Home » Blogs » Addiction Matters » The sexual harassment endured by women addicts

The sexual harassment endured by women addicts

While our collective outrage is still focused on sexual harassment, with Kevin Spacey now the target while disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein continues treatment somewhere in Europe for whatever drives him to harass, threaten, intimidate and assault women, I would like to talk about sexual harassment, assault and rape of women addicts and alcoholics.

Our #METOO is different than our clean and sober sisters. Our #METOO carries unfathomable guilt and shame. Many of us have awakened in unfamiliar beds with unfamiliar men not knowing how we got there or what that stranger beside us did to us when we were mentally and physically incapable to making a sane decision or giving consent.

Hey, but that’s OUR fault, right? We are the ones who got too drunk or too high. No one forced us to drink so much or take so many pills or stick a needle in a vein, right? We deserve whatever happened to us, right?

It doesn’t matter that the guy who assaulted, intimidated or raped us was also drunk or high – it’s your damn fault, sister. You can’t just dress like THAT and hang out with guys like THAT and get THAT stoned or drunk and then say “NO!” What did you expect?

Other sisters sold their bodies for drugs. She may have been sober or dope-sick when she did some disgusting act or allowed it to be done to her but I can assure you she did not do it because she had nothing better to do. She needed – not wanted – money to get high. Where is the consent when your brain is literally damaged and hijacked by addiction?

Let’s not forget about rape. Whether we are conscious or unconscious when we are raped we think twice about reporting it. Likely, we won’t because, you know, we asked for it. Besides, who would believe it? Even when there are bruises and blood, that sister knows she will likely be judged by a cop, defense attorney, jury, judge or even the prosecutor. Why would she choose adding that trauma on top of what she has already gone through?

Imagine how difficult it is to get clean and sober with this guilt and shame – especially on top of ther #METOO garden variety sexual harassment that most women endure anyway.

Then, as part of our recovery, we are told we must do sexual inventory – make a list of all the people we have had sexual contact with in our lives. We are ashamed of  our lists. Then, as part of our recovery, we are told we must look at our role in all of those interactions – which can mean reliving the experience. We are told not to look at the role of others involved. Stay on your side of the street. Look at your role.

Men in recovery must do the same. I can’t speak about what they go through. But when you meet a woman in recovery, know that she has withstood this agonizing self-inventory without picking up a drink or drug.

She is strong. So incredibly strong.

The sexual harassment endured by women addicts

Christine Stapleton

Christine Stapleton has been a journalist for 35 years. She is now an investigative reporter for The Palm Beach Post. In 2006, began writing a blog for PsychCentral called Depression on My Mind. Her latest blog, Addiction Matters, draws on her 19 years of sobriety and her coverage of the drug treatment industry in South Florida.

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Stapleton, C. (2017). The sexual harassment endured by women addicts. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 23, 2019, from


Last updated: 3 Nov 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Nov 2017
Published on All rights reserved.