Victim of a Date Rape Drug? What To Do

Victim of a Date Rape Drug? What To Do

Rape is a terrifying and brutal assault of a human being, whether the victim is a man or a woman, boy or girl, and of any age. The instances of date rape drugs being used for the purposes of committing sexual assault have increased exponentially since the introduction of these drugs (GHB, ketamine and Rohypnol, even ecstasy) to the U.S. in the early 1990s.

Here are the steps you need to take if you are a victim of one of these date rape drugs:

Get Someplace Safe

If you know or suspect that you have been drugged and assaulted, the first thing you should do is get yourself to someplace safe. Depending on the circumstances under which the sexual assault took place, your assaulter may or may not still be present. Exercise caution and don’t put yourself in any further jeopardy if the assaulter is still nearby. As soon as you can, leave that location and seek help.

If you can’t get away, try to use your cell phone to call 911 for emergency response by police. Even if you don’t know the address where you’ve been taken, you can leave the cell phone on and police can track your signal and get to you. Use discretion, and try to remain calm.

If You Are Alone

Your sexual attacker may have left you alone, either at your place or car or somewhere else. It’s important that you do not pick up or clean anything. Evidence may be in the sheets, towels, linens or surroundings. This evidence may prove crucial in helping to track down the perpetrators.

If You Don’t Remember

Often a victim of a date rape drug will have no memory, or only fleeting memories, of what happened. You may not be aware an attack occurred until 8 to 12 hours afterward. You may feel like you have had sex without knowing that you did. Your clothes may be torn or dirty. You may wake up feeling drugged and hung over, even though you don’t remember having anything or very little to drink. You feel drunk, even though you know you didn’t have any alcohol. Or, you do remember having one drink, but nothing after that.

These are all signs that you may have been the victim of a sexual assault as a result of being slipped a date rape drug.

Do Not Shower or Change Clothes

Although you’ll probably feel dirty, ashamed and confused, and all you want to do is scrub yourself clean, it’s critical that you do not bathe, shower, douche or even change clothes. The evidence may be on and in your body, so you don’t want to destroy it.

Do Not Eat or Drink

It’s also important that you do not eat or drink anything. Don’t even brush your teeth or wash your hands.

If You Have to Urinate

After such an ordeal, you may feel the need to go to the bathroom to urinate. If this is absolutely necessary, collect a specimen. You can use a jar, wide-mouth bottle, even a zip-lock baggie or a paper cup you seal with Saran wrap. Take this urine sample with you to your private doctor, to a clinic or hospital emergency room. Rohypnol stays in the body for several hours, and can be detected in urine for up to 72 hours after being taken. GHB leaves the body within 12 hours.

Go To an Emergency Room, Clinic or Private Doctor

You need immediate treatment following sexual assault as a result of a date rape drug. This means you need to go to see your private doctor, to a clinic or hospital emergency room. Tell the doctor and nurses you believe you’ve been raped. They will use a “date rape kit” to collect evidence.

Ask the examining physician to check for any injuries – both externally (such as bruising, cuts, scrapes, vaginal and anal tears, bleeding, etc.), and internally. Also request the doctor test for pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections. A urine test and blood work is also critical so that the presence of the sedating substances can be detected. If you’ve already collected a urine sample, present this to the doctor.

Contact the Police

If this happened to you, the perpetrators are likely to do it again to someone else. You need to report the assault to the police. Even if the details are fuzzy to you, and they probably are due to the effects of the date rape drugs, you absolutely owe it to yourself and to others to try to have the assaulters apprehended and face the consequences.

Seek Support and Advice from a Rape Crisis Center

Recognize that this is a physically and emotionally traumatic experience that you have undergone. You won’t be able to just shrug it off – even if you think you can. You may be very strong emotionally and suddenly the whole episode will come back and haunt you, causing you sleeplessness, bouts of depression, uncontrollable weeping, and inability to work, go to school, and continue your relationships. You need the support of professionals who can help you through the difficult days of shame, guilt, fear and shock ahead. You need the help of caring individuals, many of whom have experienced rape themselves, to help you heal.

One source is toll-free and available 24/7. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. The Hotline is free, the information you provide is confidential, and your privacy is secure. It is from the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network. More than 1,000 trained professionals are available to help you from RAINN-affiliated crisis centers located all across the country. You can also find helpful information on their website at www.rainn.org.

It’s Not Your Fault

The key point to remember in all of this is that you are a victim. It is not your fault that you were sexually assaulted and raped after someone slipped you a date rape drug. But you can heal. And you can get beyond this terrible ordeal.

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