Alcohol consumption has become part of our leisure activities. Is this fact 'good' or 'bad'? It is hard to judge. When we drink alcohol in moderation it can help loosen up our bodies, slightly reduce pressures, add color and intensify our feelings in a nice manner.
The transition from positive alcohol consumption, which we can enjoy, and negative alcohol consumption, which can hurt us, can be a very fine line. If we become intoxicated and lose our senses, the point in time when things become foggy and we lose the ability to distinguish between good and bad – this is the exact moment where alcohol is no longer a fun, healthy and enjoyable outlet, but rather a tool that acts against us.
The tragic story of a twenty-year-old woman who was having fun in a club, became intoxicated and was raped in front of the club crowd is well described in this article in Maariv. This is a difficult and extreme case that we will still learn about with respect to the responsibility of club owners and party-goers. However, this is only one case that was brought to the public's attention because it is an extraordinary one. Unfortunately, there are many cases of women and teenage girls who experienced a sexual assault when they were under the influence of a great amount of alcohol. This is not to say that we should stop drinking and having fun, it only means that we need to remind ourselves of the warning signs that we need to pay attention to. Here are some important things we should remember:
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eat something before you go out.
- Drink only an amount that allows you to control your body and does not make you feel physically weak.
- If you are going out with friends, take care of one another. Don’t let a friend reach a state in which she loses her senses, and certainly do not let her to go with any men if she is in that state.
- Someone ordered a drink for you? Cool. You can say thank you politely, but you do not have to drink it. Only you decide how much to drink. If you do not drink, that does not mean that you are not cool or that you are not easy-going, it only means you are looking out for yourself.
- If you have consensual sex while under the influence of alcohol, you may be more inclined to forego using a condom and thus expose yourself to sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.
According to the law, alcohol is permissible from the age of 18. Drugs are illegal for everyone; however, the risks of drug use are identical to the risks of alcohol use. Both drugs that are identified as "easy", such as marijuana, and drugs that are identified as "hard", such as LSD or heroine, may make you more vulnerable or defenseless.
In the last few years there has been an increase in the awareness of sexual vulnerability in Israel and an increase in studying the damages caused to the victims. The aid center for victims of sexual assault reports that studies indicate that one out of every four girls and one out of every six boys may be sexually assaulted once before the age of 18 (http://www.1202.org.il).
Sexual assault of teenagers is common in all levels of society, without any difference based on social status, religion or nationality. If you are a victim of sexual assault, rape or incest, ask for help. It is not your fault. As part of a series of first responses for victims of sexual assault in Israel, we recommend having a complete exam to test for sexually transmitted diseases at the Levinsky Center, The Clinic's doctors, team, social workers and other members of the staff will provide you with sensitive and professional services and will accompany you for additional treatment or services in accordance with your case.
Below are toll-free telephone numbers of aid centers for victims of sexual assault:
Telephone number to assist women: 1202
Telephone number to assist men: 1203