Sexuality and U
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Sexual Health

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Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault

Picture it. You wake up. You’re naked. You have a pounding headache, aching muscles, and you can’t remember anything from last night. One minute you and some friends are getting a ride to a party, the next you’re waking up here, on a stranger’s bed in a room you’ve never even seen before.

You search around in the dark for a minute or so, and piece-by-piece you find the clothes you were wearing last night. You quickly pull on your underwear and jeans, and are about to throw on your top when you notice something’s wrong. There’s a long tear stretching down from the neckline of your shirt. For a minute, you just sit there in confusion - what the heck happened last night?

Then, a spark fires in your brain. You remember something from the night before that makes your skin crawl, and in a single instant, your life is changed forever. You’re not sure, but you think you’ve been raped.

This is drug-facilitated sexual assault, and no one’s really sure how often it happens. This sexual assault can be anything from unwanted kissing or touching to full-blown rape. Obviously, rape is worse than an unwanted kiss or touch, but all sexual assaults are serious crimes.

Often known as “drug rape” or “date rape”, drug facilitated sexual assault is when a perpetrator administers a drug to a victim so that the person has less ability to resist a sexual assault or remember it afterwards.

It has been estimated that about a quarter of sexual assaults reported to police involve drugs such as Rohypnol or GBH. Because they are usually odourless and tasteless, these drugs can be mixed into a victim’s drink without the person knowing. Among the effects of these drugs is that they can make the person who has consumed them feel and act drunk even if they have consumed little or no alcohol.  Other effects include feeling confused, disorientated, light headed, drowsy, physically uncoordinated or paralyzed. Often the victim has little or no memory of what occurred after ingesting the drug.