It is not uncommon for party venues to turn into a den of date rape drug victims and ignorance to the whole scheme often results in an individual falling into the rape trap.
Date rape is the term for the nonconsensual sexual act done by someone who is socially acquainted or even romantically involved with the victim. According to Dr. Karyl McBride, “Date and marital rape are very psychologically damaging because they impact a trusting relationship and cause the victim to blame him or herself for being involved with that offender in the first place.”
Date Rape Drugs and Their Effects
Date rape drugs are known to lower a person’s inhibitions or defenses so that he or she becomes helplessly susceptible to sexual assaults. There are many types of drugs used for date rape but the most well known are Rohypnol, GHB, or gamma hydroxybutyric acid and Ketamine.
These drugs, often referred to as ‘club drugs,’ come in liquid, tablet or powder forms and are usually slipped into someone’s drinks. The effects are felt in 15 to 30 minutes, some almost immediately, after ingestion.
A victim will usually start feeling drunk despite having consumed little alcohol, and then disorientation will set in, leaving the person confused, dizzy and unable to concentrate. The victim also suffers from memory loss, unable to remember the incident. Some drugs are also known to increase sensuality and can cause difficulty in breathing, hallucinations, nausea, slow heart rate, high blood or low blood pressure, numbness, blackouts, convulsions, and seizures. Date rape drugs, when infused in alcoholic drinks, can potentially be life-threatening due to having a strong anesthetic effect. If these drugs are given at higher dosages, it can actually lead to coma or worse, death.
Better Be Paranoid Than Sorry
So the question is, how can you avoid falling victim to such a heinous scheme?
Discerning if a drink or food offered to you is spiked with a drug commonly used for date rape will be a difficult task since these drugs are often colorless and some do not have any distinguishable smell or taste.
“Along similar lines, avoid taking substances (including drinks) from a person that you do not know,” says Lauren Brande, MA.
Trusting someone you know comes naturally to most people so accepting anything they offer at a social event may be easy. It is advisable, however, to take precaution and turn down anything that is proffered. It will be safer if you get the beverage or food yourself. Should it be necessary for someone else to prepare the drink such as a bartender, you should keep a keen eye during the process. Never leave your drink or food unattended. If you happen to neglect a drink or food even for a short period of time, it is best to dispose of it.
Avoid binge drinking as well. Too much alcohol intake can also put you at risk of being a victim of sexual abuse.
Don’t Panic, Get Help
If you happen to start feeling any of the known effects of date rape drugs, inform a friend or someone you fully trust about the situation immediately and ask to be taken home or to a hospital in case you suffer from severe repercussions. If you are alone, call someone – a relative or a close friend – and tell them your location. It is also advisable that you contact the designated emergency line or number in your area and seek help.
If a friend or companion happens to be the one to show signs of being drugged, do not leave them alone. Call the emergency hotline or bring her or him to the closest hospital and seek medical attention.
Always take precautions and attend events or gatherings with a friend or a relative or a group of people you trust. If you are at a club or any other party venue filled mostly with strangers, it is best to be mindful of the people around you. Do not be a date rape victim. Learn to read situations and remain on constant alert.
“Talking to others in similar situations can be a tremendous source of support,” noted Amy Bellows, Ph.D.