohol the New Short Skirt?

Attitudes about women’s alcohol consumption haven’t changed much. Women who drink are still perceived as being “promiscuous,” “easy,” or more sexually available.

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So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that men who rape have sexist and misogynist beliefs. 

Studies have found the following attitudes among men who commit rape and sexual assault: 

  • Men who had committed sexual assault were more hostile toward women and lower in empathy compared with other men.
  • Men who had committed sexual assault endorsd traditional stereotypes about gender roles; for example, that men are responsible for initiating sex and women are responsible for setting the limits.
  • Perpetrators of sexual assault were more likely to endorse statements that have been used to justify rape; the most common were, "women say ‘no’ when they mean ‘yes’” and "women enjoy forced sex."
  • Men who had committed sexual assaults were more likely to hold adversarial beliefs about relationships between men and women and to consider the use of force in interpersonal relationships acceptable.

These are the ideas that have to change in order to end sexual violence against women.     

The only person who is ever responsible for rape or sexual assault is the perpetrator. When I finally understood this, I came out of the alcohol-rape closet.  

Helen Redmond is a freelance journalist and a drug and health policy analyst.

 
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