Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

pp 1-4

Date: Latest Version

Alcohol and Rape on College Campuses

  • George B. RichardsonAffiliated withCollege of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, University of Cincinnati Email author 


The association, on and about college campuses, between ethyl alcohol consumption and the use of force or threat of force to achieve penetration of an individual without their consent.


Incidence of aggression, risky sexual behavior, and rape peaks during adolescence and young adulthood. On college campuses, rape has been occasioned by heightened alcohol use, including binge drinking. Consequently, alcohol abuse has been advanced as a possible cause of rape and also a possible instrument with which males are able to more successfully rape females. This brief entry presents an evolutionary perspective on the possible role of alcohol in rape on and about college campuses, attending to potential interactions between the psychoactive effects of alcohol and hypothesized rape and rape avoidance adaptations. Throughout, tentative language is used to describe the nature of the association between alcohol use and rape because no causal effect of the former on the latter has ...

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