“Date” rape


A close friend of mine was assaulted just recently. She was at a bar with some friends and was chatting with some guys. One of the men lived in the condo complex where they were staying so he walked them back. Her drunk friends insisted that she go say goodbye to this “good Samaritan.” At this point she was feeling more high than inebriated but he seemed nice enough. He swooped her into an elevator and started kissing her. She  didn’t know how to respond in her haze. She asked to go find her friends but he insisted they go to his place first to let out his dog. Once there he began to take advantage of her incapacitated state. Her memory of the whole incident is sporadic and in pieces but she remembers how badly she wanted to get back to her friends.

As she slowly recounted the details, she realized the gravity of her encounter. It wasn’t mutual. She was potentially drugged but more importantly she was definitely taken advantage of by this man. The idea was devastating. I cried. She cried. I knew what that was like. I had been a victim in college and then on a first date a few years later. Fortunately I was never “fully” raped, rather I was forced to “perform a favor.” I relented in favor of not being rude. Can you imagine? I kept saying no and trying to get away just to be held against your will until you say yes? I felt so ashamed. So defeated. I could only imagine what my beautiful friend must have felt. It seared my heart.

I write all this to those who have had it happen to them in some form or another. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. I had to tell her that a few times. I had to remind her that a flirty personality should not equate to an open invitation to sex. I never told anyone for a very long time about what happened to me because I assumed I just led him on too much. Now that I’m older, I know better. If someone says “Stop” or “No”, it means “Stop” and “No.” How does that get lost in translation? How is it, in society, the victim feels the remorse more so than the perpetrator? Their character falls under scrutiny including from themselves. Sometimes we are more detrimental to our own health than the person who inflicted the first blow. Like an animal who licks their wound till it is raw, we revisit our pain, never quite letting it go.

I only return to it now in empathy to my friend. I touch upon it and feel the emotional scar where once I was wounded but that is it. Staying lost in that moment holds no growth for me. It does not feed my soul or wake my spirit, so it is a place I rarely visit and never stay. I hope that once the intial impact of her ordeal has been digested, she will start to walk away from that place with her head held high. She deserves to be happy as do we all.

So if you had a traumatic experience, give it the solemn honor that it deserves and give yourself time to heal. You cannot walk out of intensive surgery without a solid amount of recovery time. You cannot walk out of an emotional explosion unwounded. Take your time to heal, lick your wounds at first but then tend to them only as needed, don’t obsess over them. Tend to yourself. Love yourself. Take care of the scar that forms and honor the battle you went through to get it. I know this all sounds so simple when typed neatly on a blog and it feels far reaching when the wounds are still fresh or have never been addressed. I get it. But what ever happened to you, has happened to someone else. It’s how you recover that counts.

As my good friend would say, “Take baby steps.” It’s ok to be sad for this moment, but it becomes sadder when it envelopes your entire life. I look at each day as this beautiful gift. Your life might be inextricably tied to someone you don’t know about yet. You may be the key that unlocks their new world and you don’t even know it. You may be the teacher that shows that one child what a genuine person truly is. You may be the best friend who unknowingly talks a loved one away from ending it all. Your actions, including your love for yourself and others exudes like a salve that heals as it’s absorbed by those around you. Your health and well being is just as important to the people in your life as it is to you.

So please, if you have gone through a traumatic experience, don’t let it fester. Talk about it, journal about it, seek a therapist and get it out of your head. The longer you hold on to it, the harder it is to let go. I am learning now, that the more I am upfront with my feelings, the easier life seems to be. Why is it so scary to speak the truth? Why is it so hard to show the wound when it’s even harder to swallow back the pain? I don’t know. What I do know is that when you do finally let it go, you take the control back and the world gets a little bit brighter.

Here’s some info on date rape drugs and prevention:

Found on womenshealth.gov

What do the drugs look like?

  • Rohypnol comes as a pill that dissolves in liquids. Some are small, round, and white. Newer pills are oval and green-gray in color. When slipped into a drink, a dye in these new pills makes clear liquids turn bright blue and dark drinks turn cloudy. But this color change might be hard to see in a dark drink, like cola or dark beer, or in a dark room. Also, the pills with no dye are still available. The pills may be ground up into a powder.
  • GHB has a few forms: a liquid with no odor or color, white powder, and pill. It might give your drink a slightly salty taste. Mixing it with a sweet drink, such as fruit juice, can mask the salty taste.
  • Ketamine comes as a liquid and a white powder.

 

What effects do these drugs have on the body?

These drugs are very powerful. They can affect you very quickly and without your knowing. The length of time that the effects last varies. It depends on how much of the drug is taken and if the drug is mixed with other drugs or alcohol. Alcohol makes the drugs even stronger and can cause serious health problems — even death.

