We Loathe: The Alcohol Excuse

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy holidays as much as the next person, but St. Patrick’s Day is one of the only holidays based on binge drinking (besides Purim and the U.S.’s debased version of Cinco de Mayo). It’s hard to get behind a holiday that potentially increases the risk of violence and sexual assault. Obviously alcohol isn’t solely to blame, but its constant presence in rape and assault cases is undeniable. Here are some notable statistics that link alcohol to violence:

  • One study found that 70% of women and 80% of men had been drinking when a sexual assault occurred.
  • Two-thirds of victims of intimate partner violence reported that alcohol was involved in the incident.
  • In one study of interpersonal violence, men had been drinking in an estimated 45 percent of cases and women had been drinking in 20 percent of cases.
  • Women whose partners abused alcohol were 3.6 times more likely than other women to be assaulted by their partners.
  • An estimated 480,000 children are mistreated each year by a caretaker with alcohol problems.

There is no excuse for violence and sexual assault, but the reality is that alcohol increases probability. Be safe, have fun, get down and send cute animal photos to eshultz@msmagazine.com.

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/p22earl/ / CC BY 2.0


  1. Good call Erica.

  2. Absolutely true! I wonder what that old Roman-Irish fellow Padraig would think of the binging and abusing done in his honour?

  3. This is a great concept! I’ve been tweeting all day about St Patrick and the coming of patriarchy to Ireland… and I’m half Irish!

    We have a campaign around Drug and Alcohol Facilitated Sexual Assault; volunteers have been taking coasters to bars with the message: Keep the vibe, fight the crime, and predators ruin it for everyone. Check it out! http://www.SafeVibe.com, and we’ve also blogged about it on Hello Cool World.

  4. I’m not sure a cultural celebration is an appropriate vehicle through which to talk about alcohol and rape in such a parred down, overly simplistic way. Surely you don’t hold St. Patrick’s Day responsible for rape. While I appreciate the anti-rape sentiment, the execution is a bit off here. Drinking doesn’t *cause* rape. Rapists cause rape. And blaming alcohol or St. Patrick’s Day (ironically) for rape does exactly what you seem to want to avoid: provide legitimacy to a poor excuse.

  5. I actually made a point of NOT blaming acohol for the actions of others. I’m just highlighting the undeniable correlation between acohol and abuse.

  6. E.S. Mitchell says:

    Thanks for the important article, Erica. Too many people think excessive drinking is a fun form or relaxation while, all too often, it results in violence and harm to those he/she encounters, usually a loved one.

    To the writer who criticized the author’s use of St. Patrick’s Day as unfair, what else is this day remembered for but green beer and excessive alcoholic intake?

  7. Erica: No, you made a point to not “solely” blame alcohol. The implication being that there is *some* blame to be placed on drinking itself.

  8. Alcohol abuse is a factor in many, many, many social ills and it never hurts to alert the public to the ever so sobering stats you lay out Erica–as they say down under, “Good on ya.”

  9. it is quite difficult to recover from Alcohol Abuse because alcohol is also very addictive just like Cigarettes and drugs.,’~


  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by msmagazine: Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced!, or, The Grossest Thing About St. Patty’s Day.http://bit.ly/9HtA07

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