A new study has revealed that nearly 20 percent of undergraduate American women are sexually assaulted during their time in college and that the majority of incidents occurred while they were under the influence of alcohol.
Researchers suggest that college campuses need more integrated substance use and sexual victimization risk reduction and prevention programming.
"The findings support the need for the development and implementation of campus-based sexual assault prevention and risk reduction programming that is integrated with drug and alcohol awareness training," said Chris Krebs, Ph.D., a senior research social scientist at RTI and the study's lead author.
"The prevention programs should teach students how to monitor and manage their drug and alcohol use, anticipate when they or their peers may become cognitively or physically impaired, and reduce their risk of being victimized by recognizing situations and persons that could pose a danger," he added.
The study involving 5000 undergraduate women showed that more than 11 percent of women had been sexually assaulted while they were incapacitated and unable to provide consent.
And that freshman and sophomore women were at a higher risk for sexual assault than their junior and senior counterparts.
Overall, the study showed that almost 30 percent of undergraduate women reported experiencing an attempted or completed sexual assault either before or while in college.
"Our research suggests that limiting alcohol intake and not taking drugs are important sexual assault risk reduction strategies, especially within the context of campus social situations," said Christine Lindquist, Ph.D., a senior research sociologist at RTI and the study's second author.
"Developing programs that teach women and men how they can protect themselves and their classmates is an important part of preventing sexual victimization," she added.
The study is published in the Journal of American College Health.