Date Rape and Date Rape Drugs

Did you know that a little over 18% of women and just over 1% of men experience date rape at some point in their lives?

Now you may be thinking what is date rape and how does it differ from other kinds of sexual assault?

Let me explain. The term “date rape” means rape or sexual assault where the perpetrator and victim were either on a date, dating, knew each other or were acquainted in some way. The difference between rape and date rape is that the victim agreed to spend time with the perpetrator. However, the most important thing to note here is that agreeing to a date or having a physical relationship is not the same as consenting to sexual relations with someone.


When does date rape occur?


Date rape can happen in a variety of settings, but it most often occurs when individuals are in the presence of alcohol and other drugs, which is usually in a club or party setting. Sometimes perpetrators use certain drugs known as “date rape drugs” and/or alcohol to take advantage of someone in an intoxicated state in order to force sexual contact.



What are date rape drugs?


Date rape drugs are powerful and generally lead to loss of motor control, confusion, and/or unconsciousness. There are at least 20 different kinds of “date rape drugs” but the most common ones used are called Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, Rohypnol AKA GHB, and roofies.


GHB is a very potent sedative that can cause loss of memory, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. The effects of the drug can start within 15 minutes of administration and last up to 4 hours.

Roofies are also a strong sedative that can cause loss of memories, lack of coordination, and loss of motor control. The effects can begin within 30 minutes of administration and last up to several hours.


Mixing any of these drugs with alcohol can exacerbate the effects of the drug and sometimes even lead to death. The perpetrator may use alcohol as a way to make someone unable to consent, understand what is happening, or remember the assault. They may either pressure the victim to drink more than they normally drink or give them a drink that has the drug in it to take advantage of them. Again, we must remember that if you are unable to give consent for sexual activity, it is illegal no matter how much you had to drink, what drugs were taken, or how old you are.


Here is a list of some steps you can take to ensure your safety in social situations where drugs and alcohol are present:


1. Be aware of drinks in punch bowls and other containers that can be spiked. This is when alcohol or drugs are added to the drink without permission.

2. Don’t accept a drink from other people: If someone offers to get you a drink from a bar or at a party, go with the person to order your drink. Watch your drink as it is poured and carry it yourself.

3. Open your drink yourself and keep control of it at all times.

4. Don’t drink anything that smells or tastes strange.

5. Don’t drink more than you want to.

6. If you feel drunk and haven’t had any alcohol or if you feel like the effects of drinking alcohol are stronger than usual, find a friend who can help you get to a safe place.

7. Look out for your friends and ask them to look out for you.

8. If you think someone has drugged you or a friend, call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room.


Although these steps can help you be aware of your surroundings and a possible perpetrator, it is important to note that date rape or any type of sexual assault is never your fault. Responsibility for any type of sexual activity without consent lies solely with the perpetrator.



Check out this invention that has been made to help individuals detect if their drinks have been spiked. The goal of this invention is to help others stay safe and lower the rates of date rape in our community.



Written By: Dayna

References:

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/4538-rape-and-date-rape

https://www.projectknow.com/teen/date-rape-and-sexual-assault/

https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/date-rape-drugs

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