Strangely enough, however, 73 percent of sexual assaults are committed by a “non-stranger,” and 38 percent are actively engaging friends or acquaintances, according to the survey.
Drug facilitated rape, also known as date rape drugs, have become one of the most common forms of deceptions to engage sexual assaults — sometimes even unknowingly to their victim.
A Patterson couple wishes to spread the word about date rape drugs following an alleged first-hand experience earlier this summer. The couple wishes to remain anonymous, due to the ongoing investigation, but hopes to illustrate the cause and effects of date rape drugs to prevent future cases.
Males at risk
One of the most important things to understand is that both genders are at risk. Although men are not commonly seen as victims, the Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Center has estimated that 92,748 men are raped each year in the U.S. — usually by other men.
One out of 33 men have been victims of attempted or completed rape, and are usually assaulted by friends, significant others, strangers or gangs, the report stated. In 2003, a report by the U.S. Department of Justice states that one in every 10 rape victims were male.
In the case of the Patterson couple, the male was the alleged victim as well.
“It’s usually the people you trust the most,” said the alleged male victim from Patterson. “So many men are embarrassed to come forward, and the crime goes unreported. It’s just embarrassing.”
Although the statics for male rape are low compared to women — which dictates that 1 out of every 6 women have been victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime — many go unreported due to stigmatized male roles that prevent many from reporting their encounter. However, studies conducted on men and women have shown that many victims are unable to piece together their dilemma due to the type of drugs used to help the attacker perform the act.
Common date rape drugs
According to the Central Valley Fresno Regional Center, common drugs that have been used in date rape scenarios include flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), which inhibit a person’s ability to resist sexual assault.
Gamma-hydroxybutyrate “Ecstasy, G, or Soap”
GHB acts as a central nervous system depressant and is a clear, odorless liquid that can be added to any beverage without being detected. The Fresno Center also states that it may take the form of white power. Common names associated with GHB are liquid ecstasy, G, or soap.
Low dosage effects include feeling intoxicated, talkative, happy or energetic. Other effects include feeling affectionate, playful, an increased sex drive and a mild loss of inhibition.
Other side effects include vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, difficulty breathing, an inability to move, and loss of consciousness — especially when combined with drugs or alcohol.
The drug does not stay in the person’s system long and is not easily detected with drug screening test/toxicology tests.
Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), accord
ing to the Center, is a central nervous system depressant and is 10 times more potent than diazepam (such as Valium). Similar to GHB, Flunitrazepam is tasteless and odorless, but is in the form of a tablet that can be crushed and dissolved in liquid. The drug is known by its popular title, roofie, and is one of the most commonly used forms of date rape drugs due to its easy, sizable nature.
A small tablet can last for up to 12 hours. When mixed with alcohol, the effects are similar to a person experiencing amnesia, which makes it the most likely tool for most active assaulters. Flunitrazepam can be fatal if mixed with alcohol or other drugs, and is considered addictive.
Although it is difficult to determine when you are subject to sexual assault, Have Women’s Center in Modesto has outlined ideal ways to deter an attack.
Keep a watchful eye on your drink. Many date rape drugs can be easily administered into an open beverage, regardless of taste or color. To ensure your safety, never take a drink from an open container. Also, be sure to never leave your drink unattended, as it only takes seconds for many drugs to dissolve undetected.
Avoid secluded areas. It is easier to be overpowered by a male or female if alone. If you wish to leave a club, restaurant or bar, but feel as if you are being followed, always seek help from the owner, manager or staff to escort you.
Keep friends and guardians informed of your itinerary.
Do not give out personal information, such as your phone number, home address, or any other information that can easily track you down.
If you have been, or even think you’ve been drugged, seek medical attention right away, said Sargent Paul Yotsuya of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department. Time is of the essence, according to Yotsuya, as these drugs rarely show up on most toxicology tests.
“I’ve personally handled many sexual assault cases and believed that drugs have been used on the victim, even if the report came back negative,” said Yotsuya. “Some drugs flush out fairly quickly.”
As an added precaution, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that the victim refrains from urinating, douching, bathing, brushing their teeth, washing their hands, changing, or even eating or drinking before they leave for the hospital, as these clues may leave evidence of rape. According to Women’s Haven Center in Modesto, hospitals will administer a “rape kit” to collect further evidence.
Once at the hospital, call the police to file a report. According to Yotsuya, it is important to tell the police exactly what you remember as there may be key instances where a specific place or décor may come to memory, which can help prove the case against the attacker.
Center for Human Services also suggests obtaining a pee sample that can be used to test for date rape drugs. Drugs such as these tend to leave the system quickly, and will not likely show up on toxicology reports.
“If you don’t know how the system works, or what to ask for, it can be incredibly hard to prove that you’ve been assaulted,” said the alleged Patterson victim. “It’s frustrating to see that most hospitals do not carry a panel to prove these crimes. You might have to look elsewhere for hair samples or pee tests, which are expensive.”
Rophypnol stays in the body for several hours and can be detected in urine for up to 72 hours after taking it. GHB, however, exits the body in as little as 12 hours, so it is important to keep your fluids in as long as possible until you’ve been examined or collected your urine.
The last step is to seek counseling and treatment, as most victims feel shame, guilt fear or shock after this ordeal. A great place to start is the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE, which can locate your nearest help center and offer additional advice for victims and their friends or families.
Remember, date rape drugs can be administered to anyone, regardless of size, age, or gender.
Contact the Patterson Irrigator at 892-6187, or firstname.lastname@example.org.