Revellers warned of ‘acquaintance rape’ risks

People are being warned about the danger of “acquaintance rape” when partying over the bank holiday weekend.

The Rape Crisis Network of Ireland said research showed alcohol was implicated in seven out of 10 rapes involving people who know each other.

RCNI policy director Clíona Saidléar said alcohol played a bigger part in acquaintance rape than in rapes involving an intimate partner or ex-partner.

“In alcohol-associated situations, expectancies about sexual activity are most likely to come into play.

“These expectancies can mean that people become predatory about pursuing sex and careless about consent. Although alcohol does not cause sexual violence, it is often used to excuse violent behaviour, and to incapacitate and blame victims,” she said.

“Predatory behaviour, added to the increased vulnerability of people who are drinking, can contribute to circumstances in which a rape is potentially more likely to occur.”

She said the Rape and Justice in Ireland report, published in 2009, identified significant differences in alcohol consumption by complainants and suspects in different relationships.

Concerning acquaintance rape:

* 71% of cases involving a defendant and complainant who know each other involved both of the parties consuming alcohol on the occasion of the alleged rape;

* Suspects and complainants who were acquaintances in a non-sexual relationship were the most likely to have been binge drinking on the occasion of the alleged rape (54% of complainants and 45% of suspects).

Findings for intimate/ ex-intimate partner rape show:

* Intimate partners and ex-intimate partners were the least likely to have been drinking on the occasion of the rape.

Regarding stranger rape:

* They are most likely to exhibit opposite drinking patterns between complainants and accused (where only one had been drinking).

* In 26% of cases involving strangers, only one party had been drinking compared to 13% of cases involving known defendants.


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