NY Mag: Reduce College Rape; Tax Alcohol, Legalize Pot


New York Magazine is propounding a novel solution for the problem of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and rape on campuses: tax alcohol to reduce the consumption of liquor, and legalize pot.

The theory asserts that alcohol is far more likely to catalyze abusive behavior from the instigator and lax resistance on the part of the victims, while pot triggers far less violent crime than alcohol.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 97,000 students are “victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape” every year; roughly four out of five college students drink alcohol, and around 50% of college students exhibit binge drinking. The NIAAA also asserts that there is a “two-way association between alcohol consumption and violent or aggressive behavior.”

Not only does alcohol release the inhibitions of the aggressor, a study from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that 72% of rapes occurred “when the victims were so intoxicated they were unable to consent or refuse.” Meichun Mohler-Kuo, the study’s lead author, stated, “a woman’s chance of being raped is far more pronounced on campuses where the student body as a whole engages in a high rate of binge drinking and when individuals consume a large amount of alcohol.”

A series of studies (Leung and Phelps, 1993; Kenkel and Manning, 1996; Chaloupka et al., 1998; Cook and Moore, 2002) have shown that raising the price of alcohol acts as a deterrent and reduces the amount of alcohol bought, although a study by Chaloupka and Wechsler (1996) found that raising the price of alcohol “is a relatively weak tool for influencing these behaviors among college students, especially males.”

Suggestions offered by New York Magazine abound, including: higher taxes on alcoholic beverages, extra taxes for large purchases such as kegs or handles, implement fees on liquor stores near college campuses, ban the sale of alcohol near schools; charge sororities, fraternities, and social organizations a fee for parties they host, or prevent the social organizations from offering free alcohol.

As far as pot is concerned, New York Magazine quotes the journal Addictive Behaviors: “Alcohol is clearly the drug with the most evidence to support a direct intoxication-violence relationship. Cannabis reduces likelihood of violence during intoxication.”