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Alcohol as drug of choice; Is drug-assisted rape a misnomer?

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Building on previous research which identified alcohol as the drug of choice for facilitating sexual assaults, this paper analysed 93 rape cases reported to the police in which the victim was under the influence of drugs/alcohol when the assault occurred. The aim was to explore what substances victims consumed to become incapacitated and who induced the state of incapacity. The degree of pre-planning suggests that the offender could be described as opportunistic or predatory. Findings demonstrated that the majority of rapes (coming to police notice) in which alcohol or drugs are implicated, are circumstances where the victim has self-intoxicated through alcohol consumption. There were relatively few cases in which drugs had been administered surreptitiously. The analyses successfully identified differences between rapes that occur when the victim is intoxicated or drugged according to how she consumed that alcohol/drug and what kind of alcohol/drugs she had consumed. The concept of negotiative space is offered as a potential theoretical explanation. The findings are discussed in the light of this and recommendations for crime prevention are made.
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Keywords: Rape; alcohol and rape; drug-assisted rape

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Child and Women Abuse Studies Unit, London Metropolitan University, London, UK 2: Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Surrey, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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