College, alcohol and sexual assault

By Melissa Martin - Contributing columnist

Chanel, a young female, because intoxicated at a party. She passed out and was sexually assaulted by a young male (also intoxicated) college student that attended the party. Two witnesses saw the male sexually assaulting Chanel behind a dumpster. The male was arrested and convicted.

Know My Name: A Memoir (September 24, 2019) by Chanel Miller is a powerful book—a message to victims and survivors of sexual assault. Her book is a bestseller. “She was known to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter. Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting her on Stanford’s campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on BuzzFeed, where it instantly went viral—viewed by eleven million people within four days, it was translated globally and read on the floor of Congress; it inspired changes in California law and the recall of the judge in the case. Thousands wrote to say that she had given them the courage to share their own experiences of assault for the first time.”

“Incapacitated sexual assault is a term used to describe when victims are unable to consent to sexual acts because they are incapacitated by alcohol or other drugs,” according to Campus Advocacy and Prevention Professionals Association (CAPPA).

“Alcohol-related sexual assault is a common occurrence on college campuses,” According to a 2015 article in The Journal on the Studies of Alcohol and Drugs.

However, alcohol is a risk factor in sexual assault, but alcohol is NOT the cause of sexual assault. Men that sexually assault women are legally and morally responsible for their actions/crimes whether drunk or sober.

“I was drunk,” is not accepted as an excuse for driving drunk and killing. “I was drunk,” should not be accepted as an excuse for sexual assault.

According to the National Collegiate Date and Acquaintance Rape Statistics, 90 percent of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol.

Heavy drinking is one of the most significant predictors of sexual assault in college, according to a 2015 Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll of 1,053 college students. Analysis of the results found that women who say they sometimes or often drink more than they should are twice as likely to be victims of completed, attempted or suspected sexual assaults as those who rarely or never drink. Alcohol is classified as a drug, but it is a legal drug.

Educating young women about becoming intoxicated at parties is imperative. Educating young women about staying in the company of a friend(s) while intoxicated is imperative. Educating young females to drink in moderation is imperative.

This column is about sexual assault on college campuses and at college parties. Helping potential victims is not victim-blaming, but empowering them with information, knowledge, and precautions about alcohol. Being less vulnerable to perpetrators is only part of the solution.

Vanessa Grigoriadis is the author of “Blurred Lines: Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus.” I recommend her book. And I agree that sexual consent should be focused on changing men’s behavior.

By Melissa Martin

Contributing columnist

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Scioto County, Ohio. She can be reached at

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Scioto County, Ohio. She can be reached at