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Men's Sexual Aggressiveness Not Related to Their Drunkenness

An observation of the night life in Toronto revealed that the amount of alcohol consumed by men had little effect on making advances on women; rather it was the drunkenness of the target that dictated a man's level of aggressiveness.

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Well aware of what he's doing. Shutterstock

By Bryan Le

03/06/14

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When guys get a little too forward at the bar, it's not because they're too drunk to know what they're doing - it's because they know the women they're talking to are drunk.

Researchers from the University of Toronto found that there is no relationship between how drunk a man is and his sexual aggressiveness. The main variable in how aggressive men are is the drunkenness of their target woman.

The researchers hired and trained 140 young men and women as observers, stationing them in bars around Toronto and having them take notes on every act of aggression they observed. Their notes revealed that 25 percent of all incidents involved sexual aggression, and 90 percent of targets of sexual aggression were women being targeted by men. Two-thirds of the physical aggressors touched women without their consent, while 17 percent threatened contact and nine percent verbally harassed their targets.

The study observed that the men were making sexual advances toward these women because these men believed the women were more likely to accept their advances, or be unable to refuse their advances based on how much they had to drink.

Another point noted by the observers was how the bar staff almost never intervened in acts of aggression.  "There should be training for staff on how to intervene," said Kate Graham, the study's lead researcher. "If [a bar] wants to have female patrons, they ought to make it more female friendly."

Women wouldn't accept such advances at school or on the street, she noted, but the behavior appears to get a pass in bars. "There's no reason that women should be touched against their will," Graham said.

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