Vulnerability of Teenagers to Sexual Violence
Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) Press release
22nd October 2012
Vulnerability of teenagers to sexual violence in a binge drinking culture must be addressed
RCNI today welcome the conviction of a boy for the rape of a fellow 15 year old girl at a drink and drug fuelled party, saying that this case highlighted the need for the government to respond to the vulnerability of young people in a binge drinking culture.
Fiona Neary RCNI Director said, ‘there is clear evidence that Ireland’s binge drinking culture leaves teenagers vulnerable to sexual violence. For just €5 each the teenagers at this party could get drunk and high. The vast majority of rape cases in Ireland (80% RAJI) involve a victim and perpetrator who have consumed alcohol. The Rape and Justice in Ireland (RAJI) study found that in 10% of rape cases the complainant was completely incapacitated by alcohol. By and large (74%), like in this recent case, it was a friend or acquaintance that committed the rape against their incapacitated friend.
‘For almost half of young people, alcohol consumption is normal and many of them regularly binge drink. The frequency of binge drinking in Ireland is the highest in Europe: 44% of Irish respondents who had consumed alcohol in the past 12 months indicating that they had been binge drinking at least once a week (Eurobarometer 2009). Patterns for youth alcohol consumption in Ireland echo adult patterns: 42% of boys and 44% of girls aged 15-16 reporting binge-drinking during the previous month. This consumption pattern and its impact, combined with victim blaming attitudes can leave many young people very vulnerable to sexual violence. Rape Crisis Centres are seeing an increasing number of teenagers accessing our services, as will be released in RCNI’s National Annual Statistics in November.
‘The successful prosecution of this type of case, which often goes unreported, is rare. Alcohol consumption has a worrying impact on our capacity to prosecute such crimes. Incapacity due to alcohol consumption is often the reason someone is targeted for sexual violence, not only because they are considered easier to rape but because they may have poor memory of the details of the crime. In addition sexual predators in our society benefit from popularly held beliefs that girls and women who drink are partly to blame for being raped. Victim blaming, stay safe messages targeted at girls and women must stop.
‘RCNI are calling on the government and the new Minister of State with a responsibility for alcohol, Alex White, TD, to act now on measures outlined in the National Substance Misuse Strategy, including the minimum pricing and the marketing of alcohol to begin to address this crisis in our society.’
RCNI has a blog on alcohol and sexual violence – See especially RCNI’s blog on youth, alcohol consumption and sexual violence https://rcni.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/youth-alcohol-consumption-and-sexual-violence/#more-155
For information contact
Cliona Saidlear on 087 2196447