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 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.







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.




  • 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


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.




  • 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.



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.


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.




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


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.




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


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.



Rape Myths

Rape Myths
Myths are attitudes and beliefs that are prejudicial, stereotyped, and false, but are widely accepted. Many rape myths exist, but they tend to fall into three categories:
Blaming the victim
• Excusing the perpetrator
• Justifying the rape
Myth #1: The motivating force behind sexual assault is sexual desire.

Fact: Rape has nothing to do with sexual attraction. It is about power and control, humiliation, and degradation. Sexual violence is the avenue used to achieve these goals. One of the oldest victims at the YWCA was a 90-year-old woman and the youngest victim was a 6-month-old baby. The common characteristic between these two victims is vulnerability, Rapists target people they view as vulnerable. Both males and females can be rape victims.
Myth #2: Sexual assaults are perpetrated mostly by strangers outside at night (i.e. parking lot, back alley, behind bushes, or deserted area).
Fact: This is the stereotype of rape and does not describe the typical rape. In 86% of all rapes, the victim knows the offender. A perpetrator can be a boyfriend (57% of all rapes occur in the context of a date), a friend, relative, neighbor, or other acquaintance. Almost half of all rapes (42%) occur in the victim’s own home.
Myth #3: Physioal violence is always involved with a sexual assault. The victim will have bruises on their body if they were really assaulted.

Fact: Most rapes do not involve a high level of physical violence. Psychological strategies (i.e. intimidation, emotional blackmail, pressuring, threats, bribery, lying, and/or manipulation) are the most common techniques used by perpetrators. Most perpetrators will not utilize physical force until psychological strategies have failed. Most victims do not walk away with bruises, cuts, or torn clothing. Victims often do not look “battered.”

Myth #4: During a sexual encounter, a person can become carried away and unable to control his or her actions. Rapists cannot stop themselves once they become aroused.

Fact: Yes, men are capable of stopping. They CAN STOP if they care about or respect the other person.

Myth #5: You can tell simply from another person’s actions or way of dressing that she or he wants to have sex with you.

Fact: You can never assume what someone wants according to his/her appearance. It is an insult to assume that men have no self-control. An attractive person does not compel someone to ‘attack’ him/her. They may be attracted to someone but that does not mean they have to act on it.

Myth #6: Some people ask to be raped or sexually assaulted and are at fault for whatever happens.
Fact: People may make poor judgments but no one ever DESERVES to be a victim of sexual assault. Rape has nothing to do with circumstances or the victim’s reputation and/or appearance.

Myth #7: Women make up accusations of rape against men to get revenge.

Fact: False reporting is less than 2% (no different from other crimes). Rape is tremendously underreported.

Myth #8: Rapists are severely disturbed men.

Fact: Perpetrators may test higher on aggression and their tendency to use violence. Generally, rapists test “normal” on psychological testing.

The Facts about Sexual Violence

The Facts

Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Several myths exist about sexual assault. These myths often shift responsibility and blame from the assailant to the victim. Understanding the myths surrounding sexual assault may help you in your recovery. What happened to you was a crime. You are not to blame for the assailant’s behavior.

Myth: Rape is caused by the perpetrator’s uncontrollable sexual urge.
Fact: Rape is an act of power and control, not sex.

Myth: Individuals who commit rape are mentally ill or psychotic and cannot help themselves.
Fact: Very few perpetrators are mentally incompetent and/or out of touch with reality. Rapes may be planned or carried out by acquaintances, intimate partners, family members or strangers.

Myth: The victim must have “asked for it” by being seductive, careless, drunk, high, etc…
Fact: No one asks to be abused, injured, or humiliated. This line of thought blames the victim for what happened instead of the perpetrator who chose to commit the crime. Individuals of all ages, from all walks of life, have been the targets of sexual assault. Not one of them “caused” their assailant to commit a crime against them.

Myth: If women would just stop drinking so much, they wouldn’t be sexually assaulted.
Fact: Alcohol is a weapon that some perpetrators use to control their victim and render them helpless. As part of their plan, an assailant may encourage the victim to use alcohol, or identify an individual who is already drunk. Alcohol is not a cause of rape; it is only one of many tools that perpetrators use.

