Health Services

Reducing the Risk of Substance-Related Rape

EphNotes

Substance-related rape has been occurring more frequently in recent years. Although the often-tasteless drugs are hard to detect, there are precautionary steps one can take to reduce the risk of becoming prey to this criminal conduct.

  • Do not leave beverages unattended
  • Do not take any beverages, including alcohol, from someone you do not trust or know well.
  • At a party or social gathering, accept drinks only from the server
  • At parties, do not accept open-container drinks from anyone
  • Be alert to the behavior of friends. Anyone appearing disproportionately inebriated in relation to the amount of alcohol they have consumed may be in danger
  • Share this information with friends and talk about ways to look out for each other at parties and social events
  • Anyone who believes they have consumed a sedative-like substance should be driven to a hospital emergency room or should call 911 for an ambulance. Try to keep a sample of the beverage for analysis.

Actions to Take if You Think You Have Been Drugged and Sexually Assaulted

If you feel dizzy, confused or have other sudden, unexplained symptoms after drinking a beverage, call a friend, the police, or 911 for help in getting to a hospital.

Here are the steps you should take:

  • Get to a safe place and call a rape crisis center for information or support. Call the Rape and Sexual Assault Network at x4100. For a toll-free rape crisis hotline, call 1-800-656-4673.
  • Determine whether or not to report the incident to the police. If there is any chance you do want to report the assault, you should not shower, bathe, douche, change clothes or straighten up the area until medical and legal evidence is collected because these actions will destroy evidence
  • If you want to report the incident, first call the police and then go to the hospital and have the medical evidence collected
  • Go to a hospital, clinic or private doctor for treatment of external and/or internal injuries, tests for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and support services.
  • Request a urine test to detect the presence of sedating substances as quickly as possible. Every hour matters. Chances of getting proof are best when the sample is obtained soon after the substance has been ingested, but the test can be reliable even on a sample obtained 72 hours later. The test is free, and can be requested by law enforcement officers, rape crisis centers and hospital emergency departments by calling 800-608-6540.

Originally printed by the DC Rape Crisis Center. Brought to you by the Health Center, the Williams College Rape and Sexual Assault Network, and Projecct ADVANCE.

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