Intentionality and responsibility in young people’s construction of alcohol intoxicated sexual assault and sexual consent

Evangelia Kousounadi Knountsen, Vibeke Asmussen Frank

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to investigate how notions of intentionality and responsibility influence young people’s construction of sexual assault and sexual consent under the influence of alcohol intoxication. Our sample consisted of 20 young Danes between the ages of 19 and 25. We used vignettes in the form of a short written story depicting an alcohol intoxicated heterosexual sexual interaction, each time varying different contextual factors in the story, asking our participants to comment on them. We conducted a thematic analysis within a Critical Discursive Psychological framework and found three themes that we named ‘(Un-) ambiguous communication of non-consent’, ‘Levels of intoxication, power and responsibility’ and ‘Different types of relationships, different expectations around sex’. Central to those themes were discussions around whether the transgression of sexual boundaries was intentional as well as who was responsible for the sexual assault and/or sexual consent. The participants drew on different and contradicting discourses on gender, sexuality and intoxication situationally to construct intentionality and responsibility, something that revealed that their understanding of sexual assault and sexual consent in drinking environments was situational too.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Journal of Criminology
Volume24
Issue2
Number of pages19
ISSN2578-983X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • alcohol intoxication
  • qualitative research
  • sexual assault
  • sexual consent
  • vignettes
  • young people

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