The idea that alcohol and violent assault are linked is nothing new. In fact, sometimes alcohol is blamed for incidents of assault in which it was not present, or did not play a contributing role. This is sometimes the case, for example, in the event of domestic violence: Assault is blamed on the effects of alcohol, rather than a deep-seated issue within the partner him or herself. In fact, there are several studies that call alcohol the most common “date rape drug,” because while a person may decide to drink, if she consumes more than was planning or more than she can handle, the chance of unwanted sexual assault or contact can increase. Yet the rate of assault of a non-sexual nature seems to be linked to alcohol as well. This is due in part to the commonly-known side effect of alcohol to make a person more violent and less able to control his or her emotions.
A large number of convicted offenders admit to having been under the influence of alcohol when he or she committed the crime. Out of more than 5 million convicted offenders who were recently surveyed, nearly 2 million (more than 35 percent) report having been drinking or drunk when the crime was committed. An example of this is the common bar fight. While bar fights may have been romanticized throughout history (think Old West saloons), assaulting someone at a bar while drinking can have very serious consequences that may go on a person’s permanent record.
The statistics around bar fights find that not every person is at the same level of risk for being involved in such an incident: Bar fights happen in darker, dirtier bars involving people who are heavy drinkers and usually unhappy to begin with. They also tend to happen in establishments in which there is a competitive game present (such as darts or pool), and in places in which there are more male employees/bartenders than female. Women, however, are not immune to the bar fight trap—it was determined that the women involved in bar fights had had roughly more than four drinks more than usual, meaning that their involvement in such an incident precluding excessive binge drinking at a higher rate than men.