Alcohol and other drugs are never the cause of sexual violence. However, these substances are a factor in many sexual assaults.
According to Bucknell's Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Policy:
"Consent to engage in sexual activity must exist from beginning to end of each instance of sexual activity. Consent is demonstrated through mutually understandable words and/or actions that clearly indicate a willingness to engage in a specific sexual activity.
Consent must be knowing and voluntary. To give Consent, a person must be awake, of legal age, and have the capacity to reasonably understand the nature of her/his actions. Individuals who are physically or mentally incapacitated cannot give Consent. Some indicators that an individual is incapacitated due to intoxication may include, but are not limited to, vomiting, unresponsiveness, inability to communicate coherently, inability to dress/undress without assistance, inability to walk without assistance, slurred speech, loss of coordination, or inability to perform other physical or cognitive tasks without assistance.
Silence, without actions evidencing permission, does not demonstrate Consent. Where force or coercion is alleged, the absence of resistance does not demonstrate Consent. The responsibility of obtaining Consent rests with the person initiating sexual activity. Use of alcohol or drugs does not diminish one's responsibility to obtain Consent.
Consent to engage in sexual activity may be withdrawn by either person at any time. Once withdrawal of Consent has been expressed, the sexual activity must cease. Consent is automatically withdrawn by a person who is no longer capable of giving Consent (due to falling asleep or passing out into a state of unconsciousness, for example)."
Substance use by the perpetrator or victim diminishes the ability to make sound decisions, including whether or not an individual would like to have sex. Substances such as date rape drugs or "roofies"-- Rohypnol, GHB, GBL, or Benzodiazapenes-- are slipped into a potential victim's drink in order to incapacitate them, and therefore make them less resistant to sexual activity. Though these date rape drugs are the most talked about, it is important to remember that alcohol is the most commonly used date rape drug. As with other drug-facilitated sexual assault, alcohol reduces the ability of a victim to accurately assess a situation and make an informed decision regarding sexual activity.
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