An innovative approach towards the holistic and multidisciplinary study of the victimization of women by drug-facilitated sexual assault has been developed. This phenomenon constitutes a significant problem given the narrowing of the gender gap in drug use over the last few decades and the widespread presence of psychoactive substances worldwide. As violence against women and drug misuse intersect in this phenomenon, this intersectional nature emphasizes the need for a novel approach that enables us to go beyond the studies carried out to date.
Sexual violence is a universal phenomenon without restriction to sex, age, ethnicity or social class that causes devastating effects in the physical and mental health spheres, in the short-term and long-term, such as pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STI) and greater susceptibility to psychiatric symptoms, especially depression. Some cases of sexual assault and rape are based on the use of so-called drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA), which cause victims’ loss of consciousness and inability to defend, making them vulnerable to violence.
Men are more likely than women to perpetrate nearly all types of interpersonal violence (e.g. intimate partner violence, murder, assault, rape). While public health programs target prevention efforts for each type of violence, there are rarely efforts that approach the prevention of violence holistically and attempt to tackle its common root causes. Drawing upon theories that explain the drivers of violence, we examine how gender norms, including norms and social constructions of masculinity, are at the root of most physical violence perpetration by men against women and against other men.