Drinking with strangers ups sexual assault risk for women

Women who drink alcohol with strangers or people they met just 24 hours back are at a higher risk of facing sexual assault.

London: Women who drink alcohol with strangers or people they met just 24 hours back are at a higher risk of facing sexual assault.

According to a Danish study, over 40 percent of women had consumed more than five units of alcohol before they were sexually assaulted by a stranger or someone they met within 24 hours prior to the assault.

It found that 66 percent of the women were aged 15-24 years old and 75 percent had met the perpetrator before the sexual assault.

Nearly 50 percent reported that the perpetrator was a current or former boyfriend, family member or someone they considered a friend.

"Women with no previous contact or knowledge of their perpetrator were more likely to report to the police and were at a higher risk of sustaining an injury," said Mie-Louise Larsen from the University of Copenhagen.

Besides, a physical injury was found in 53 percent of the cases and 33 percent of the victims had suffered a previous sexual assault.

"Our results challenge the typical stereotype of a violent rape attack by a stranger which is important in creating an environment where women are not reluctant to seek help after a sexual assault," added Larsen.

The Danish study used data from all women attending the specialised Centre for Victims of Sexual assault in Copenhagen for sexual assault or attempted sexual assault between March 2001 and December 2010.

A total of 2,541 women were included in the sample.

"The results suggest that young age and drinking alcohol were risk factors for sexual assault," researchers concluded.

The paper appeared in BJOG: An international journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG).