Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault
The last thing your patient remembers was sipping a drink at a party. She tells you she woke up in a strange place with a sense that she has been sexually assaulted. But no matter how hard she tries, she cannot remember exactly what happened. She may be the victim of one of a number of “date rape” drugs.
Sexual Assault - occurs when a person intentionally applies force to another person without consent and sexual activity is involved (Criminal Code section 265). An assault can happen in a variety of settings ie: date rape, partner violence or violence by a stranger (Gribbin, 2004).
Drug-facilitated sexual assault involves substances that are used without consent to render the victim defenseless against a sexual assault (Jamieson, 2001). Whether the victim is unwittingly administered the drug or willingly ingests it for recreational use is irrelevant.
Magnitude of the problem
Most of these crimes either go unrecognized, unreported, unsolved, or unproven (Jamieson, 2001).
An effort to quantify the magnitude of the drug-facilitated sexual assault problem has been impeded by victims’ reluctance or inability to recall, recognize or report an assault in a timely manner (Jamieson, 2001).
Approximately 25% of women report that drugs were a factor in a rape (Weir, 2001; McPherson, 2004).
Adolescent females (16-19 years) and young adult women (20-24 years) are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than women in other age groups. Most frequently, the perpetrator is an acquaintance or date (Rickert, 2002; McPherson, 2004).
It is estimated that approximately 75% of all rapes are date or acquaintance rapes (Anglin, 1997). It is one of the most serious and complicated forms of rape due to complex and controversial social issues.