The prevalence of sexual assault, both involving and not involving alcohol use, cannot be accurately determined, because it is usually unreported.

Estimates of sexual assault prevalence have been based on a variety of sources, including police reports, national random samples of crime victims, interviews with incarcerated rapists, interviews with victims who seek hospital treatment, general population surveys of women, and surveys of male and female college students (Crowell and Burgess 1996).

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that is, when one of them is drinking, the other one is generally drinking as well (Abbey et al. However, this finding complicates researchers’ efforts to disentangle the unique effects of alcohol consumption on the perpetrators’ versus the victims’ behavior.

Sexual assault occurs most commonly among women in late adolescence and early adulthood, although infants, as well as women in their 80s, have been raped (Crowell and Burgess 1996).

The woman, who believes that she has clearly emphasized her nonconsent, tries to resist through reasoning and by physically struggling (Koss 1988).

In a representative community sample, the typical sexual assault scenario involved a woman who was assaulted by a single assailant who was either an acquaintance or a friend and who used both verbal and physical pressure, which the woman tried to resist (Sorenson et al. Although alcohol-involved and non-alcohol-involved sexual assaults share many characteristics, some differences exist.

At least 80 percent of sexual assaults occur among persons who know each other (Crowell and Burgess 1996).

Several studies in various populations have attempted to identify “typical” characteristics of sexual assault.

A., are research assistants in the Department of Community Medicine and doctoral students in the Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, Michigan. Abbey from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Despite advances in researchers’ understanding of the relationships between alcohol consumption and sexual assault, many questions still need to be addressed in future studies.

Most sexual assaults that are reported to the police occur between strangers.