| LIFE AT WSU | Title IX | Alcohol & Sexual Violence
It is important to understand the intersection between alcohol and sex. Studies published have demonstrated that approximately 50-70% of all sexual assaults involve alcohol. Although this does not mean alcohol causes sexual assault it does mean that alcohol is present in these situations.
Alcohol increases the likelihood of sexual assault occurring through acquaintances during social interactions through several pathways. These pathways include beliefs about alcohol, deficits in cognitive processing and motor impairments induced by alcohol, as well as peer group norms that can encourage heavy drinking and forced sex. In addition, intoxicated people will often focus more on their own sexual arousal or feelings of entitlement and less focus on internalized morality or potential consequences of their behavior.
Consent cannot be given by a person who is incapacitated. Therefore, it is imperative to be able to determine the difference between incapacitation and intoxication. Incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication.
Some signs of intoxication include, but are not limited to:
Some signs of incapacitation include, but are not limited to:
With their consent, you can have sex with someone who is intoxicated, but it may be worth thinking about why you want to be intoxicated or why you want to be with someone who is intoxicated when choosing to have sex.
If your partner is showing signs of incapacitation, STOP.
The health and safety of every student at Worcester State is of utmost importance. Worcester State recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that violence occurs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct.
Worcester State strongly encourages students to report incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking for sexual assault to the institution. In addition, a bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith that discloses any incident of dating violence, domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault to Worcester State officials or law enforcement will not be subject to the college code of conduct action or violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the incident.
Affirmative Consent means an informed, affirmative, conscious, voluntary, and mutual agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that she/he has the Affirmative Consent of the other participant(s) to engage in the sexual activity. Sexual activity includes but is not limited to kissing, touching intimate body parts, fondling, intercourse, penetration of any body part, and oral sex.
Affirmative Consent cannot be given by a person who is incapacitated. A person is unable to consent when she/he is asleep, unconscious or is incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication so that she/he could not understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual activity. A person is incapacitated when she/he lacks the physical and/or mental ability to make informed, rational decisions. Whether an intoxicated person (as a result of using alcohol or other drugs) is incapacitated depends on the extent to which the alcohol or other drugs impact the person’s decision making ability, awareness of consequences, and ability to make informed judgements. A person’s own intoxication or incapacitation from drugs or alcohol does not diminish that person’s responsibility to obtain Affirmative Consent before engaging in sexual activity.
Worcester State's Alcohol and Drug Prevention Education resources provide more information about alcohol and drug prevention.
Jennifer Quinn M.Ed., CHES, CTTS
Director of Title IX
Drug and Alcohol Education Prevention
Worcester Police Department911