Alcohol, Drugs and Rape
Alcohol and Rape
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that almost 53 percent of full-time college students ages 18 to 22 drank alcohol in the past month and about 33 percent engaged in binge drinking during that same time frame. In addition, most recent statistics from NIAAA estimate that about 97,000 students ages 18 to 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
The effects of alcohol include impaired judgment and motor coordination, disinhibition, dizziness, confusion, and extreme drowsiness. If enough alcohol is consumed, an individual may lose consciousness or may not remember details of what occurred. Alcohol can also cause the misinterpretation of body language and sexual intent. For example, men may overestimate women’s interest in sexual activity and friendly behavior may be mistaken for sexual intent.
Drugs and Rape
Predatory drugs, often called date rape drugs, are causing increasing concern on college and university campuses. The term predatory drug is used to describe substances such as Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine, drugs commonly used to facilitate rape and other forms of sexual violence. But technically, any substance that is used to prevent you from asserting yourself or your needs is a predatory drug. This includes marijuana, ecstasy, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and alcohol, which is the most commonly used drug to facilitate rape and sexual assault.
Predatory drugs are easily slipped into food and beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. They are very fast acting and render a person incapable of making appropriate decisions. They impair judgment, motor coordination, and the ability to remember details of what happened while the drug was active in the person’s system. This produces a passive victim, one who is aware and able to play a part in what is happening, but who will have no clear memory of events afterward. The use of predatory drugs creates a victim who does not have the opportunity to say no.
Sexual predators rarely use these drugs with the intent of using them safely. It is not likely that a predator has taken the time to measure out a safe dose; therefore one person may feel dizziness or confusion while another person may lapse into a coma.
Predatory drugs are virtually undetectable in food and beverages; most are colorless, odorless, and tasteless. All traces of most predatory drugs leave the body within 72 hours of ingestion. Because of memory loss and the speed at which the drugs metabolize, it can be difficult to make and support a claim that such a drug was used to facilitate sexual violence. Doctors and police have to be looking specifically for them and they have to act quickly.
Signs that you may have been drugged:
You may have been drugged if you wake up very hung over, have a memory lapse or a period of time you cannot account for, remember having a drink but not what happened afterwards, feel as though someone had sex with you, but you can't remember, have unexplainable signs of physical trauma, or you have sensations of drunkenness that do not correspond with the amount of alcohol consumed.
What to do if you think you have been drugged and you want to seek medical assistance:
- Go to a safe place.
- Call someone you trust.
- If you want to seek medical assistance, go to Cookeville Regional Medical Center or other hospital emergency room or call Genesis House Sexual Assault Response Center at 526-5197 or 800-707-5197.
- Request that the clinician take a urine sample for drug toxicology testing. This urine tests is not routine. A special test must be conducted to detect drugs in a urine specimen.
- Preserve as much physical evidence as possible. Do not urinate, shower, bathe, douche, or discard clothing. Try to save other materials that might provide evidence, such as the glass that held your drink.
- Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances of the assault.
- Follow the steps outlined in "If you are the Victim of Sexual Violence"
The above information regarding alcohol and drugs is from the University of Georgia "Sexual Violence, Rape, and You" website. For more information about specific predatory drugs, visit their website.