Myth: If the victim did not physically struggle with or fight the assailant, it wasn’t really rape.
Fact: Assailants are not looking for a fight and they use many forms of coercion, threats and manipulation to rape. Alcohol and other drugs such as rophypnol (roofies) are often used to incapacitate victims. Michigan law defines sexual assault by the action of the perpetrator, not the victim. In fact, there is a specific law that says that the victim need not have resisted the perpetrator in order for it to be considered rape.

Myth: Most perpetrators are strangers to their victims.
Fact: Most rapes are committed by someone that the victim knows: a neighbor, friend, acquaintance, co-worker, classmate, spouse, partner, or ex-partner.

Myth: Serial Rapists are uncommon.
Fact: Most every perpetrator is a serial rapist, meaning that they choose to use coercion, violence, threats or force, etc., to assault women on a repeated basis.

Myths and Facts: Why do domestic violence perpetrators do what they do?

Commonly held misconceptions about why batterers batter
Alcohol and/or drugs cause the violence
• Stress causes the violence
• Uncontrollable anger
• The batterer witnessed his father abusing his mother
Why do batterers batter?
• Because they can
• Because it gets them what they want
• Opportunity and self-interest
Common characteristics of batterers:
• Exhibits discrepancy between public and private behavior
• Uses obfuscation to minimize or confuse survivor about behavior
• Externalizes by blaming others and using external factors to justify behavior
• Uses controlling behaviors to get survivor to do, or stop doing, something
• Feels a strong sense of ownership over the survivor
• May use controlled substances
• Is resistant to change
Factors that increase the likelihood of male violence against women
• Ideology of familial patriarchy
• Male peer support
• Alcohol consumption/use
• Exposure to pornographic media


We live in a society where:
° Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. (Population Reports, Series L, No. 11, December 1999).
o Seventy-eight percent of stalking victims are women. Women are significantly more likely than men (60% and 30%, respectively) to be stalked by intimate partners. (Center for Policy Research, Stalking in America, July 1997).
o Intimate partner violence is primarily a crime against women. In 1999, women accounted for 85 percent of the victims. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993-99, October 2001).
o On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day. In 1999, 1,642 murders were attributed to intimates; 74 percent of the murder victims were women. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993-99, October 2001).
MCADSV New Service Provider Training Manual and Resource Guide (May 2006)
• Hold rigid sex role stereotypes

Warning Signs
• History of Violence
Substance abuse
• Breaks or strikes things in anger
• Jealousy
• Controlling Behavior
• Quick Involvement
• Unrealistic Expectations
• Isolation
• Use of Privilege
Cruelty to Animals or Children
• Rape or use of force in sex
• Blames others for Problems
• Blames others for Feelings

MCADSV New Service Provider Training Manual and Resource Guide (May 2006)

Introduction to Domestic Violence (PowerPoint Notes)

  • Introduction to Domestic Violence
  • Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behaviors carried out by one person in an intimate relationship to maintain power and control over their partner.
    Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay or lesbian; living together, separated or dating.  Violence takes many forms and can happen all the time or once in a while.  Abuse is not an accident.  It does not happen because someone was stressed out, drinking, or using drugs.  Abusers have learned to abuse, using their power to get what they want.  The abuse may be physical, sexual, emotional, economic and psychological.
  • “Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behaviors, some of which are criminal, that includes but is not limited to physical assaults, sexual assaults, emotional abuse, isolation, economic coercion, threats, stalking and intimidation.  These behaviors are used by the batterer in an effort to control the intimate partner.  The behavior may be directed at others with the effect of controlling the intimate partner.”  Batterer Intervention Standards for the State of Michigan, 4.1 (January 20, 1999).*

    Battering is a choice, it is used by one person in an intimate partner relationship to maintain power and control over their partner.
  • Domestic violence crosses all ethnic, racial, age, national origin, sexual orientation, religious, and socioeconomic lines. Domestic violence can happen to anybody.  In fact, studies suggest that one-fifth to one-third of all women will be physically assaulted by a partner or ex-partner during their lifetime.  In heterosexual relationships, 95 percent of all victims are female; and 95 percent of all perpetrators are male.  In same-sex relationships, domestic violence happens with the same statistical frequency as in heterosexual relationships.

