Rohypnol: Personal and social consequences

Last modified: Saturday, 20. June 2009 - 3:18 pm

Rohypnol has increasingly been linked to incidents of date rape and rape by strangers who drug unsuspecting women by slipping the pill into their drink in a bar or other social setting. Rohypnol is appealing to rapists because it acts so rapidly and often causes a loss of will and an inability of victims to fight back.
Rape is devastating to women and affects all aspects of their lives, including their future relationships. It is estimated that approximately one in four women will be raped in their lifetimes. In addition, approximately 75% of all rapes that occur are date or acquaintance rapes in which women report knowing their attacker well or at least being familiar with them. Many times, the rapist is someone with whom the woman is romantically involved or has been involved with in the past, but the sex is not consensual. The best defense against drug-induced date rape is to become educated about which drugs are used to commit sexual assaults and how to recognize and avoid them.
Many young women who go to dance clubs or parties where they know the people around them may feel the environment is safe and conclude that if someone did try to drug them, someone nearby would surely notice and try to intervene in the situation before anything bad happened.
Yet, a person who has ingested Rohypnol often simply appears drunk or “out of it.” Even well-intentioned friends may not realize what is going on and will be reluctant to do anything. Experts in rape prevention say one thing these young women can do is have a prearranged plan with their friends when going out to a club, fraternity party, or even a party at someone’s home. This plan should include checking in with each other periodically during the evening. (If someone is suspected of being under the influence of Rohypnol or has taken it voluntarily, they should never be left alone. It takes at least eight hours for the most severe effects of the drug to wear off.)

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