If you are the parent or guardian of a college student, the recent case of two University of Miami football players accused of raping a 17-year-old in a dorm room is chilling to think about. Nine out of 10 rape victims are women, according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, and those under the age of 30 are at the greatest risk. Even more terrifying: 93% of young victims of sexual assault knew their attackers. On college campuses and other places with a large young adult population, the term “date rape” is unfortunately prevalent. Awareness leads to prevention and although the facts and statistics may be horrifying, it is important to understand rape and sexual assault and how to prevent them so you can feel safer about your college-aged children as they leave home.
Date rape and “acquaintance rape” both indicate that the victim was familiar with their attacker before the incident occurred. Both are particularly frightening, because the situation may begin with innocent fun and familiarity. Unfortunately, the addition of drugs or alcohol can turn an innocent party into a dangerous situation very quickly, especially with younger students who have little experience with parties, alcohol, and the opposite sex – a volatile combination. The relationship between such substances and date rape is why this form of assault is so prominent around college campuses, and why many victims of date rape are younger.
To raise date rape awareness, it is important to be aware of the techniques that would-be rapists often use. Alcohol alone can lead to a lack of motor functioning, confusion, or a loss of inhibition, but he addition of incapacitating substances, often referred to as “date rape” drugs, can intensify and hasten the reaction. Common date rape drugs, described in detail in womenshealth.gov, include rohypnol, commonly called “roofies,” Ketamine, and GHB. These drugs are available as liquids, powder, or pills that dissolve in liquid, making it simple to surreptitiously slip them into a victim’s drink. Effects can kick in relatively quickly after the drugging occurs, and include distorted perception, relaxation or drowsiness, loss of muscle control and other movements, and can lead to loss of consciousness, or blacking out. Larger doses can also lead to coma or death. Distortion and other similar effects make a victim more susceptible to rape, as they may not be aware of what is happening, or not have the control to defend themselves.
Protecting your child against date rape includes educating them on the dangers of alcohol and drug impairment, even if they are considered old enough to take care of themselves. Even if your child is of legal drinking age, be sure they are aware of date rape drugs, and know not to leave their drink unattended. Some straws and cups are being developed that can detect the addition of drugs in liquids, but these are not yet readily available. Encourage your student to employ the buddy system, attending social events with trusted friends. Teach them be alert to potentially dangerous surroundings and get out of any situation that seems toxic. Make sure they know the number of a local cab company, in case they need to get away from a party or club, but don’t want to drive with intoxicated friends.
Victims of Sexual Assault can Contact Dolman Law Group
Victims of sexual assault are often hesitant to make accusations, but the assistance of an experienced sexual assault attorney is vital to receiving the defense and compensation victims deserve for their physical and emotional trauma. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault, schedule a free consultation with the Dolman Law Group at 727-451-6900, where sexual assault cases are handled with diplomacy, tact, and confidentiality.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765