    Women living in poverty experience violence by their partners at higher rates partially because they have fewer options.  (Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence).
  • Domestic Violence Victims (Survivors)
    Anyone can be a victim!  Victims can be any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment or marital status.  Although both men and women can be abused, most victims are women.  Children in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and/or neglected.  Most children in these homes know about violence.  Even if a child is not physically harmed, they may have emotional and behavioral problems.  NO ONE DESERVES TO BE ABUSED.  THE ONLY PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR ABUSE IS THE ABUSER.
  • Domestic Abusers
    There is no “typical” abuser.  In public, they may appear friendly and loving to their partner and family.  They often only abuse behind closed doors.  They also try to hide the abuse by causing injuries that can be hidden and do not need medical attention.  Abusers often have low self-esteem.  They do not take responsibility for their actions.  They often blame the victim for causing the violence.  In most cases, men abuse female victims.
  • Survivor vs. Victim
    We use the term “survivor” due to our emphasis on empowerment advocacy.  This happens when the advocate offers support, resources, advocacy, information and education.
    This is a way of recognizing strength, courage and survival strategies of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.
    Not all women who have experienced domestic or sexual violence see themselves as “survivors.”  Remember: Domestic violence and sexual assault is something that happens to individuals, it does not define who they are.
    MCADSV New Service Provider Training Manual and Resource Guide (May 2006).
  • We are a ‘movement’ and our work is different than that of traditional social services in that
    –Focus on survivors’ strengths
    –Do not believe we are the “experts”
    –Are survivor-driven not service-driven
    –Understand that violence could happen to any of us
    –Are non-directive in our approach to working with survivors
    Instead of viewing victims/survivors as “sick” or pathological, we believe that survivors are simply reacting in adaptive ways to oppressive societal conditions, restrictive sex roles, and the abusive
    intimate partners in their lives.
  • Power and Control Violence can be both Physical & Sexual
    •Emotional abuse
    •Minimizing, Denying, and Blaming
    •Using Children
    •Economic Abuse
    •Male Privilege
    •Coercion & Threats
  • 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.

  • Why Women Stay
    The Barriers to Leaving
    One of the most frustrating things for people outside a battering relationship is trying to understand why a woman doesn’t just leave.  The most important thing to keep in mind is that extreme emotional abuse is always present in domestic violence situations.  On average, an abused woman will leave her partner 6-8 times.  The reasons they return or stay in the relationship vary from case to case.  Some of these include:
  • Situational Factors
    Economic dependence.  How can she support herself and the children?
    Fear of greater physical danger to herself and her children if they try to leave.
    Fear of being hunted down and suffering a worse beating than before.
    Survival.  Fear that her partner will follow her and kill her if she leaves, often based on real threats by her partner.
    Fear of emotional damage to the children.
    Fear of losing custody of the children, often based on her partner’s remarks.
    Lack of alternative housing; she has nowhere else to go.
    Lack of job skills; she might not be able to get a job.
    Social Isolation resulting in lack of support from family and friends.
    Social Isolation resulting in lack of information about her alternatives.
    Lack of Understanding from family, friends, police, ministers, etc.

    Negative Responses from community, police, courts, social workers, etc.

