National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth Fact Sheet

National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth Fact Sheet

Sexual Development and Sexual Behavior Problems in Children Ages 2-12
This Fact Sheet provides basic information about sexual development and problematic sexual behavior in children ages 2-12. This information is important for parents and professionals who work with or provide services to children such as teachers, physicians, child welfare personnel, daycare providers, and mental health professionals. Understanding children’s typical sexual development, knowledge, and behavior is necessary to accurately identify sexual behavior problems in children. Guidelines to distinguish typical sexual behaviors from problematic sexual behaviors are described below.

Research on sexual behavior of children ages 2 to 12 has documented that:

  • sexual responses are present from birth; 1
  • a wide range of sexual behaviors for this age range are normal and non-problematic; 1, 2
  • increasing numbers of school age children are being identified with inappropriate or aggressive sexual behavior;3 it is not clear if this increase reflects an increase in the actual number of cases or an increase in identification and reporting;
  • several treatment interventions have been found to be effective in reducing problematic sexual behavior in children, such as cognitive behavioral group treatment;4, 5 and
  • sexual development and behavior are influenced by social, familial, and cultural factors, as well as genetics and biology.7

Typical sexual knowledge of children age 2 to 6 years old:

  • understand that boys and girls have different private parts;
  • know labels for sexual body parts, but use slang words such as weenie for penis; and
  • have limited information about pregnancy and childbirth.

Typical sexual knowledge of children ages 7 to 12 years old:

  •  learn the correct names for the genitals but use slang terms;
  •  have increased knowledge about masturbation, intercourse, and pregnancy; and
  •  understand the physical aspects of puberty by age 10.

Common vs. Infrequent Sexual Behaviors in Children

In the last decade, research has described typical sexual behaviors in boys and girls ages 2-12.2 The table below lists sexual behaviors that are commonly observed or reported by parents of pre-school and school age children.

COMMON SEXUAL BEHAVIORS
AGES 2-6

  • Do not have a strong sense of modesty, enjoys own nudity
  • Use elimination words with peers
  • May explore body differences between girls and boys
  • Curious about sexual and genital parts
  • Touch their private parts, even in public
  • Exhibit sex play with peers and siblings; playing “doctor”
  • Experience pleasure from touching their genitals

COMMON SEXUAL BEHAVIORS
AGES 7-12

Sexual play with children they know, such as playing “doctor”
Interested in sexual content in media (TV, movies, radio)
Touch own genitals at home, in private
Look at nude pictures
Interested in the opposite sex
Shy about undressing
Shy around strange men

Research has also described infrequent and uncommon sexual behaviors in boys and girls ages 2-12. 2

The table below lists sexual behaviors that are reported by parents of pre-school and school age children to be infrequent or highly unusual.

INFREQUENT SEXUAL BEHAVIORS AGES 2 – 12
Puts mouth on sex parts
Asks to engage in sex acts
Puts objects in rectum or vagina
Imitates intercourse
Masturbates with objects
Undresses other people
Touches others’ sex parts after being told not to
Asks to watch sexually explicit television
Touches adults’ sex parts
Makes sexual sounds

Sexual Play vs. Problematic Sexual Behavior

Professionals in the field have developed a continuum of sexual behaviors that range from common sexual play to problematic sexual behavior.10 These are described below.

Sexual play

  •  is exploratory and spontaneous;
  •  occurs intermittently and by mutual agreement;
  •  occurs with children of similar age, size, or developmental level, such as siblings, cousins, or peers;
  •  is not associated with high levels of fear, anger, or anxiety;
  • decreases when told by caregivers to stop; and
  • can be controlled by increased supervision.

