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Alcohol is Ireland's most common 'date-rape' drug - Rape Crisis Network

The organisation says that it is both urgent and possible to change the link between alcohol consumption and sexual violence.

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Image: Katie Collins/PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE RAPE CRISIS Network Ireland (RCNI) has said that alcohol is the most common drug used to facilitate rape in Ireland as it said it was urgent to change the link between consumption of alcohol and sexual violence.

The latest RCNI statement comes as university students start back this coming week and with the junior certificate results being released tomorrow morning.

“The acceptance of alcohol to ‘loosen up’ and facilitate social encounters creates specific problems in recognising that alcohol is being used as a ‘date-rape’ drug.

“Indeed, even the name we give it, ‘date- rape’, supports the minimisation of this act of sexual violence,” RCNI’s Cliona Saidléar said.

She cited the RCNI’s Rape and Justice in Ireland study which indicated that in 74 per cent of complaints involving rape that was facilitated by drinking, the defendant was not on a date or in any form of a sexual relationship with the victim.

Research also shows that 10 per cent of reported rapes have involved victims who were incapacitated due to alcohol consumption.

The RCNI says that treating sexual violence perpetrated when people have been drinking different to sexual violence which takes place when people are ‘sober’ may result in victims minimising the extent of an assault or blaming themselves.

“It may also result in perpetrators believing that they are doing something that they can get away with,” the RCNI said.

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The RCNI said that in order to change this people needed to change their association of alcohol with ‘sexual success’ and any tolerance they may have to violent sexual behaviour once drink is consumed.

The group said that standards for the advertising and marketing of alcohol must be mindful of this.

“Rape risk reduction messages that focus on alcohol must critically address the excuse that alcohol provides for rape,” the group added.

“Rape prevention messages must not result in the misplacing of ‘responsibility’ on girls and women who were intoxicated at the time of their rape. Such messages reinforce victim-blaming and rape-facilitative attitudes.”

Read: Dublin Rape Crisis Centre took almost 12,000 calls last year

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Hugh O'Connell

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