Date rape

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search

Date rape refers to rape committed by a person, who could be a friend, acquaintance or stranger, against a victim.[1] Commonly, date rape is referring to drug facilitated sexual assault or an acquaintance rape.

Sexual assault is any sexual act done to someone without their consent. Drug facilitated sexual assault is any sexual assault where alcohol or drugs affect the victim's ability to give informed consent.

Acquaintance rape is an assault or attempted assault usually committed by a new acquaintance involving sexual intercourse without consent.[2][3]

Drug-facilitated sexual assault[edit]

A drug-facilitated sexual assault is one involving the victim consuming alcohol or taking drugs. The alcohol or drugs may be knowingly or unknowingly consumed by the victim. That is, sometimes perpetrators intentionally drug a victim and other times perpetrators take advantage of someone who is already drunk or high.[4]

The drugs can be any substances that affect the central nervous system (CNS). This includes street drugs (e.g. cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, GHB), prescription drugs (e.g. anti-depressants, tranquilizers), and over-the-counter medications (e.g. cough syrup). When these drugs are mixed with alcohol, their effects are enhanced, which makes people particularly vulnerable.

Drugs used in sexual assault[edit]

The most common drug used in sexual assault is alcohol. It is estimated that about half of all sexual assault victims were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the assault.[5]

In a recent study in Ontario, Canada, sexual assault victims who suspected they were intentionally drugged went through toxicological screening. The tests were performed within 72 hours of the assault to ensure reliability of results. Victims reported all drugs they knowingly consumed, which included: street drugs (e.g. marijuana, cocaine), prescription drugs (e.g. anti-depressants, tranquilizers) and over-the-counter medication (e.g. cough syrup). The most common unexpected drugs found were marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines.[6] The summary of results is presented in the following infographic:

DFSA Infographic

The full infographic is available here.

Though flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) is often cited as a date rape drug because of its high potency, strong effects and the ability to cause strong amnesia during its duration of action, investigations into its actual use as a date rape drug have contradicted popular belief. Research has shown that flunitrazepam is used in fewer than 1% of sexual assaults where intentional drugging was suspected.[6][7] The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in the UK put out a report on drug-facilitated sexual assault in 2007, which stated: "There is no reason to believe that flunitrazepam has unique properties as a weapon in drug facilitated sexual assault."[8]

Ketamine and GHB are also commonly represented in the media as date-rape drugs. This is because they have central nervous system activity and are hard to detect.[9][10] However, there is little evidence to support that they are widely used to facilitate sexual assault.[4][6]

Factors associated with drug-facilitated sexual assault[edit]

In a recent study of sexual assault victims who believed they were intentionally drugged in Ontario, Canada, most victims reported that they were socializing in a public place prior to the sexual assault. Over half of victims said they were last at a club, bar, lounge, restaurant, house party or social event.[11]

Half of drug-facilitated sexual assault victims are assaulted by a friend or acquaintance; however, this may be an under-representation because many victims are unsure about who assaulted them.[11][12]


Drug-facilitated sexual assault is not predictable. However, there are lists of safety tips that have been widely distributed to help potential victims keep themselves and their friends safe.

One such list is available through KidsHealth:

Protecting Yourself: The best defense against date rape is to try to prevent it whenever possible. Here are some things both girls and guys can do:

  • Avoid secluded places (this may even mean your room or your partner's) until you trust your partner.
  • Don't spend time alone with someone who makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable. This means following your instincts and removing yourself from situations that you don't feel good about.
  • Stay sober and aware. If you're with someone you don't know very well, be aware of what's going on around you and try to stay in control. Also, be aware of your date's ability to consent to sexual activity — you may become guilty of committing rape if the other person is not in a condition to respond or react.
  • Know what you want. Be clear about what kind of relationship you want with another person. If you are not sure, then ask the other person to respect your feelings and to give you time. Don't allow yourself to be subject to peer pressure or encouraged to do something that you don't want to do.
  • Go out with a group of friends and watch out for each other.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help if you feel threatened.
  • Take self-defense courses. These can build confidence and teach valuable physical techniques a person can use to get away from an attacker.[12]

Recently, bystander intervention has become a major focus of sexual assault prevention. This approach focuses attention on having a third party (i.e. not the perpetrator nor the victim) recognize a potential sexual assault and intervene in a safe way. Some bystander campaigns have been evaluated and have been proven to change participant attitudes toward bystander responsibility in the prevention of sexual assault.[13]

