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There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding sexual violence and alcohol. Let's turn the narrative around.

CALL TO ACTION: For this week’s call to action, we want you to share some things you’ve been told about how to keep yourself safe when alcohol is involved- and reflect on how we police women’s behavior. Instead of changing women’s behavior, what can we tell aggressors about how to behave?Share your answers with the hashtag #EngageUplift!


Engage by Uplift tackles the difficult issues surrounding sexual abuse that the YouTube and online communities face. We're starting real talk for real change.

Each week, our host Kat Lazo discusses abuse and how it manifests in virtual spaces. Watch and collaborate with us through weekly calls to action, and join in with some of your favorite YouTubers as they consider the issues in round table discussions.

Hosted by Kat Lazo: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheeKatsMeoww

Directed by Kelly Kend: http://kellykend.com/


Real talk for Real Change. #EngageUplift
Subscribe to our channel to get updates!

Follow Uplift- Online Communities Against Sexual Violence:
Website: http://uplifttogether.org
Tumblr: http://uplifttogether.tumblr.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/uplifttogether
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uplifttogether


MORE RESOURCES:

New Yorker (Malcom Gladwell)- Drinking Games: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/02/15/drinking-games

BARCC- Alcohol Doesn't Rape: http://barcc.org/blog/details/alcohol-doesnt-rape
Feministe- Profile of a College Rapist : http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/03/05/profile-of-a-college-rapist/
ThinkProgress Health- Actually, The Link Between Sexual Assault And Alcohol Isn’t As Clear As You Think: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/10/29/2844951/link-alcohol-sexual-assault/
NIH- Alcohol and Sexual Assault: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-1/43-51.htm
ConsentEd- Alcohol and Sexual Assault: http://www.consented.ca/rape-prone/an-example-alcohol-and-sexual-assault/
Hey everyone! I'm your host Kat Lazo and welcome to another episode of Engage by Uplift, a video series aimed at having real talk for real change when it comes to sexual assault.
Lots of women are taught from high school to keep an eye out on their drink while at a party because someone might slip something in there, and by something I'm referring to date rape drug. The fact of the matter is the number one rape drug is alcohol! Alcohol! Eighty-nine percent of all assaults happen when the victim has been drinking and because of a statistic like that women are constantly told to drink less or not drink at all in order to be safe.

"Don't go out alone, dress differently, don't go out too early in the morning, don't go out at night, don't show too much skin, cover yourself up" Ahhhhhh.

We here at Engage by Uplift don't think that that's the right approach. Let's try something a little different. Does alcohol make you more aggressive? We've been told that alcohol lowers inhibitions, which is why some people act more sexually aggressive when they're drinking. But here's the thing there's no real biological basis for the idea that alcohol lowers inhibitions. Huh? Yeah, you heard me right. Alcohol has been shown to impact the sensorimotor skills in your brain interfering with balance and movement. It turns out that any other behavior we associate with drunkenness such as sexual aggression is completely socially constructed. And I thought I knew it all.

So what does that mean? Society has taught us that being drunk lowers our inhibitions so when we're drunk we act uninhabited. And because we're used to people acting sexually aggressive when they're drunk, we think it's normal. In a study where male drinkers were given either alcohol or placebo, it was found that men who thought they were given alcohol were much more aggressive regardless of what they were actually drinking. They thought they were drunk so that's what made the difference. As long as we continue to believe that alcohol is a reason for sexually aggressive behavior it will continue.

That being said, I think it's really important to state that alcohol does not cause rape. All alcohol does is make a rapist feel like it's easier to take advantage of someone. Manipulative and exploitative people will use any tools they have on hand in order to leverage power against someone else, and alcohol is just one of those tools. This is an issue of predators, usually men, justifying their aggressive behaviors with alcohol. How many times have we heard "boys will be boys?" It should be more like "you have control over your own behavior when you're drunk." Period. That's it.

For this week's call to action we wanted you all to share some things that you've been told on how to keep yourself safe when alcohol is involved, and reflect on how we police women's behavior. Instead of changing women's behaviors, what can we tell aggressors about how to behave? Don't forget to answer our call to action using the hashtag engageuplift on social media or in the comments down below.

Alcohol and consent. We talk about the idea of consent a lot in this video series. Consent to any sexual activity is required and consent should be voluntary and enthusiastic. For more information, check our previous video answering the questions 'what is consent' and 'how do you know it's an assault.' But more importantly, I can't stress this enough, legally, a person cannot consent while incapacitated either by drugs or by alcohol. A drunk person may not physically be able to say no and a drunk person may not be that great at listening to that no.

The primary effect of alcohol is that of myopia. This means that alcohol makes you focus on one primary goal and ignore secondary ones. For someone who is sexually aggressive this might mean that their primary goal is to commit an assault, and they'll be more likely to ignore the fact that someone hasn't consented. But again, alcohol myopia is not something that's biological. It has to do with social behavior. So let me reinforce this, all alcohol does is make a rapist feel like they can get away with it. Alcohol is never an excuse for rape.

Alcohol and reporting violence. So what impact does alcohol actually have on sexual violence? One component is physical vulnerability. It's easier to gain control of someone who's drunk. But there's a broader effect to consider. We as a society like to blame survivors for their assault. We say things such as "well you shouldn't have been drunk" and "what did you expect you were acting so irresponsibly." When we tell people this stuff we reinforce the idea that someone's assault is their fault. Guess what? It isn't. A survivor is never responsible for an act of violence committed against them, and when we say otherwise we make it less likely for a survivor to report an assault.

Right now reporting rates of sexual assault in the US are at around 32%. If we continue promoting the idea that someone's intoxication caused their assault, then we're never going to hold perpetrators of violence accountable for their assaults.

Alright that's it for this week. Thanks so much for watching. Don't forget to answer our call to action. We women have been told how to behave for a very long time. It's time to flip the script, tell aggressors how they should behave. You can answer that and share your opinions and answers on social media using the hashtag engageuplift or in the comments down below, and while you're at it why not subscribe, right? Why? Why not?

For more information on Uplift and resources that we named in this video, make sure to check out the description box down below. Thanks for watching, my name is Kat Lazo of the cat's meow til next week. Bye.