Rohypnol

The effects of Rohypnol can be felt within 30 minutes of being drugged and can last for several hours. If you are drugged, you might look and act like someone who is drunk. You might have trouble standing. Your speech might be slurred. Or you might pass out. Rohypnol can cause these problems:

  • Muscle relaxation or loss of muscle control
  • Difficulty with motor movements
  • Drunk feeling
  • Problems talking
  • Nausea
  • Can’t remember what happened while drugged
  • Loss of consciousness (black out)
  • Confusion
  • Problems seeing
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Stomach problems
  • Death

GHB

GHB takes effect in about 15 minutes and can last 3 or 4 hours. It is very potent: A very small amount can have a big effect. So it’s easy to overdose on GHB. Most GHB is made by people in home or street “labs.” So, you don’t know what’s in it or how it will affect you. GHB can cause these problems:

  • Relaxation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Problems seeing
  • Loss of consciousness (black out)
  • Seizures
  • Can’t remember what happened while drugged
  • Problems breathing
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Slow heart rate
  • Dream-like feeling
  • Coma
  • Death

Ketamine

Ketamine is very fast-acting. You might be aware of what is happening to you, but unable to move. It also causes memory problems. Later, you might not be able to remember what happened while you were drugged. Ketamine can cause these problems:

  • Distorted perceptions of sight and sound
  • Lost sense of time and identity
  • Out of body experiences
  • Dream-like feeling
  • Feeling out of control
  • Impaired motor function
  • Problems breathing
  • Convulsions
  • Vomiting
  • Memory problems
  • Numbness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Slurred speech

 

Are these drugs legal in the United States?

Some of these drugs are legal when lawfully used for medical purposes. But that doesn’t mean they are safe. These drugs are powerful and can hurt you. They should only be used under a doctor’s care and order.

  • Rohypnol is not legal in the United States. It is legal in Europe and Mexico, where it is prescribed for sleep problems and to assist anesthesia before surgery. It is brought into the United States illegally.
  • Ketamine is legal in the United States for use as an anesthetic for humans and animals. It is mostly used on animals. Veterinary clinics are robbed for their ketamine supplies.
  • GHB was recently made legal in the United States to treat problems from narcolepsy (a sleep disorder). Distribution of GHB for this purpose is tightly restricted.

 

Is alcohol a date rape drug? What about other drugs?

Any drug that can affect judgment and behavior can put a person at risk for unwanted or risky sexual activity. Alcohol is one such drug. In fact, alcohol is the drug most commonly used to help commit sexual assault. When a person drinks too much alcohol:

  • It’s harder to think clearly.
  • It’s harder to set limits and make good choices.
  • It’s harder to tell when a situation could be dangerous.
  • It’s harder to say “no” to sexual advances.
  • It’s harder to fight back if a sexual assault occurs.
  • It’s possible to blackout and to have memory loss.

The club drug “ecstasy” (MDMA) has been used to commit sexual assault. It can be slipped into someone’s drink without the person’s knowledge. Also, a person who willingly takes ecstasy is at greater risk of sexual assault. Ecstasy can make a person feel “lovey-dovey” towards others. It also can lower a person’s ability to give reasoned consent. Once under the drug’s influence, a person is less able to sense danger or to resist a sexual assault.

Even if a victim of sexual assault drank alcohol or willingly took drugs, the victim is not at fault for being assaulted. You cannot “ask for it” or cause it to happen.

 

How can I protect myself from being a victim?

  • 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 the drink being poured and carry it yourself.
  • Don’t drink anything that tastes or smells strange. Sometimes, GHB tastes salty.
  • Have a nondrinking friend with you to make sure nothing happens.
  • If you realize you left your drink unattended, pour it out.
  • If you feel drunk and haven’t drunk any alcohol — or, if you feel like the effects of drinking alcohol are stronger than usual — get help right away.

 

Are there ways to tell if I might have been drugged and raped?

It is often hard to tell. Most victims don’t remember being drugged or assaulted. The victim might not be aware of the attack until 8 or 12 hours after it occurred. These drugs also leave the body very quickly. Once a victim gets help, there might be no proof that drugs were involved in the attack. But there are some signs that you might have been drugged:

  • You feel drunk and haven’t drunk any alcohol — or, you feel like the effects of drinking alcohol are stronger than usual.
  • You wake up feeling very hung over and disoriented or having no memory of a period of time.
  • You remember having a drink, but cannot recall anything after that.
  • You find that your clothes are torn or not on right.
  • You feel like you had sex, but you cannot remember it.

 

What should I do if I think I’ve been drugged and raped?

  • Get medical care right away. Call 911 or have a trusted friend take you to a hospital emergency room. Don’t urinate, douche, bathe, brush your teeth, wash your hands, change clothes, or eat or drink before you go. These things may give evidence of the rape. The hospital will use a “rape kit” to collect evidence.
  • Call the police from the hospital. Tell the police exactly what you remember. Be honest about all your activities. Remember, nothing you did — including drinking alcohol or doing drugs — can justify rape.
  • Ask the hospital to take a urine (pee) sample that can be used to test for date rape drugs. The drugs leave your system quickly. Rohypnol stays in the body for several hours, and can be detected in the urine up to 72 hours after taking it. GHB leaves the body in 12 hours. Don’t urinate before going to the hospital.
  • Don’t pick up or clean up where you think the assault might have occurred. There could be evidence left behind — such as on a drinking glass or bed sheets.
  • Get counseling and treatment. Feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are normal. A counselor can help you work through these emotions and begin the healing process. Calling a crisis center or a hotline is a good place to start. One national hotline is the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE.

 

More information on date rape drugs

For more information about date rape drugs, call womenshealth.gov at 800-994-9662 (TDD: 888-220-5446) or contact the following organizations:

 

Share this information!

This information is on the womenshealth.gov website. It is provided by the U.S. federal government and is in the public domain. This public information is not copyrighted and may be reproduced without permission, though citation of each source is appreciated.

 

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