Several years ago a girl who worked for me (and whom I considered a friend) was raped. She was drugged then raped by a group of fraternity guys. Several weeks later she committed suicide. Though it’s been years, I try as best I can to bring awareness to the subject of date rate or “drug induced” sexual assault, in hopes that it may help prevent another tragedy.
In a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in spring of 2008 they found, 20% to 25% of women in college reported experiencing an attempted or a completed rape in college. Even more scary than the actual statistics is the fact that less than half of all rapes are reported. The use of drugs such as Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine are on the increase. These drugs are often used to assist in a sexual assaul; They are powerful and extremely dangerous. Often time they are slipped into your drink. You have no way of knowing this because they have no color, smell or taste. They work quickly and in most cases render a victim helpless. You become weak, confused, and in lots of cases lose consciousness. The drugs prevent you from refusing sex or being able to defend yourself. Afterward a victim may not be able to remember what happened to them. These drugs can and have resulted in death, the chance increases greatly when mixed with alcohol.
Rohypnol is probably the most popular date rape drug. It works very quickly, usually within 30 minutes. Someone drugged with Rohypnol looks a lot like someone who is really drunk. Someone who has trouble keeping their balance and/or their speech is slurred may be a victim. It is very hard to tell, because these symptoms are common among those who have had too much alcohol to drink, marijuana or a slew of other drugs could cause these exact symptoms. So what should you look for? Awareness and common sense are keys. Things to look for:
- Does this person drink heavily? Are they prone to having too much alcohol?
- Do they take or experiment with any type of drugs
- Evaluate the present situation, how much have they had to drink TODAY? How much in the last hour?
- Did they meet someone new TODAY? Did they begin to exhibit these symptoms after coming in contact with this person(s)?
- Is the new person attempting to “take care” of the victim? Are they trying to leave with them?
These are just a few “common sense” type questions and observations you need to make. If any of them don’t seem right or your “gut” is telling you something is wrong call 911 right away. Do not let the victim out of your sight until help arrives.
Some other common sense things that could save your life:
- Don’t accept drinks from other people.
- Open containers yourself.
- Keep your drink with you at all times, even when you go to the bathroom.
- Don’t share drinks.
- Don’t drink from punch bowls or other common, open containers. They may already have drugs in them.
- If someone offers to get you a drink from a bar or at a party, go with the person to order your drink. Watch it being poured and carry it back yourself
- If a drink tastes or smells different don’t drink it. Sometimes GHB tastes “salty”.
- Use the designated driver approach, or a sober friend. That person is responsible for making sure that nothing happens and that you return back home the same way you came
- If you feel drunk and have not had alcohol, or you feel like the alcohol effects are much more intense, seek help right away.
I encourage you to review and put into practice the tips listed above. In my opinion the best and most effective way to prevent this sort of drugging is to ALWAYS use the “buddy” system. Go places in groups, if it is a night out and alcohol or drugs will be present someone in the group must be the designated “sober person”. Talk about it with your friends, co-workers, sorority sisters, or whoever. Plan your outing, know the who, what, when, where and why. Remember if things don’t seem right they probably aren’t, go with your “gut” and summon help immediately if you suspect foul play. You may stop a date rape or save a life!
Resources: For more information on date rape drugs, please call womenshealth.gov at 1-800-994-9662 or contact the following organizations:
Drug Enforcement Administration,
Phone: (202) 307-1000
Internet Address: http://www.usdoj.gov/dea
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
Phone: (800) 656-4673 (656-HOPE)
Internet Address: http://www.rainn.org
National Center for Victims of Crime
Phone: (800) 394-2255
Internet Address: http://www.ncvc.org/nvc
Men Can Stop Rape
Phone: (202) 265-6530
Internet Address: http://www.mencanstoprape.org