(UWIRE) Alcohol is the No. 1 date-rape drug, psychologist John Stachula said at a presentation at Ball State University this spring titled, “Mixed Drinks and Mixed Signals: How Does Alcohol Affect Perception of Sexual Intent?” Stachula and Lisa Thomason, members of the Sexual Assault Prevention Outreach Team, gave the presentation as a part of Sexual Assault Awareness Week. “From the very first drink, the ability to make good judgments is impaired,” Stachula said. Students watched excerpts from the movie “Old School” and discussed scenes where the use of alcohol played a role in people’s judgments. Students had differing opinions about who should be accountable for situations when alcohol was a factor. “Misperceptions of sexual intent becomes prevalent when drinking is occurring,” Stachula said. “It is easy to use alcohol to normalize problematic behavior.” Stachula said it is easy to blame victims when alcohol is involved by saying that if they hadn’t been drinking, the sexual assault would not have happened. However, Stachula said that if someone were mugged after they had been drinking, society would not place the blame on them in the same manner. Stachula and Thomason said that more than 90 percent of sexual assaults that happen on college campuses involve alcohol. Students discussed how they viewed members of the opposite sex who drank. Women at the presentation said they viewed men as predatory, while men viewed women as more sexually available than those that were not drinking. Stachula said that young men and women in social settings, such as parties, are often there seeking attention, but the appreciation of that attention is often misconstrued as a sexual invitation. “With alcohol consumption comes stereo-types that insinuate a willingness that may not be there,” Stachula said. Freshman Michele Scott said she enjoyed the presentation. “I thought that it was very good,” she said. “I am going to pay more attention to little cues and take a closer look at certain situations.”
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Please contact me in reference to coming to our base to speak during April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We’re at Pope Air Force Base in NC.