Drug-assisted rapes are not all that common, but one assault is one too many. Here's how to keep yourself and your friends safe.
- Drug rapes do not seem to be on the increase, but there's no reason to be complacent.
- The most commonly used rape drug is alcohol.
- Victims are most likely to be targeted in pubs and clubs, but are can also be drugged in their own home or on university campus or at work-related events.
- May deliberately set out to 'spike' drinks, or may be an opportunist who takes advantage of someone who is already drunk or drugged.
- Often seems to be charming and attractive.
- Already knows their victim in over 50% of cases.
- Can be male or female.
- Has little or no memories of the attack in over 80% of cases.
- If you're going out drinking, remember that alcohol can affect your actions and reactions. Be careful.
- Do not accept drinks from anyone you don't know or trust, and don't share or taste other people's drinks.
- Buy bottled drinks and keep your thumb over the top when you're not drinking.
- Never leave your drink unattended.
- If you return to your drink and it has been topped up, moved, or it looks different in any way, don't drink from it again.
- Be aware that soft drinks, tea, coffee and hot chocolate can be spiked too.
- Look out for your friends, keep an eye on their drinks. If you think their drink has been spiked, get them out of the situation as fast as possible.
If you think you've been spiked
- If you feel unwell, extremely drunk, or sleepy after only one or two drinks, get help straight away. You do not have much time.
- Ask a trusted friend for help. Failing that, go straight to the pub owner or security staff.
- Wherever possible DO NOT accept help from strangers or people you would not normally trust.
If you have been raped, or think you may have been
- Don't be scared to report the incident to the police, even if you are a recreational drug user, or have few or no memories of the attack. The sooner it is reported, the greater the likelihood of the offender being brought to justice. The responsibility for an attack always lies solely with the perpetrator. A victim of drug rape is just that - a victim.
- You will probably be suffering from trauma, and should seek medical attention and support, even if you do not want to report the attack to the police. Rape Crisis can refer you to local services for confidential help and counselling.
- Most drugs leave the body in less than 72 hours, so try not to urinate until you have had a medical examination, or keep a sample of your urine.
- If your clothes etc have vomit on them, it may contain whatever drug was used, and should be kept as evidence.
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