College Football And Sexual Assaults – A Link?

I have often wondered about the possible link between campus sexual assaults and college football if for no other reason than the increase in alcohol consumption which has always been a major contributing factor to the sexual assaults. In today’s article I take a look at three separate stories about this possible link and let you come to your own conclusion.

In our 2014 article entitled Sexual Assault-Campus Guide For College Students the state of New York published a document that laid the groundwork for college students on understanding intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual assault and stalking. “In this document, the state offers a perspective on how serious the problem is, some definitions to clarify the problem and what protections are available for victims on college campuses.” The study pointed out that nearly 60% of the total campus population is female with 80% of them reporting an experience of at least one incident of physical or sexual aggression in her four years at a University. That is a huge problem!

The first article comes from the venerable Washington Post and discusses the relationship between college football Game Day And Sexual Assaults. The hordes of rowdy visitors who arrive at the game already inebriated and the alcohol infused tailgate parties, has got Jason Lindo, a Texas A&M University economics professor, wondering if the elevated revelry of game day and the increase in alcohol consumption doesn’t intensify the risk of sexual assaults on campus.

Lindo and some of his colleagues analyzed 22 years of FBI data to compare reports of rape to law enforcement agencies serving Division I schools on game days versus non-game days taking into account the time of year and the days of the week. Not surprisingly they found a strong link between football games and an increase in 17 to 24-year-old college women reporting rape. On days of home games the reports increased by 41%. If an underdog team unexpectedly beat a higher -ranked team, reported rapes increased by 57%.

The authors of the study believe that potential perpetrators may think that the probability of being punished will be lower if they and their victims are inebriated.

It should be noted that the investigators didn’t intend to single out football as a driver of rape, but rather events that lead to overindulgence in alcohol and crime rates.

The crime data showed arrests on home game days increased 54% for disorderly conduct and 87% for public intoxication and only 20% for DUI. Unlike most campus sexual assaults, where the assailant is known to the victim, most victims in the study said they were assaulted by someone they didn’t know.

The now famous Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 77% of students believe that reducing drinking on campus would be effective in reducing the campus sexual assault spree.

This U.S. News & World Report blog explores the same relationship between on campus rapes and college football. It should be noted, that not all drinking and partying happens at tailgate parties or in the stadium. For fans who cannot make it to the game, like the 33.4 million ESPN viewers, who watched last year’s championship game between Ohio State and Oregon, it is another excuse to overindulge. There is little doubt of the importance of the football program to any University witness the salaries paid to football coaches-generally speaking, the highest of any University employee including the college president.

It is already an established statistic that one in five college age women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime at the University. This article referenced the above study by Texas A&M Prof. Lindo identified college football game days as events that lead to excessive partying and drinking.

According to this story in the Houston Chronicle, the nexus between football and campus sexual assaults increases with the importance of the game or the prominence of the teams playing. They point out that a football game Saturday is going to be a target rich environment for a predator or someone who wants to commit sexual assault mostly because of the addition of alcohol to the equation.

Men who were inclined to either sexually coerce or assault a woman will look at game day as the prime time to do their assaults. At the University of Houston, the police chief says there is no nexus between game day and sexual assaults but agreed that there is a strong relationship between the consumption of alcohol and sexual assaults. Football is really not the issue, it is the partying and drinking.

Football game or not, partying or not, college-age women are much more likely to be assaulted sexually because of the increased testosterone on the part of young men. That is why we have always encouraged young women everywhere to be mindful of their surroundings and carry a nonlethal self-defense product such as a stun gun or a pepper spray that can disable an assailant for as long as 45 minutes.

Because they are legal everywhere, we recommend a pepper spray. Of the close to 200 different pepper sprays we carry nearly half of them are Keychain Pepper Sprays which shows the importance of them in a self-defense strategy. When the time comes, you want something with you and readily accessible that you can use to disable an assailant. A keychain pepper spray is much more likely to fill that need.

We hope our readers will be honest and share their experiences with campus sexual assault especially as it relates to alcohol consumption. Please share your thoughts with us! Who knows, maybe your experience will help someone else.