Alcohol and Sexual Violence

It is commonly known that there is a connection between alcohol and sexual violence, particularly sexual assault, but the nature of that connection is not well-understood. It is important to frame alcohol as a facilitator of sexual violence, and not a cause of it.

While half of sexual assault incidents involve alcohol (where either the person perpetrating violence, the person experiencing violence, or both have been drinking), individuals who commit sexual assault will do so with or without alcohol. Further, alcohol is one of many strategies used by offenders to facilitate misconduct. Individuals who experience sexual violence while drinking or drunk should not be blamed for the violence perpetrated against them.

In Ontario, post-secondary institutions cannot discipline students for violating drug or alcohol use policies if they receive a disclosure of sexual violence from a student who may have been violating such policies at the time of the sexual violence. For more information on this, see CICMH’s infosheet on Laws Governing Sexual Violence on Campus in Ontario.

Guide: PDF Version