Its been all over the Internet. Stories of local girls
who have gone to popular night-clubs and ended up drugged,
raped and left in their cars, club parking lots or in bathroom
These victims of acquaintance or date rape fall prey to
the tricks employed by men with whom they go out.
With the party season at full speed, WomanWise takes a look
at some of the things women and girls need to be aware of
when having a night out on the town.
Date rape drugs
These are drugs that are sometimes used to assist a sexual
assault. Sexual assault is any type of sexual activity to
which a person does not consent. It can include inappropriate
touching, vaginal penetration, sexual intercourse, rape,
and attempted rape.
Because of the effects of these drugs, victims may be physically
helpless, unable to refuse sex, and cant remember
what happened. The drugs often have no colour, smell, or
taste and are easily added to flavoured drinks without the
victims knowledge. There are at least three date rape
* GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric acid)
* Rohypnol (flunitrazepam)
* Ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride)
NB: Another popular rave scene drug of choice,
is ecstasy is also classed as a date rape drug by some experts.
What do the drugs look like?
* GHB has a few forms: a liquid with no odour or colour,
white powder, and pill.
* Rohypnol is a pill and dissolves in liquids. New pills
turn blue when added to liquids. However, the old pills,
with no colour, are still available.
* Ketamine is a white powder.
Why do these drugs make effective date rape drugs?
* Date rape drugs are virtually undetectable; they are tasteless,
odourless and colourless.
All traces of the drugs are excreted within 72 hours of
ingestion and are not found in any routine toxicology screen
or blood test. Specific tests must be conducted in order
identify the drug.
* Date rape drugs are easily slipped into drinks and food
and are very fast acting. They render the victim unconscious
but responsive with little or no memory of what happens
while the drug is active in their system.
* The drugs also make the victim act without inhibition,
often in a sexual or physically affectionate way.
* Like most drugs, date rape drugs render a person incapable
of thinking clearly or of making responsible decisions.
This makes for a very passive victim. Without any memory
of events, the victim is often unaware that they have even
been raped, and if they are aware or have suspicions, they
make very poor witnesses.
How you can protect yourself
* Dont accept open drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic)
from others who you do not know or do not trust; this includes
drinks that come in glasses.
* When in bars or clubs, always get your drink directly
from the bartender and do not take your eyes off the bartender
or your order; dont use the waitress or let somebody
go to the bar for you.
* At parties, only accept drinks in closed containers: bottles,
cans or tetra packs.
* Never leave your drink unattended or turn your back on
* Do not drink from open beverage sources like punch bowls,
pitchers or tubs.
* Keep your eyes and ears open; if there is talk of date
rape drugs or if friends seem too intoxicated
for what they have taken, leave the party or club immediately
and dont go back.Signs and symptoms of being drugged...
* You feel a lot more intoxicated than your usual response
to the amount of alcohol you consumed. Or you feel intoxicated
and you consumed only non-alcoholic beverages.
* You wake up feeling confused, experiencing memory lapse
and cannot account for a period of time.
* You wake up in a hotel room or in a strangers apartment
* You took a drink but cant remember what happened
to you after you drank it. You feel that someone had sex
with you, but you cant remember any or all of the
* You have unexplainable bruises or soreness on your genital
area, thighs, or wrists.
How to cope, if it happens to you...
* Tell someone you trust.
* Get medical attention as soon as possible. Get tested
for STDs and do take a pregnacy test, as knowledge gives
you the power to make further decisions.
* Try to collect a urine sample in a clean container during
the first 24 hours after the assault. (This may be your
only evidence linking the drug to the crime as the
drug will show up in your urine.)
* Dont destroy any of the evidence by showering or
* Report the incident to the police, your local rape crisis
centre, or the hospital emergency department.
* Talk to a counsellor for support. Your emotional and physical
health is important.
* Believe in yourself. No one invites, causes or deserves
to be sexually assaulted. What happened to you is a criminal
offence. Even if you were drinking, you are not to blame.
Psychologists have stated that, rape is not sex, it is an
act of violence, which is more about fulfilling a need for
power, than anything else.
It is not your fault!