Problematic sexual behavior

  •  is a frequent, repeated behavior, such as compulsive masturbation;
    • Example: A six-year-old repeatedly masturbates at school or in other public places.
  • occurs between children who do not know each other well;
    • Example: An eight-year-old girl shows her private parts to a new child during an after school program.
  • occurs with high frequency and interferes with normal childhood activities;
    • Example: A seven-year-old girl has been removed from the soccer team because she continues to touch other children’s private parts.
  • is between children of different ages, size, and development level;
    • Example: An eleven-year-old boy is “playing doctor” with a three-year-old girl.
  • is aggressive, forced, or coerced;
    • Example: A ten-year-old threatens his six-year-old cousin and makes him touch his penis.
  • does not decrease after the child is told to stop the behavior;
    • Example: A nine-year-old child continues to engage other children in mutual touching after being told the behavior is not allowed and having consequences, such as being grounded.
  • causes harm to the child or others.
    • Example: A child causes physical injury, such as bruising, redness, or abrasions on themselves or another child, or causes another child to be highly upset or fearful.9

Children With Sexual Behavior Problems

Children with sexual behavior problems (SBPs) are children 12 years and under who demonstrate developmentally inappropriate or aggressive sexual behavior. This definition includes self-focused sexual behavior, such as frequent public masturbation, and intrusive or aggressive sexual behavior towards others that may include coercion or force. Although the term “sexual” is used, the children’s intentions and motivations for these behaviors may be unrelated to sexual gratification.

Some children who have been sexually abused have inappropriate sexual behaviors and others have aggressive or highly problematic sexual behavior.8 However, it should be noted that the majority of children who have been sexually abused do not have subsequent inappropriate or aggressive sexual behaviors.

Although only a small number of children develop problematic sexual behavior, professionals and parents may have concerns about (1) whether the behavior is problematic, (2) whether a child should be referred for mental health services, and (3) when an incident should be reported to the proper authorities.

Suggestions for professionals and parents are listed below:

  •  Do not overreact as most sexual behaviors in children are within the typical or expected range.
  •  Inappropriate or problematic sexual behavior in children is not a clear indicator that a child has been sexually abused.
  •  Most children will stop the behavior if they are told the rules, mildly restricted, well supervised, and praised for appropriate behavior.
  •  If the sexual behavior is problematic as defined above, referral for mental health services is recommended.
  •  It is important to remember that children with problematic sexual behavior are significantly different from adolescent and adult sex offenders.
  •  A report to Child Protective Services (CPS) and/or law enforcement may be required by law for certain behaviors such as aggressive or forced sexual behavior.

Additional information about adolescent sex offenders and children with sexual behavior problems is available from the National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth, http://www.ncsby.org.

Reference:
1. Gordon, B. N., & Schroeder, C. S. (1995). Sexuality: A developmental approach to problems. New York: Plenum Press.
2. Friedrich, W. N., Grambsch, P., Broughton, D., Kuiper, J., & Beilke, R. L. (1991). Normative sexual behavior in children. Pediatrics, 88, 456-464.
3. Araji, S. K. (1997). Sexually aggressive children: Coming to understand them. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
4. Bonner, B. L., Walker, C. E., & Berliner, L. (1999). Children with sexual behavior problems: Assessment and treatment (Final Report, Grant No. 90-CA-1469). Washington, DC: Administration of Children, Youth, and Families, Department of Health and Human Services.
5. Pithers, W. D., Gray, A., Busconi, A., & Houchens, P. (1998). Children with sexual behavior problems: Identification of five distinct child type and related treatment considerations. Child Maltreatment, 3, 384-406.
6. DeLamater, J., & Friedrich, W. N. (2002). Human sexual development. The Journal of Sex Research, 39, 10-14.
7. Silovsky, J. F., & Bonner, B. L. (2003). Children with sexual behavior problems. In T.H. Ollendick, & C.S. Schroeder (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Clinical Child and Pediatric Psychology (pp.589-591). New York: Kluwer Press.
8. Kendall-Tackett, K. A., Williams, L. M., & Finkelhor, D. (1993). Impact of sexual abuse on children: A review and synthesis of recent empirical studies. Psychological Bulletin, 113, 164-180.
9. Hall, D. H., Matthews, F., Pearce, J., Sarlo-McGarvey, N., & Gavin, D. (1996). The development of sexual behavior problems in children and youth. Ontario, Canada: Central Toronto Youth Services.
10. Johnson, T. C. (1998). Understanding children’s sexual behaviors: What is natural and healthy. Order information http://www.TcavJohn.com.

