Tippeary Rape Crisis Centre has issued a Christmas appeal raising awareness that alcohol consumption can make people vulnerable to sexual violence.
The Clonmel-based centre this week highlighted the importance of staying safe when there are an increased number of social events to attend.
“It is not anyone’s intention to frighten people when they are attending events and socialising, but to raise awareness that alcohol is a powerful drug and can make people vulnerable to sexual violence.
“We need to change our drinking culture, in particular as it relates to sexual activity, in order to make communities safe.,” said Anita Clancy, Manager of the Tipperary Rape Crisis & Counselling Centre.
She has called on people to take into account the dangers that drinking too much alcohol can present to their safety.
“Research has highlighted that the level of alcohol involvement in rape in Ireland is among the highest in the world. Ground breaking research published in 2009 revealed that 70% of victims of rape and 84% of those accused of rape had been drinking at the time of the sexual assault. This research also revealed that acquaintance rape accounts for 75% of rape cases in Ireland.
These high percentages reflect the need for people to be aware that alcohol is a potent drug. Perpetrators may encourage victims drinking in order to incapacitate them, or indeed target people who have been drinking to take advantage of their weakened ability to comprehend and negotiate social interactions,” said Anita Clancy.
The Rape Crisis Centre manager said that both national and local statistics reflect that this can apply to all age groups and pointed out that the Tipperary Rape Crisis & Counselling Service is available to adult survivors, both male and female, of sexual violence and to under eighteen years with a parental or professional referral.
The counselling service is available in the main office at 20 Mary Street, Clonmel and at outreaches in Carrick on Suir, Cashel and Thurles and in Tipperary town by request. If anyone has any questions or requires any further information they can contact Tipperary Rape Crisis & Counselling Centre on Freephone 1800 340 340.
When socialising this Christmas the centre manager has asked people to take steps to stay safe including -
If you are travelling to a night out share taxis and lifts;
If you are travelling alone let someone know what time you expect to arrive;
Look out for each other; try not to get separated from your group;
Make sure your mobile is charged and has credit;
Don’t leave your drink unattended;
Don’t take a drink from someone you don’t know;
If you feel uncomfortable with a person, or in a place, leave as soon as possible;
Monitor your drinking; don’t drink to excess as this can affect your safety;
If you feel really drunk after only a drink or two get help from someone you trust.
Tipperary Rape Crisis & Counselling Centre cxan be contacted at 1800 340 340.