Targeting Drunk Women Accounts for Sexual Aggression, Not 'Mixed Signals'

Posted on March 10, 2014

When alcohol is involved, people are more inclined to view sexual aggression as morally ambiguous. New research, however, suggests that men who harass women in bars and clubs aren't misinterpreting women’s signals because they are drunk. Rather, they may be singling out women who appear intoxicated as easy targets.

In a study of sexual aggression in bars researchers have found that the invasiveness and persistence of unwanted come-ons is not correlated with how much the perpetrator has had to drink, but is instead related to how drunk the person on the receiving end seems to be. The paper, aptly titled "Blurred Lines? Sexual Aggression and Barroom Culture," after the summer hit by Robin Thicke, was published earlier this week in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Its not a blurred line, its a pretty easy line,” says Kathryn Graham, senior scientist at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and co-author of the paper. “The whole culture that thinks blurred lines is some kind of truth or inevitability, from our data, is a little bit astray."

William H. George, a psychologist at the University of Washington who studies how alcohol influences sexual health and behavior, says that consuming alcohol often turns sexual aggression into a self-fulfilling prophecy if the perpetrator enters the situation with the widely held cultural belief that drinking makes people more sexually uninhibited.

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Source material from Scientific American


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