The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution.

Opinions in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official positions or policies of the US. Department of Justice/Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

This Fact Sheet was prepared through the National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth at the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and was authored by Jane F. Silovsky, PhD and Barbara L. Bonner, PhD. This project is funded by grant number 01-JR-BX-K002 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), US Department of Justice.

Possible Life Span Signs and Symptoms Associated with Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Infancy and Early Childhood Under 4 Years
Fearful
• Night terrors Loneliness
• Shame
• Clinging behavior
Developmental delay
• Suspicious physical findings
• Staring blankly
• Mood swings
• Cruelty to others
• Whining
Withdrawn
• Secretive
• Daydreaming
• Sexual preoccupation

Middle and Late Childhood 5 – 10 Years
• Sudden onset of anxiety
• Depression
• Insomnia
• Conversion hysteria
• Weight gain/loss
• Sudden school failure
• Truancy
• Run-away
• Sudden irritability
• Excessive bathing
• Psychosomatic problems
• Suspicious physical findings
• Staring blankly
• Cruelty to others
• Mood swings
• Withdrawn
• Lying
• Cheating
• Secretive
• Daydreaming
• Sexual preoccupation
• Seductiveness

Early Adolescence 11 – 14 Years
• Guilt
Low self-esteem
• Isolation
• Poor body image
• Staring blankly
• Cruelty to others
• Mood swings
• Withdrawn
• Lying
• Cheating
• Aggression
• Secretive
• Daydreaming
• Sexual preoccupation
• Low sexual self-esteem
• Fear of homosexuality
Sexual abuse of younger children

Late Adolescence 15 – 17 Years
• Self-depreciation
• Prostitution
• Promiscuity
• Depression
Social isolation
• High rebellion
• Pregnancy
Venereal disease
Drug abuse
• Acting out
• Anorexia
• Aggression
• Seductiveness
• Sexual preoccupation
• Low sexual self-esteem
• Sexual abuse of younger children

Adult 18 Years +
• Figidity
• Conversion hysteria
• Promiscuity
• Prostitution
• Phobias
• Suicide attempt
• Psychotic behavior
• Low self-confidence
• Low self-esteem
• Guilty feelings of defenselessness
• Feelings of worthlessness
• Seductiveness
• Sexual preoccupation
• Sexual abuse of others

Remember that lists such as these should be carefully regarded. You will note that many of the behaviors might be associated with many other causes and in some instances can be associated with “normal” behavior. It is critical to carefully consider the full range of information about any case.

From: Dr. Pamela Langelier, Vermont Family Forensic Institute, 1989

Being an Ally by Susan Mooney

Being an Ally (from CALCASA‘s “Support for Survivors” training manual; altered to fit the YWCA)

The most effective advocates are those who can assist survivors in understanding their individual experience in the larger social context of oppression. Women who were able to see a connection between society’s reactions to their experiences of victimization and the status of women in general founded the anti-rape and anti-domestic violence movement. This chapter assumes that you have previously explored the connections between the multiple forms of violence against women and sexism and the connections between sexism and other forms of oppression: racism, heterosexism and transphobia, ableism, classism. The focus here is on how you as an individual can use your awareness of oppression to be an effective counselor and a powerful agent for social change in your community.

We first explore what an ally is and then how being an ally relates to your work as a sexual assault counselor. Included are tips and challenges for the long journey that awaits you.

What is an Ally?

“Epiphinal moments, in many ways, occur only when one is primed for them.”1 A good ally is ever on the prowl for an epiphinal moment, ever mindful of our status in the world and ever watchful for opportunities to use our privileged status to effect social change and interrupt oppressive behaviors and actions. The process of learning how to provide support to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, intervene when you witness injustice, and contribute to creating a world that does not tolerate sexual violence is the process of developing skills as an ally.

