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Keywords:

  • alcohol;
  • physical assault;
  • sexual assault;
  • victims

We examine the effect of alcohol consumption on an individual's risk of victimization for physical and sexual assault. Analyses of the National Violence Against Women Survey suggest that the frequency and amount of alcohol people consume has strong effects on their risk of victimization when drinking, but is not associated with their victimization while sober. This evidence suggests that drinking has a situational causal effect on victimization, and cannot be attributed to opportunity factors associated with drinking. This effect is particularly strong for men and young adults, who may be more likely to behave provocatively when under the influence. Victims of sexual assaults and men assaulted by their female partners are also particularly likely to be drinking.