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Alcohol & Sexual Assault

Many people don’t realize that alcohol is considered the number one date rape drug. It loosens inhibitions, dulls common sense, and, for some people, allows aggressive tendencies to surface. In addition, by law, a person who is under the influence of any substance cannot legally consent to any kind of sexual contact. Sexual acts that take place when a person or persons are under the influence are considered sexual assault. 

Any time a person is away from a secure environment, their risk increases. Add in typical “party” times like spring break, toss in an alcoholic drink or two and there is an increased potential for a problematic situation. This is not just a women’s issue; it can happen to men, too.

Signs that someone may have been given a date rape drug:
Signs include dizziness and/or nausea, memory loss, breathing or motion difficulties, and acting more intoxicated than the amount of alcohol consumed would indicate.

What to do if you (or a friend) have been drugged or raped:
Go to the nearest emergency room or rape crisis center. These services can test for date rape drugs and can also help you with any medical or emotional care that you might need.

How to protect yourself against sexual assault:  

  • Avoid secluded places (which may include being alone with someone in your own room) until you trust the person;
  • Do not spend time alone with someone who makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable. Trust your instincts!
  • Stay sober and aware. If you are around people you don’t know very well, be aware of what is going on around you and try to stay in control of yourself. Also be aware of others’ level of intoxication – you may find yourself guilty of rape if your partner is under the influence and cannot legally consent to sexual contact.
  • Know what you want and make it clear to the people around you.
  • Go out with a group of friends and watch out for each other.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help if you feel threatened.
  • Never leave your drink unattended or drink anything that you did not see opened, made, and/or poured.

For more information, contact counseling services at (864) 503-5195.


Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Campus Life Center, Suite 220 

Contact Us
Sydney Will
Health Educator  

USC Upstate
800 University Way
Spartanburg, SC 29303