Allies are persons who seek opportunities to use their knowledge, personal commitment, access to resources (financial and otherwise), and willingness to overcome fear to promote the well-being of a marginalized group or an individual within that group, of which the ally is not a member. It takes courage to act for the benefit of others, particularly if the act requires acknowledging your own status or giving up privilege.
Each of us is a complex person with many facets to our identity; we both need allies and can be an ally to others. For example, a heterosexual woman of color can benefit from the actions and commitment of her white allies; at the same time she can be a powerful ally to lesbians, gays, bisexual people, and transgender people. How and when to be an ally can be confusing and complex, but remember that the more you practice, the more you understand, and the better your skills become. Each of us has within us the ability to act as an ally to others, and your participation in the volunteer training can be a huge step toward increasing your ability to act as an ally.

Being an effective ally to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence requires that you are an ally in every area of their lives. Survivors do not experience sexual assault or domestic violence in isolation from the accumulated total of their life experience. Being a good advocate means you have to understand that a woman experiences of racism, homophobia and transphobia, classism, sizeism, and ableism, combined with sexism, all inform the experience of sexual assault and the process of healing from the experience of victimization. Your commitment to understanding the totality of a woman’s life will make you a more effective advocate. Your dedication to changing the social conditions within which sexual assault and domestic violence exists is an essential component of being a an advocate.

How does being an Ally Relate to your Work as an Advocate?

The more you practice and develop your skills as an ally working to end oppression, the more effective a advocate you will become. Try to think in terms of the ripple effect:
When you drop a stone in a bucket of water, many ripples are produced; they travel out, hit the side of the bucket, start traveling back to the center, and begin crossing and affecting one another’s paths. Eventually the water settles down, but the arrangement of the water in the bucket is forever changed. The ripple effect of your work as an ally is much the same: every act affects the complex social conditions that allow sexual assault to occur and the conditions that influence a survivor’s healing process.
Now let’s apply that image to an example (see below): a heterosexual woman who answers the hot line at the rape crisis center is also involved in PFLAG:

IMPACT OF PFLAG CAMPAIGN RIPPLE EFFECT
In the process of preparing for the PFLAG campaign, the advocate becomes more aware of the emotional and social impact homophobia has on lesbians, gays, bisexual people, and transgender people. The advocate receives a hotline call from a lesbian survivor of same-sex violence. The counselor’s ability to assist the survivor as she sorts through the effect of internalized homophobia on her reaction to her assault is enhanced by increased awareness.
PFLAG campaign includes presentation to law enforcement on hate crimes against lesbians, gays, bisexual people, and transgender people, during which a couple of officers show that they are very sensitive to the issue. The advocate’s ability to assist the survivor in realistically assessing the potential outcome of reporting the assault to the police is enhanced. The counselor has increased access to officers who are more likely to respond to the survivor’s experience sensitively.
The law enforcement officers who are sensitive to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues notice that the majority of officers in attendance are not educated on these issues. Working with the rape crisis center to assist the lesbian survivor makes the officers aware that their department’s response to incidents of same-sex violence can be improved, and they work as allies with the rape crisis center to get more training included in courses at the police academy.
The advocate passes out leaflets at the local mall as part of the campaign and talks to dozens of people, one of whom she tells about her work at the rape crisis center, A lesbian survivor of child sexual assault calls the hotline; she is willing to make the call because her friend tells her about her conversation with the advocate at the mall so she thinks the rape crisis center will be a safe place for her.
The advocate mentions to the crisis line coordinator that she is involved in the campaign, and the rape crisis center ends up endorsing PFLAG’s campaign. A number of lesbians in the community notice this relationship and call the rape crisis center to inquire about volunteering.

What you might be feeling after sexual assault

What You May Be Feeling
Survivors of sexual assault experience a wide range of reactions. Some have said that after the assault their emotions go up and down from one extreme to another. It is important for you to know that what you are feeling and thinking right now is okay. Your reactions are your own way of coping with the crime that has been committed against you. There is no standard response to sexual assault. You may experience a few, none or all of the following emotions.

