The Transylvania Times -

By John Lanier

Conversation Focuses On Alcohol, Violence - Brevard NC


April 13, 2017

About 40 people attended the “Alcohol, Violence and Sexual Assault – A Community Conversation” presentation held last Thursday evening in the Board of Elections meeting room.

Sponsored by the CARE Coalition and SAFE, the event included a presentation of facts by Brevard College students and breakout sessions, which were led by Brevard Police Chief Phil Harris, Kristin Gentry of the CARE Coalition, Susan Huter and Julie Heaton of SAFE and Debora D’Anna of Brevard College.

“Sexual assault is everyone’s issue,” said Gentry. “It is all of our responsibilities to intervene.”

Brevard College students presented the following statistics and facts:

•88 percent of male college rapists also used drugs or alcohol to incapacitate their victims.

•47 percent of college women who have been raped were unable to resist due to alcohol abuse.

•In Transylvania County in 2014, there were four deaths related to domestic violence.

•In 2015-16 SAFE worked with 263 victims of domestic assault and 85 of sexual assault.

•In 2014, alcohol was the primary drug of choice reported by Transylvania County students in grades 6-12. Of those students, 54 percent reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days, 44 percent smoked marijuana and 20 percent used prescription medications that were not prescribed to them.

•Alcohol affects the ability to communicate clearly and increases one’s aggressiveness.

•There is a “clear positive association” between alcohol consumption and physical and sexual violence against women. The association is stronger when both the male and female have been drinking.

Heaton said she works as a child advocate to build resiliency in youth.

Gentry said that friends are at the “front lines” of preventing sexual assault.

Gentry said friends will take the car keys from a person who is too drunk to drive and the same level of responsibility to intervene should apply to potential sexual assault situations. She said youth need to learn to intervene without having people “lose face.”

Harris said college students and teenagers need to learn from others mistakes.

“We’re trying to give you a leg up on what we’ve learned from experience,” said Harris.

Harris said that whenever a crime occurs there is “almost always” a link to either alcohol or drug use.

“Work on prevention. Think prevention,” said Harris.

In the breakout sessions, Harris and Dr. Tim Powers of Brevard College discussed the law and consent issues.

Discussions in the group led by D’Anna focused on prevention needs at the college, including improved lighting and education about laws for providing and using fake IDs.

Huter discussed some of the services offered by SAFE, including shelter, court assistance and help with children, pets and medical care.

Discussions in the group led by Heaton centered on how children are impacted by abuse.

The discussions led by Gentry focused on how to help a friend, which included tips such as preparing ahead of time with code words or creating distractions so that a potential victim can leave with a friend before an assault occurs.


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