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Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault

Perpetrators of sexual assault may use drugs to decrease resistance to assault and to cause memory loss of the assault. The use of drugs is a clear indication that these sexual assaults are planned and premeditated.

If you are drugged and experience sexual assault, it is the perpetrator of the assault who is to blame, even if you took the drug willingly. You cannot give consent to sexual activity if you are impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Experiencing Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault

Although media portrayals often involve a victim that has been slipped something like Rohypnol® or GHB, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada reports that alcohol is actually the most common drug involved in drug-facilitated sexual assault.

Drugs may be processed by the body quickly so it can be difficult to detect them. To preserve evidence, early testing for the presence of drugs in your system is important. Depending on what drug was given, you may have little memory of the sexual assault and may only get bits and pieces of memory back. You will likely feel very confused and disoriented. The healing process may be made more difficult because of the lack of memory and because you may have a hard time acknowledging that what happened was a sexual assault. Survivors are likely to blame themselves for the assault due to drugs and alcohol being involved. If this happened to you, it is not your fault.

Indications of Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault

Most survivors of sexual assault who were drugged report suddenly feeling strangely light-headed and intoxicated and may have visual and/or physical impairment. They may wake up but still feel drowsy, confused, weak and have poor coordination. Often a survivor will have almost no recollection of what took place since starting to feel light-headed. Often when they can remember parts of the assault they recall feeling paralyzed, powerless or disconnected from their body. When alcohol is the only substance used, survivors may feel that they got drunker than they had planned that night, or they may have some memories of having sexual activity that was not planned.

In drug-facilitated sexual assaults it is possible that the survivor has little or no recollection of a sexual assault. The following are some indications that a drug-facilitated sexual assault occurred.

Physical indications...

  • soreness in the genital or anal areas
  • marks or bruises on the skin
  • abnormal discharge

Other indications...

  • loss of memory for a whole part of an evening or day
  • flashes of memory of “coming to” but being unable to move then losing consciousness again
  • waking up in different surroundings and not knowing how you got there
  • waking up with clothes missing or put on differently
  • a sense that something wrong happened or that “something is not right”

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