SHOCK AND NUMBNESS: Feelings of spaciness, confusion, being easily overwhelmed, not knowing how to feel or what to do. You may react in a way that is similar to your reactions during other crises in your life, for example, with tears, irritability, nervous laughter or withdrawing.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Be aware that these are normal reactions to trauma. Each person handles crisis differently, so think of things that helped you get through crises in the past. Get help to sort out what you would like to do and how you may want to organize you time, thoughts and decisions. Be compassionate toward yourself; give yourself time to heal.

LOSS OF CONTROL: Feeling like your whole life has been turned upside down and that you will never have control of your life again. Your thoughts and feelings seem out of control.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Try to get as much control over your life as soon as you possibly can, even on small things. Ask for information that may help you sort out your thoughts and feelings. Use outside resources, such as counselors and legal professionals. Ask how other people have handled similar situations. Try to make as many of your own decisions as possible. This may gradually help you regain a sense of control over your own life.

FEAR: Fear that you assailant may return; fear for your general physical safety; fear of being alone; fear of other people or situations that may remind you of the assault.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you want company, do not hesitate to ask people who you trust to be with you day and night. You may want to make your physical environment feel more safe such as moving, making your home more secure or getting to know your neighbors better.

GUILT AND SELF-BLAME: Feeling like you could have or should have done something to avoid or prevent the assault; doubts regarding your ability to make judgments.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: No matter what the situation was, you did not ask to be hurt or violated. Blaming yourself is sometimes another way to feel control over the situation, thinking that if you avoid similar circumstances, it will not happen to you again.

ISOLATION: Feeling that this experience has set you apart from other people; feeling that other people can tell you have been sexually assaulted just by looking at you; or not wanting to burden other people with your experience.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Recovering from an assault can be a very lonely experience. However, you are not alone in what you are feeling. You may find it reassuring to talk to others who have been assaulted, or to a counselor at you local Rape Crisis Center who has worked with other sexual assault survivors.

VULNERABILITY, DISTRUST: Feeling that you are at the mercy of your own emotions or the actions of others; not knowing who to trust or how to trust yourself; or feelings of suspicion and caution.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Trust your instincts about who you want to talk with about what happened with you. Try to talk with people whom you have found to be the most dependable in the past; select those who have been good listeners or are non-judgmental. Feelings of general suspicion may subside as you begin to find people you can trust.

SEXUAL FEARS: Feeling that you do not want to have sexual relations; wondering whether you will ever want or enjoy sexual relationships again; fears that being sexually intimate may remind you of the assault.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Try to tell your partner what your limits are. Let your partner know if the situation reminds you of the assault and may bring up painful memories. Let your partner know that is the situation — not him/her — that is bringing up the painful memories. You may feel more comfortable with gentle physical affection. Let your partner know what level of intimacy feels comfortable for you.

ANGER: Feeling angry at the assailant. You may find yourself thinking about retaliation. You may be angry at the world since you no longer feel safe. You may be angry that your faith did not prevent this.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Although these are common reactions, they can be quite disturbing. Take things very slowly. Some people find it helpful to keep a notebook at hand to write down feelings, thoughts, ideas, or details of the assault; keeping the thoughts and feelings in one place makes them feel more manageable.

 

An excerpt this information from the publication, “A Handbook For Survivors Of Sexual Assault.”

Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Assault

Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Assault

CAVEAT: The following descriptions are meant to serve as a general guideline for how a victim of sexual assault might react in a time of pain or crisis. It is important to recognize, however, that each victim of sexual assault will have his or her own life experiences and personality that will influence how he or she react to the assault.

