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Middle Eastern Female

The biggest cultural shock is the alcohol use

Participant 1: I think alcohol abuse plays a big role in the situation. You know, we are coming from a place where a woman - or a male as well, you know - drinking is not really a good thing to do in our culture, especially for women. So, I think when you first come here, the biggest cultural shock is the alcohol use and, you know, binge drinking, and having sex afterwards. So, I think educating people on alcohol abuse is a key piece. I believe we ignore it because were afraid to talk about the role of alcohol abuse because we don’t want to blame the survivors. We’re not gonna blame the survivors, but I think everyone should be educated about alcohol use, and we can prevent it - most of it - that way.
Participant 2: I wanted to add onto the alcohol thing. I feel like people should be more educated on the fact that alcohol really is not a thing like back home. I know a lot of people who would just react like, "Wow, that guy was really touchy," and then people would just laugh it up, and like, "Oh, that’s okay; he’s drunk." And like, we - even when I came here I didn’t get what that meant. I was like, "Well, that doesn’t give him the excuse to be like that!" And it’s very, very normalized here.


  • Consider how a student's identities might affect their expectations and concerns when accessing supports following a sexual assault, or when involved in a sexual assault investigation.

  • Create and promote avenues for comprehensive consent education.

  • Ensure educational materials and initiatives explore relationships between sexual violence and drugs/alcohol. These materials should be mindful of pressures to over-consume and the fact that some international students are unfamiliar with drinking culture. Ensure and/or highlight the fact that no student who discloses or reports sexual assault will be penalized for substance use related to the incident in question.