BUFFALO, N.Y. – Reducing binge drinking on campuses must
be a priority in addressing issues of college sexual assault,
according to a new Expert Summary from the University at Buffalo
Research Institute on Addictions (RIA).
In April, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from
Sexual Assault released its first report, “Not Alone,”
on how colleges can combat sexual assault on campus.
“Although the task force’s report contained
critically important information on how campuses can better deal
with assault cases, we were concerned to see that alcohol use
received barely a mention,” says Jennifer Livingston, PhD,
senior research scientist at RIA and coauthor of the Expert
“Research consistently shows that heavy alcohol use is a
factor in a majority of college sexual assault cases,”
Livingston says. “Therefore, reduction of binge drinking on
campuses must be recognized as a crucial goal in assault-prevention
Kathleen Parks, PhD, and Maria Testa, PhD, senior research
scientists at RIA, along with Livingston, have conducted
groundbreaking research on the association between binge drinking
and college sexual assault, and their findings are included in the
In addition to their research findings about the role of heavy
drinking by perpetrators, victims or both in sexual assault cases,
the Expert Summary includes information on how cultural norms
relating to alcohol and sex can both fuel conditions where assault
thrives and create barriers to reporting assault.
“Sexual assault is always wrong; there is no doubt about
that,” says Kathleen Miller, PhD, senior research scientist
at RIA and coauthor. “Unfortunately, disagreements about the
role of alcohol have sometimes been a stumbling block when
discussing prevention efforts.
“Some advocates worry that acknowledging the role of binge
drinking in assaults is tantamount to blaming the victim, but our
common goal here is to prevent sexual assaults by better
understanding the conditions under which they are likely to
occur,” Miller says. “We need to work together to
educate students and keep them safe.”
To download a copy of the Expert Summary, “RIA Reaching
Others: Alcohol and Sexual Assault,” visit: http://www.buffalo.edu/content/dam/www/ria/PDFs/ES11-AlcoholandSexualAssault.pdf.
For more information on the White House Task Force to Protect
Students from Sexual Assault, visit www.NotAlone.gov.
RIA is a research center of the University at Buffalo (UB) and a
national leader in the study of alcohol and substance abuse issues.
RIA’s research programs, most of which have multiple-year
funding, are supported by federal, state and private foundation
grants. Located on UB’s Downtown Campus, RIA is a member of
the dynamic Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and helps promote
UB’s strategic focus on research initiatives. To learn more,