Intoxicant Facilitated Assault

When drugs or alcohol are used to intoxicate an individual, in order to make them vulnerable by compromising their ability to offer free and full consent to sexual activity, it is called sexual assault facilitated by intoxication. It is carried out by administering substances that can:
- inhibit an individual’s mental and / or physical abilities, and/or
- prevent them from resisting, and/or
- prevent them from remembering the assault

Intoxicating substances can include everything from sleep inducing medication, to drugs and alcohol. It can be administered by anyone - a stranger or a person you know. It happens in two forms - one, where the perpetrator takes advantage of the individual’s voluntary use of drugs or alcohol, and two, where the use of drugs or alcohol is forcefully administered or administered without the individual’s knowledge. Some of the common drugs used include sleep medication, anxiety medication, tranquilizers, street drugs, rohypnol (roofie) among others. Some of these substances are hard to detect in your drink - they can be added without being detected since they do not alter the odour or colour of the beverage they are added to.

The effects on the individual may differ from drug to drug. Some may be unnoticeable, and some may be very obviously apparent immediately. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with warning signs to watch out for, both, for yourself and for others. If you’ve been caught in a situation where you suspect you have been drugged, always be sure to call on someone you trust. If you find another person in such a situation, take steps to support them by calling on support to back you up. (Read the section on bystander intervention)

Some of the warning signs to watch out for are:
1) Difficulty in breathing, choking or suffocation
2) Feeling intoxicated
3) Loss of bladder control
4) Loss of bowel control
5) Giddiness / Dizziness / Headaches
6) Nausea
7) Sudden chills / Sudden sweats
8) Blurred vision
9) Waking with no memory, or missing large portions of memories

When one faces intoxicant-facilitated sexual assault, it is important to preserve evidence for an investigation if you choose to pursue the case to press charges. Drugs can leave the system within twelve to seventy-two hours, so it is a good idea to save urine samples in clean, sealable containers - and save them in a freezer until you get to go to a hospital. Otherwise, head to the nearest hospital and have your blood and urine tested for substances.

aIf you were intoxicated and faced sexual assault, it is NOT YOUR FAULT. You are not to blame for being intoxicated or for the sexual assault. You have every right to report the assault that happened to you, and you are entitled to all the care and support you need to attend to the impact of the sexual assault.

In the Media

Chennai, India