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Medical News and Perspectives
August 2, 2006

Rape at US Colleges Often Fueled by Alcohol

JAMA. 2006;296(5):504-505. doi:10.1001/jama.296.5.504

A change in Wisconsin state law long sought by activists seeking stronger legal sanctions against alcohol-related sexual assaults will help make assailants who use alcohol to facilitate rape accountable for their actions. The law, which took effect in June 2006, allows prosecutors to argue that a woman may have been incapable of consenting to sex while she was under the influence of alcohol, an argument already permitted for intoxication by other drugs used far less commonly to facilitate rape. A person convicted of rape under the new law faces a fine of $100 000 and a prison term of up to 25 years. Rape prevention advocates in Wisconsin, the 50th state to enact such a law, say the change acknowledges that rapists often use alcohol to justify their actions.

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