What is Sexual Harrassment? What is Sexual Assault? What to do if you're assaulted Sexual Assault Support Team Common reactions to sexual assault How to support a friend LBGT individuals and sexual assault Alcohol and sexual assault Study away and sexual violence Healthy sexuality Rape Myths
ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUGS
A majority of the sexual assaults experienced by college students occur in situations involving drinking - - by the victim, the assailant, or both.
The definitions of rape and sexual assault include having sex with someone who is unable to consent because he or she is intoxicated, drugged, or unconscious. For example, if a person has sex with someone who is unable to consent, or is prevented from resisting, because of the effects of alcohol or other drugs, it can be considered rape or sexual assault if the person knew, or reasonably should have known, that the victim was mentally and/or physically incapacitated.
Often victims who have been drinking and/or using drugs at the time of a sexual assault have intense feelings of self-blame. They are also more likely to encounter blaming responses from other people.
Even if the person who assaulted you had been drinking and/or using drugs, he/she is still responsible for his/her behavior. Being drunk is not an excuse for committing any criminal acts, including sexual assault.
What To Do If You've Been Drugged
Some signs that you might have been drugged:
- You feel drunker than you should given the amount of alcohol you've consumed.
- You wake up feeling fuzzy and you can't remember all or part of last night.
- You remember having a drink, but you can't remember what happened after you finished it.
- You feel like you've had sex, but you don't fully remember the encounter.
Most date rape drugs leave the body within 24 to 72 hours, so it is important to get a drug test as soon as possible after the assault has occurred. If you aren't able to get tested in time, you can still file sexual assault charges if you wish. There may be other evidence that indicates you were sexually assaulted, regardless of whether you can prove you were drugged at the time.
Ways out of a dangerous situation
If you are at a party, club, bar, or some other place where you might be put at risk, and you start to feel out of control, there are a few things you can do right away:
- Look for a friend or someone else you can trust. If possible, tell her or him to take you to a hospital or call 911. If you can't talk, try to show your friend that you feel sick. If you have to, throw up. Your friend will get the message.
- If you can get to a phone, call 911. The police should be able to register your location even if you can't talk. If possible, find a friend to go with you.
- If you can't find a friend or get to a phone, make a scene. Say loudly, "Did you put something in my drink?" This may alert the people around you to the situation.
- Scream, cry, or throw up. The person who drugged you will probably not want the attention or the mess.
If you think you've been drugged, do not leave by yourself. You need to have other people around in case you lose consciousness.
Strategies for safety when drinking
There are several things you can do whenever you go to a party, club, or bar, or even on a date to reduce the risk that you will be a victim of date rape or sexual assault. In general, go to parties in groups, and appoint a sober person for your group. Check up on your group of friends throughout the night.
If you are drinking alcohol:
- Be aware of your ability to tell someone else what you want and to respond to what they want. During a sexual encounter, you need to be able to communicate clearly with your partner. Can you be sure that everything that happens is consensual?
- Know your limit. How many drinks can you have before you no longer trust your decisions? How many drinks can you have before you are unable to communicate clearly about what you do and don't want?
- Don’t accept a mixed drink or an opened container from anyone. If someone offers you a drink, watch it being made and carry it back from the bar yourself. If you are unsure about any of the ingredients, don’t drink it. Open all bottles yourself.
- Be aware of date rape drugs. Don't accept a mixed drink or an opened container from anyone. If someone offers you a drink, watch it being made. If you are unsure about any of the ingredients, don't drink it. Open all bottles and cans yourself.
- Avoid sharing or trading drinks with anyone.
- Don't drink from a punch bowl or from a container being passed around.
- Be in control of your drink. If there has been any opportunity for someone to spike your drink, dump it. Do not leave your drink sitting out for someone else to find.
- Don't drink anything that looks or tastes unusual or suspicious. Be on the alert for excess saltiness or bitterness, unexplained residue, or odd colors or textures.
- If one of your friends shows signs of being drugged, leave the party and make sure he or she is safe. Don't allow him or her to "sleep it off." If necessary, call 911, or take your friend to a hospital immediately.
- If you see someone spiking a drink, do something about it. Dump the drink, bring attention to the situation, and talk to the host of the party.
- Warn your friends about clubs or parties where date rape drugs have been used. Avoid high-risk areas.
- Do not accept a drink from someone you don’t know.
- Do not mix medications and alcohol and know your own limits.
Alcohol and Intimacy
- Avoid hooking up when you or your partner have been drinking. You may go further sexually than you would have had you been sober.
- Be clear about how far you are willing to go sexually before you begin drinking and before you hook up with someone.
- Be aware that your non-verbal behavior may be interpreted differently than you intended.
- Communicate your wishes verbally to your partner. Say YES when you mean YES and NO when you mean NO.
- Trust your gut. If you feel uncomfortable, leave immediately.