Drug-Assisted Sexual Assault
Alcohol is still the most common drug used in sexual assaults. However, there is a growing number of other drugs used by those who commit sexual assaults to help them in sexual violence. Some of these drugs are legal. They are generally 'hypnotics' which means they make you sleepy and relax your muscles.
The use of alcohol or other drugs in sexual assaults is always the choice of the person responsible for the sexual violence. It does not matter whether you were drinking or took the drug yourself or were drugged without knowing it. Getting yourself very drunk is never consent to sex.
Was I drugged?
- If you feel odd, nauseous or very drunk after only a couple of drinks, and you know this is not normal for you, there is a chance that your drink may have been spiked. If so, go immediately to a place of safety.
- Some people have described being drugged as a sensation of suddenly feeling they have the flu.
- Because of the effects of some drugs, you may not know you have been drugged or you may not be able to act. You may also suffer memory loss.
- Remember non-alcoholic drinks can be spiked too.
- The drugs used have no taste or smell although one (Rohypnol) has a blue dye added to it. However, this blue dye does not show up for almost 20 minutes.
- You may have drunk too much or taken drugs voluntarily.
What should I do?
- If you suspect your drink has been spiked, tell more than one person as you may not know who spiked your drink. It could be someone you think you can trust.
- If you are with a stranger, go to the landlord or manager and tell them and call 999 (or 112 if you are outside Ireland). If that is not an option, lock yourself in the bathroom until help arrives.
- Under no circumstances let a stranger help you or take you anywhere – they may be the person who spiked your drink.
Will I know if I have been raped?
- Some drugs can take away your memory. You may wake up and be unsure how you got there but feel the situation is suspicious and suspect you may have been assaulted.
- You may not necessarily have any outward physical signs on your body as the drug (including alcohol) will have made physical violence unnecessary.
What should I do if I think I have been drugged and raped?
- All Garda stations should have drug testing kits (early evidence kits) available which can test for the presence of some drugs.
- If you go to the police or to a hospital, you need to insist that they take a urine and blood sample to show if any of the drugs used in drug rape are present (there are about 6 or 7 different drugs).
- You can also go to the nearest Sexual Assault Treatment Unit for medical and forensic examination.
- If you want to report the rape, it is best to do this as soon as possible before the evidence leaves your body.
- In many cases, the traces of the drug may disappear from your body before your memory of the event comes back. Forensic traces of rape drugs can only be picked up within 48 hours.
- If you choose not to report to the police, visit your doctor or a clinic as soon as possible after the incident to be tested for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, and to have any physical injuries treated.