Alcohol use, just like sex, is a taboo topic among some Christians.
Do you know the old joke about three truths? Jewish people don’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah; Protestants don’t recognize the Pope as leader of the Christian faith; and Baptists don’t recognize each other in the liquor store.
That reference is in no way meant to offend, but to say, alcohol is consumed by Christians. Let’s talk about alcohol and it’s effects on sexual situations, especially where it concerns our young college-aged adults.
“It is noteworthy that large concentrations of young women come into contact with young men in a variety of public and private settings at various times on college campuses. Previous research suggests that these women are at greater risk for rape and other forms of sexual assault than women in the general population or in a comparable age group,” writes Walter DeKeseredy and Katharine Kelly in “The Incidence and Prevalence of Women Abuse in Canadian University and College Dating Relationships,” Canadian Journal of Sociology 18 (1993): 137-59; Fisher et al.
Antonia Abbey of Wayne State University in her paper, “Alcohol-Related Sexual Assualt,” states, “Sexual assault is extremely common among college students. At least half of these sexual assaults involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, the victim and both.”
I am glad our government is trying to raise awareness of sexual assault on college campuses to protect our young women and men (1 in 71 men are sexually assaulted according to the White House’s most recent report on sexual assault).
However, the ultimate source of influence on the college-aged population are parents and mentors, not the government or the judicial system.
Even if a parents’ personal ethics says total abstinence from alcohol, there is a good chance their child is going to consume alcohol at some point. Being blind to this or treating this possibility with an extreme negative reaction will not help counter the growing number of alcohol-related sexual assaults on college campuses.
On the other hand, there are those parents who are alcoholics and are not mentoring the most responsible way to drink.
Part of the answer to reducing alcohol-related sexual assaults is to have a discussion about alcohol with the young people in your life. Whether they are your biological child or not, ask them to be aware of the dangers of alcohol in college social settings. Read this fact sheet from the University of Illinois.
Young women and young men need candid conversations about the statistics and how their behavior can be influenced in a negative way, lack of inhibition and greater aggression.
Children 18-22 are in a transitional stage, testing the limits of their adult selves. Part of mentoring about alcohol is helping them see self-control is wisdom, not meant to dampen their fun but to increase their happiness in the long run.
I embarrassed my college-aged son not long ago. He had brought a female friend to our house because she was too intoxicated to drive home. The next morning, while he went to class, she and I had a friendly chat over coffee. I boldly took the conversation to alcohol and sex as I have done with my own sons in the past. I bluntly stated alcohol leads to poor sexual choices. I talked about moderation and watching where and when you drink. She stared at me like a deer in the headlights. She later told my son, “Wow, your mom likes to have some deep conversations.” I wouldn’t have called the conversation deep, but maybe uncomfortable. I tried hard to exude warmth and neutrality. I told her I wanted to keep her safe and wanted her to think about these things to protect herself.
I don’t always seize the day when it comes to mentoring our younger generation. In this instance, I would have had to have been blind not to see God placed her in my radar for a reason.
What is the one way you can help prevent sexual assault on college campuses? Start the conversation with a young person in your life today.