The bystander intervention is particularly promising for a number of reasons. Bystanders can intervene in a wide range of prevention activities, from low- to high-risk situations and including primary (before the assault), secondary (during the assault) and tertiary (after the assault) prevention.[14]

Strategically, it makes sense given that many victims were last socializing in a public place.[11] Bystander intervention also moves away from victim-focused (and victim-blaming) prevention, which can negatively impact victim/survivors of sexual assault.[15] Bystander intervention also moves away from perpetrator-focused prevention, which has been shown to be widely ineffective.[15]

Typology of drug-facilitated sexual assault perpetrators[edit]

In 2001, Michael Welner published pioneering research on the typology of drug-facilitated rapists. The typology has since been cited and used by law enforcement and mental health professionals for distinguishing different perpetrators, their personalities, and their psychological makeup.[16]

The typology of drug-facilitated sexual assault includes


United States[edit]

In 1996, President Clinton signed the Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act. This act punishes for the use of the drug called Rohypnol. Four years later, the president signed another legislation banning GHB.

People who use date rape drugs have a risk of up to an additional 20 years in prison. Any possession of Rohypnol, even if there is no intent of using it, has a sentence of up to three years in prison. Every state has laws pertaining to rape, but not all states have adopted laws pertaining to drug induced rape.[17][18][19]

Indiana has a statute which makes the offense a Class A felony if "the commission of the offense is facilitated by furnishing the victim, without the victim's knowledge, with a drug ... or a controlled substance ... or knowing that the victim was furnished with the drug or controlled substance without the victim's knowledge."[20] (see drink spiking)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Date Rape Drugs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Women's Health
  2. ^ Date Rape Drugs. Men Against Sexual Assault. University of Rochester
  3. ^ Perspectives on Acquaintance Rape. The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress.
  4. ^ a b Hall, J.A.; Moore, C.B.T. (2008). "Drug facilitated sexual assault - A review". Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine 15: 291–297. doi:10.1016/j.jflm.2007.12.005 . 
  5. ^ The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (2012). "The Drugs". 
  6. ^ a b c Du Mont, Janice; Macdonald, Sheila; Rotbard, Nomi; Bainbridge, Deidre; Asllani, Eriola; Smith, Norman; Cohen, Marsha M. (2010). "Drug-facilitated sexual assault in Ontario, Canada: Toxicological and DNA findings". Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. 
  7. ^ ElSohly, Mahmoud A.; Lee, Luen F.; Holzhauer, Lynn B.; Salamone, Salvatore J. (2001). "Analysis of urine samples in cases of alleged sexual assault case history". Benzodiazepines and GHB: 127–144. 
  8. ^ The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (2006). "Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault". 
  9. ^ GHB, GBL and 1,4BD as Date Rape Drugs. Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
  10. ^ What is GBL?.
  11. ^ a b c Du Mont, Janice; Macdonald, Sheila; Rotbard, Nomi; Bainbridge, Deidre; Asllani, Eriola; Smith, Norman; Cohen, Marsha M. (2010). "Factors associated with suspected drug-facilitated sexual assault". Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. 
  12. ^ a b D'Arcy Lyness (February 2009). "What Is Date Rape?". 
  13. ^ Potter, S.J.; Stapleton, J.G. (2012). "United States Military Installation : Piloting the Know-Your-Power". Journal of Interpersonal Violence 12 (8): 1593–1621. doi:10.1177/0886260511425795 . 
  14. ^ McMahon, S.; Banyard, V. (2012). "When Can I help? A Conceptual Framework for the Prevention of Sexual Violence Through Bystander Intervention". Trauma, Violence, & Abuse 13 (1): 3–14. doi:10.1177/1524838011426015 . 
  15. ^ a b Söchting, I.; Fairbrother, N.; Koch, W. J. (2004). "Sexual assault of women: Prevention efforts and risk factors". Violence Against Women 10: 73–93. 
  16. ^ Welner, M (2001). "The Perpetrators and Their Modus Operandi". In LeBeau, M.; Mozayani, A. Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault. London: Academic Press. pp. 39–74. 
  17. ^ State Rape Statutes. American Prosecutors Research Institute
  18. ^ Nora Fitzgerald and K. Jack Riley Drug Facilitated Rape: Looking for the Missing Pieces. National Institute of Justice Journal, April 2000, pp. 9–15
  19. ^ Drug Facilitated Rape. Butler County Rape Crisis Program. Oxford, UK
  20. ^ USLegal – Date Rape Law & Legal Definition. Retrieved on 2011-10-01.

External links[edit]