Reactions

There are many reactions that survivors of rape and sexual assault can have. But for adult survivors of childhood abuse there are reactions that may either be different or stronger than for other survivors. These include:

Setting Limits/Boundaries
  • Because your personal boundaries were invaded when you were young by someone you trusted and depended on, you may have trouble understanding that you have the right to control what happens to you.
Memories/Flashbacks
  • Like many survivors, you may experience flashbacks.
Anger
  • This is often the most difficult emotion for an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse to get in touch with.
  • As a child your anger was powerless and had little to no effect on the actions of your abuser. For this reason you may not feel confident that you anger will be useful or helpful.
Grieving/Mourning
  • Being abused as a child means the loss of many things- childhood experiences, trust, innocence, normal relationship with family members (especially if the abuser was a family member).
    • You must be allowed to name those losses, grieve them, and then bury them.
Guilt, Shame, and Blame
  • You may carry a lot of guilt because you may have experienced pleasure or because you did not try to stop the abuse.
  • There may have been silence surrounding the abuse that led to feelings of shame.
  • It is important for you to understand that it was the adult who abused his/her position of authority and should be held accountable, not you.
Trust
  • Learning to trust again may be very difficult for you.
  • You may find that you go from one extreme to the other, not trusting at all to trusting too much.
Coping Skills
  • You have undoubtedly developed skills in order to cope with the trauma.
    • Some of these are healthy (possibly separating yourself from family members, seeking out counseling, etc.)
    • Some are not (drinking or drug abuse, promiscuous sexual activity, etc.)
Self-esteem/Isolation
  • Low self-esteem is a result of all of the negative messages you received and internalized from your abusers.
  • Because entering into an intimate relationship involves trust, respect, love, and the ability to share, you may flee from intimacy or hold on too tightly for fear of losing the relationship.
Sexuality
  • You likely have to deal with the fact that your first initiation into sex came as a result of sexual abuse.
  • You may experience the return of body memories while engaging in a sexual activity with another person. Such memories may interfere in your ability to engage in sexual relationships which may leave you feeling frightened, frustrated, or ashamed.

Reference
This section was adapted from materials provided by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault.

Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault

Drug Facilitated Assault

Drug facilitated assault: when drugs or alcohol are used to compromise an individual’s ability to consent to sexual activity. In addition, drugs and alcohol are often used in order to minimize the resistance and memory of the victim of a sexual assault.

Alcohol remains the most commonly used chemical in crimes of sexual assault, but there are also substances being used by perpetrators including: Rohypnol, GHB, GBL, etc.

 

Diminished Capacity

Diminished capacity exists when an individual does not have the capacity to consent. Reasons for this inability to consent include, but are not limited to: sleeping, drugged, passed out, unconscious, mentally incapacitated, etc.

It is important to understand diminished capacity because oftentimes victims of sexual assault in these situations blame themselves because they drank, did drugs, etc. It is essential to emphasize that it is not his or her fault, that the aggressor is the one who took advantage of his or her diminished capacity.

 

Rohypnol

Rohypnol is not approved for medical use in the United States. It is smuggled into the country and has become an increasingly popular street drug.

Street Names: Roofies, Roach, the Forget Pill, Circles, Mexican Valium, Rib, Roach-2, Roopies, Rophies, La Rochas, Rope, Poor Man’s Quaalude, Whiteys, Trip-and-Fall, Mind Erasers, Lunch Money, and R-2.

What is it?: A small white tablet that looks a lot like aspirin. It quickly disolves in liquid and can take effect within 30 minutes of being ingested. The effects peak within 2 hours and may have lingering effects for 8 hours or more.

 

Effects

 

 

 

GHB

GHB has not been approved by the FDA since 1990. Therefore, it is illegal for distribution and sale in the U.S.

Street Names: Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH), Liquid X, Liquid E, G, Georgia Home Boys, Easy Lay, Cherry Meth, Soap, PM, Salt Water, Vita G, G-Juice, Great Hormones, Somatomax, Bedtime Scoop, Gook, Gamma 10, Energy Drink, and Goop.

What is it?: Pure GHB is commonly sold as a clear, odorless liquid or white crystalline powder. Because it is made in home labs, the effects are often unpredictable. Once ingested, GHB takes effect in approximately 15 minutes and can last 3-4 hours.

