Researchers from the University of Birmingham have found that survivors of sexual assault are more likely to blame themselves for the incident if they were drunk at the time.
People with higher levels of self-blame indicated they would be less willing to report a rape or assault to the police, found the results of the study, published in scientific journal Aggressive Behaviour.
The study has found that alcohol plays a large role in whether sexual assault survivors will report the crime to the police. It showed that levels of self-blame factored into their decision to report it or not, and these feelings were more likely if the victim was intoxicated at the time of the incident.
The study, which involved 79 women between the ages of 18 and 32, randomly assigned participants to consume alcohol or tonic water, before they engaged in a hypothetical rape scenario. Alcohol expectancy was also manipulated, with half getting the opposite drink to what they were told. This was to measure their feelings of intoxication, as well as actual intoxication.
The researchers found that participants who believed they had consumed alcohol rather than a non-alcoholic beverage engaged in more self-blame. Participants who reported higher levels of self-blame indicated that they would be less willing to report the hypothetical rape to the police.
The research was presented at the British Science Festival by lead author Dr. Heather Flowe from the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Applied Psychology.