Unwanted and unsafe sex most common among drunks and drug users

Sydney, Mar 25 : Unwanted sexual encounters and unsafe sex are rife among drinkers and drug users, a new survey has revealed.

Nearly one in four of the 6605 Australian respondents to the Global Drug Survey said that they had been taken advantage of sexually because they were vulnerable after consuming drugs or alcohol, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Sandra Jones, director of the centre for health initiatives at the University of Wollongong, said many people blame themselves if they have had an unwanted sexual encounter while drunk.

"People think if you were so drunk you can't remember then it's not rape, but it is," she said.

Professor Jones' research among university students in Wollongong found binge drinking was linked to women having negative experiences such as sex they later regretted, rape or unwanted sexual advances.

She said drinking created a dangerous environment for people to socialise in, but many felt they had little other option.

"We find that with young women and young men if you choose not to drink you are effectively choosing not to socialise," she said.

Toby Lea, a research associate at the national centre in HIV social research at the University of NSW, said research had found that sexual assault was reported in up to a third of cases where someone believed their drink had been spiked.

But often the only drug that could be found was alcohol.

About 17 percent of the Australians surveyed said they had been given alcohol or drugs by someone who intended to take advantage of them sexually, and about 3 percent said they had had sex without consent after someone drugged them.

The study is the largest, most up-to-date survey of drug users conducted in Australia but is not a nationally representative sample as respondents chose to take part.

Kypros Kypri, a National Health and Medical Research Council research fellow at the University of Newcastle, has done several studies on the links between alcohol and risky sexual behaviour in students in New Zealand.

His research found the unwanted sexual encounters were just as likely to occur among men as women, and he believed the sexual vulnerability of young men was often overlooked.

Men and women who were homosexual, bisexual, transgender or intersex were more likely to have been taken advantage of, as were younger people.

--ANI (Posted on 25-03-2013)

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