    Fear of involvement in the court process; she may have had bad experiences before
    Fear of the unknown.  “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”
    Fear of ambivalence over making formidable life changes.
    •“Acceptable Violence.”  The violence escalates slowly over time.  Living with constant abuse numbs the victim so that she is unable to recognize that she is involved in a set pattern of abuse.
    Ties to the Community.  The children would have to leave their school; she would have to leave all her friends and neighbors behind, etc.  For some women it would be like being in the Witness Protection program-she could never have any contact with her old life.
    Ties to her home and belongings.
    Family Pressure; because Mom always said, “I told you it wouldn’t work out” or “You made your bed, now sleep in it.”
    Fear of her abuser doing something to get her (report her to welfare, call her workplace, etc.).
    Time needed to plan and prepare to leave.
  • Emotional Factors
    Insecurity about being alone, on her own; she’s afraid she can’t cope with home and children by herself.
    Loyalty. “He’s sick; if he had a broken leg or cancer-I would stay.  This is no different.”
    Pity. He’s worse off than she is; she feels sorry for him.
    Wanting to help. “If I stay I can help him get better.”
    Fear that he will commit suicide if she leaves (often he’s told her this).
    Denial.  “It’s really not that bad.  Other people have it worse.”
    Love. Often, the abuser is quite loving and lovable when he is not being abusive.
    Love, especially during the “honeymoon” stage; she remembers what he used to be like.
    Guilt. She believes-and her partner and the other significant others are quick to agree-that their problems are her fault.
    Shame and Humiliation in front of the community.  “I don’t want anyone else to know.”
    Unfounded Optimism that things will get better, despite all evidence to the contrary
    •Learned Helplessness. Trying every possible method to change something in our environment, but with no success, so that we eventually expect to fail. Feeling helpless is a war, people taken hostage, people living in poverty who cannot get work, etc.
    •False Hope. “He’s starting to do things I’ve been asking for.” (counseling, anger management, things she sees as a chance of improvement).
    •Guilt. She believes that the violence is caused through some inadequacy of her own (she is often told this); feels as though she deserves it for failing.
    •Responsibility. She feels as though she only needs to meet some set of vague expectations in order to earn the abuser’s approval.
    •Insecurity over her potential independence and lack of emotional support.
    •Guilt about the failure of the marriage/relationship.
    •Demolished Self-Esteem. “I thought I was too (fat, stupid, ugly, whatever he’s been calling her) to leave.
    •Lack of emotional support-she feels like she’s doing this on her own and it’s just too much.
    •Simple Exhaustion. She’s just too tired and worn out from the abuse to leave.
  • Personal Beliefs
    Parenting, needing a partner for the kids.  “A crazy father is better than none at all.”
    Religious and Extended Family Pressure to keep the family together no matter what.
    Duty. “I swore to stay married till death do us part.”
    Responsibility. It is up to her to work things out and save the relationship.
    Belief in the American dream of growing up and living happily ever after.
    Identity. Women are raised to feel they need a partner-even an abusive one-in order to be complete or accepted by society.
    Belief that marriage if forever.
    Belief that violence is the way all partners relate (often this woman has come from a violent childhood).
    Religious and Cultural Beliefs.
  • Myths and Facts
    Why do domestic violence perpetrators do what they do?
    Commonly held misconceptions about why batterers batter
    –Alcohol and/or drugs cause the violence
    –Stress causes the violence
    –Uncontrollable anger
    –The batterer witnessed his father abusing his mother
  • Factors that increase the likelihood of male violence against women
    •Ideology of familial patriarchy
    •Male peer support
    •Alcohol consumption/use
    •Exposure to pornographic media
    •Hold rigid sex role stereotypes
  • Why do batterers batter?
    –Because they can
    –Because it gets them what they want (power & control)
    –Opportunity and self-interest
  • We live in a society where:
    –Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. (Population Reports, Series L, No. 11, December 1999).
    –Seventy-eight percent of stalking victims are women.  Women are significantly more likely than men (60% and 30%, respectively) to be stalked by intimate partners.  (Center for Policy Research, Stalking in America, July 1997).
    –Intimate partner violence is primarily a crime against women.  In 1999, women accounted for 85 percent of the victims. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993-99, October 2001).
    –On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day.  In 1999, 1,642 murders were attributed to intimates; 74 percent of the murder victims were women. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993-99, October 2001).
  • Common characteristics of batterers:

    •Exhibits discrepancy between public and private behavior

    •Uses puzzlement to minimize or confuse survivor about behavior
    •Externalizes by blaming others and using external factors to justify behavior
    •Uses controlling behaviors to get survivor to do, or stop doing, something
    •Feels a strong sense of ownership over the survivor
    •May use controlled substances
    •Is resistant to change
  • Warning Signs
    •History of Violence
    •Substance abuse
    •Breaks or strikes things in anger
    •Controlling Behavior
    •Quick Involvement
    •Unrealistic Expectations
    •Use of Privilege
    •Cruelty to Animals or Children
    •Rape or use of force in sex
    •Blames others for Problems
    •Blames others for Feelings
  • If you have any questions, please contact
    • YWCA of Greater Flint
      310 E. Third St. Flint, Mi 48502
      Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services
    • 810-238-7621