Although sexual assault can happen to anyone at any age, the greatest concern is for young people on college campuses and those who go to bars and dance clubs. The term "date rape" is often used for an unwanted sexual experience that experts prefer to call "drug-facilitated sexual assault." Certain drugs are effective in relaxing the victim, sometimes to the point of unconsciousness. However, alcohol is found to be used more often than drugs, mainly because it is more accessible.
Recognizing date rape drugs
The drugs most frequently used to facilitate sexual assault are Rohypnol; GHB, which is short for gamma hydroxybutyric; and Ketamine. These are examples of club drugs, so called because they are frequently used in bars, dance clubs, concerts and raves. Both Rohypnol and GHB can cause the victim to black out. Before that occurs, however, there may be dizziness, problems talking, muscle control issues and nausea, among other reactions. Ketamine can cause an individual to lose sense of time and identity. There may be a dream-like feeling, such as a distorted perception of sight and sound. Like GHB, Ketamine is available as a liquid or a white powder, easy to add to a drink. Rohypnol is a pill, but it dissolves in liquids.
A predator's preference for alcohol
Sexual predators show a marked preference for alcohol. After all, it is readily available, and since drinking is socially acceptable, it will achieve the same results as club drugs. Imbibing alcohol makes clear thinking and good decision-making more difficult. A predator's target under the influence will find it harder to resist sexual advances and fight back if an assault actually occurs.
The problem with delayed reporting
Unfortunately, it is believed that only a small percentage of rapes are actually reported to the authorities. However, it is also true that many victims do not remember being drugged or assaulted until several hours after the attack. By that time, any trace of the drugs they may have been given has likely already left the bloodstream. Drugs will remain in urine longer than in the bloodstream, but if the victim urinates before being examined, any evidence of drugs may be gone.
Support from friends and professionals
Law enforcement professionals say that bystander awareness is essential. They urge people to intervene if they see someone who might be taking advantage of another person who appears to be intoxicated. Keep in mind that drug-facilitated sexual assault, which can include everything from inappropriate touching to actual rape, can be directed at both females and males. Any victim who has been subjected to this kind of attack can seek help from an attorney experienced in handling drug crimes.