 

Effects

 

  • Sedation of the body
  • Intense drowsiness
  • Hampered mobility
  • Verbal incoherence
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Nausea, aspiration on own vomit
  • Headache
  • Respiratory failure
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizure-like activity
  • Coma, death


GBL

A GHB-like product, GBL is often sold under the guise of a dietary supplement or an industrial cleaner.

What is it?: When the body metabolizes GBL, it becomes twice as potent as GHB. It has a bitter taste that can easily be masked by strong-tasting drinks. GBL now comes in flavors such as lime, cinnamon, and cherry. Once ingested it takes approximately 30-45 minutes to take effect.

 

Effects

 

  • Severe amnesia
  • Nausea, aspiration on own vomit
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • Hypothermia
  • Coma
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Seizures
  • Agitation
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Death


NOTE: People who take GBL may act normally (i.e., may not appear intoxicated or sedated) but will have no memory of the time period. This effect can make it difficult for friends or acquaintances to identify that the individual has been drugged.

 

Benzodiazepines

What is it? Commonly prescribed as anti-anxiety and sleeping medications in the United States, these drugs can be put into an alcoholic drink or soft drink in powder or liquid form. These are legal forms of Rohypnol.

What it does: Like the other drugs described above, Benzodiazepines can markedly impair and even abolish functions that normally allow a person to resist, or even want to resist, sexual aggression or assault.

 

GHB, GBL, Rohypnol, & Benzodiazepines

NOTE:For all of these drugs, alcohol increases the effects.

All four of these drugs have some common effects that make them appealing to perpetrators. These drugs are common weapons of sexual assault due to the combined efforts of the sedative effect and the memory-impairment qualities.

How they Work
  • They are typically odorless, colorless, and tasteless when placed in liquid (except for GBL).
  • 5-30 minutes after ingestion, the victim of the drugging may struggle to talk or to move and may eventually pass out.
  • At this point the drugged individual is vulnerable to assault.
  • A survivor of such an assault may have virtually no memory of the events that occurred.

Another factor that makes these drugs dangerous and difficult to detect is that they leave the body rapidly, leaving little time for detection.

  • Rohypnol– leaves in 36-72 hours
  • GHB– leaves in 10-12 hours
  • GLB– leaves the urinary system within 6 hours and the blood stream within 24 hours.
Some Good News

The producers of Rohypnol have recently changed the chemistry of the pill so that it changes the color of clear drinks to bright blue and makes dark drinks go cloudy. It will, however, take a while for these new pills to hit the streets.

Ketamine

A dissociative general anesthetic that has stimulant, hallucinogenic, and hypnotic properties. It is usually used by veterinarians.

Street Names: K, K-Hole, Special K, Vitamin K, Purple, Psychedelic Heroin, Kit Kat, Jet, Bump, Black Hole.

What is it?: A fast-acting liquid that can be slipped into drinks. It can be used to sedate and incapacitate individuals in order to sexually assault them. Ketamine is especially dangerous when mixed with other drugs or alcohol.

What it does: Ketamine causes individuals to feel detached from their bodies and their surroundings so that, while they may be aware of what is happening to them, they are unable to move or fight back. In addition it may cause amnesia so that they do not remember what happened.

 

Effects

 

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Disorientation
  • Impaired motor skills
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Depression
  • Potentially fatal respiratory failure


Ecstasy

A toxic hallucinogenic and stimulant that has psychedelic effects. It is illegal to sell or to produce in the United States.

Street Names: E, X, X-TC, M&Ms, Adam, CK, Clarity, Hug Drug, Lover’s Speed.

What is it?: Ecstasy is commonly sold as small pills or capsules and is also available in powder and liquid forms. It can be slipped into an individual’s drink in order to facilitate sexual assault.

What it does: Ecstasy causes individuals to feel extreme relaxation and positivity towards others while it increases sensitivity to touch. When under the influence of ecstasy individuals are less likely to be able to sense danger and it may leave them unable to protect themselves from attack.

 

Effects

 

  • Increased blood pressure, pulse, and body temperature
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Strokes
  • Seizures
  • Hypothermia
  • Heat stroke
  • Heart failure

 


References:
Information for this section was adapted from http://www.911rape.org and materials provided by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault. This is published on RAINN.org.

 

Domestic Violence Power and Control Wheel

The Power and Control Wheel was developed from the experience of battered women in Duluth who had been abused by their male partners. It has been translated into over 40 languages and has resonated with the experience of battered women world-wide. (http://www.theduluthmodel.org/wheelgallery.php)

The Power and Control Wheel

Using intimidation: making her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, smashing things, destroying her property, abusing pets, displaying weapons.

Using emotional abuse: putting her down, making her feel bad about herself, calling her names, making her think she’s crazy, playing mind games, humiliating her, making her feel guilty.

Using isolation: controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads, where she goes, limiting her outside involvement, using jealousy to justify actions.

Minimizing, denying, and blaming: making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously, saying the abuse didn’t happen, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, saying she caused it.

Using children: making her feel guilty about the children, using the children to relay messages, using visitation to harass her, threatening to take children away.

Using male privilege: treating her like a servant, making all the big decisions, acting like the “master of the castle”, being the one to define men’s and women’s roles.

Using economic abuse: preventing her from getting or keeping a job, making her ask for money, giving her an allowance, taking her money, not letting her know about or have access to family income.

Using coercion and threats: making and/or carrying out threats to hurt her, threatening to leave her, to commit suicide, to report her to welfare, making her drop charges, making her do illegal things.

FAQs about the Wheels (from http://www.theduluthmodel.org/wheelgallery.php)
Why was the Power and Control Wheel created?
In 1984, staff at the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP) began developing curricula for groups for men who batter and victims of domestic violence. We wanted a way to describe battering for victims, offenders, practitioners in the criminal justice system and the general public. Over several months, we convened focus groups of women who had been battered. We listened to heart-wrenching stories of violence, terror and survival. After listening to these stories and asking questions, we documented the most common abusive behaviors or tactics that were used against these women. The tactics chosen for the wheel were those that were most universally experienced by battered women.

Why did you call it the Power and Control Wheel?
Battering is one form of domestic or intimate partner violence. It is characterized by the pattern of actions that an individual uses to intentionally control or dominate his intimate partner. That is why the words “power and control” are in the center of the wheel. A batterer systematically uses threats, intimidation, and coercion to instill fear in his partner. These behaviors are the spokes of the wheel. Physical and sexual violence holds it all together—this violence is the rim of the wheel.

Why isn’t the Power and Control Wheel gender neutral?
The Power and Control Wheel represents the lived experience of women who live with a man who beats them. It does not attempt to give a broad understanding of all violence in the home or community but instead offers a more precise explanation of the tactics men use to batter women. We keep our focus on women’s experience because the battering of women by men continues to be a significant social problem–men commit 86 to 97 percent of all criminal assaults and women are killed 3.5 times more often than men in domestic homicides1.

When women use violence in an intimate relationship, the context of that violence tends to differ from men. First, men’s use of violence against women is learned and reinforced through many social, cultural and institutional avenues, while women’s use of violence does not have the same kind of societal support. Secondly, many women who do use violence against their male partners are being battered. Their violence is primarily used to respond to and resist the controlling violence being used against them. On the societal level, women’s violence against men has a trivial effect on men compared to the devastating effect of men’s violence against women.

Battering in same-sex intimate relationships has many of the same characteristics of battering in heterosexual relationships, but happens within the context of the larger societal oppression of same-sex couples. Resources that describe same-sex domestic violence have been developed by specialists in that field such as The Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse, www.nwnetwork.org

Making the Power and Control Wheel gender neutral would hide the power imbalances in relationships between men and women that reflect power imbalances in society. By naming the power differences, we can more clearly provide advocacy and support for victims, accountability and opportunities for change for offenders, and system and societal changes that end violence against women.

The wheel makes the pattern, intent and impact of violence visible.