Smart Safety

Date Rape Drugs

What are date rape drugs?  In recent years a new kind of rape threat has reared it's ugly head on campuses and in nightclubs - so called "predator" or "date rape" drugs. What exactly are date rape drugs? Technically speaking, any substance that renders you incapable of saying no or asserting yourself and your needs can be used to commit rape.

What are the effects date rape drugs? There are many factors that make these drugs desirable to sexual predators. The drugs are virtually undetectable; they are tasteless, odorless and colorless. All traces of the drugs will leave the body within 72 hours of ingestion and are not found in any routine toxicology screen or blood test - doctors and police have to be looking specifically for them and they have to look quickly!

Date rape drugs are easily slipped into drinks and food and are very fast acting. They render the victim unconscious but responsive with little or no memory of what happens while the drug is active in their system. The drugs also make the victim act without inhibition, often in a sexual or physically affectionate way.

Like most drugs, date rape drugs render a person incapable of thinking clearly or of making appropriate decision. This makes for a very passive victim; one who is still able to play a role in what is happening but who will have no clear memory of what happened after-the-fact. Without any memory of events the victim is often unaware that they have even been raped, and if they are aware or have suspicions they make very poor witnesses.

What can I do to protect myself?

Don't drink beverages that you did not open yourself.

Don't exchange or share drinks with anyone.

Don't take a drink from a punch bowl or other common source.

Don't drink from a container that is being passed around.

If someone offers you a drink, go with the person to order your drink, watch the drink being made, and carry the drink yourself.

Don't leave your drink unattended especially when talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call.

Don't drink anything that has an unusual taste or appearance... like a salty taste or unexplained residue.

Designate a sober friend to check-up on you and your friends.

-Leave the party with ALL of your friends!

- compiled by Student Development staff members

UD students share real advice

What I wish I would have known...

(Excerpted from the Women's Center Newsletter Issue #5)

When asked why they made the decision to attend UD, so many students report the supportive atmosphere and friendly community environment. With over 95% of students living on campus, UD is our neighborhood, our home, our family.

These sentiments make UD an amazing university, but they often leave us with a false sense of security as well.  Even the best of communities are subject to crime, and ours is no exception.

UD Public Safety bulletins have warned recently of several occurrences of public indecency and of students being harassed. What all of these incidents have in common is that the victims were women.

We've all heard one statistic or another, such as the fact that 1.3 women are raped every minute in the United States or that one in every four college women has been the victim of some sexual assault.

The goal is not to instill fear, but to make people—and especially women—aware of the dangers that they face. Being aware and prepared for any danger is the biggest key to avoiding becoming a victim.

According to many statistics, freshman women during their first semesters are the individuals most vulnerable to crime on college campuses. Many freshman women and other new students here at UD simply aren't aware of the dangers they face and don't know what they can do to protect themselves.

We all know that our beloved Ghetto (UD Student Neighborhood) is far from the crime-filled streets of New York or Los Angeles, but keeping safe is important no matter where you are. To see what other women on campus do to keep safe, we asked what they themselves wished they had known about Ghetto safety coming to UD...

Make sure you and your roommates/housemates lock the doors when you leave, so you don't have to worry about coming home to an unlocked house. -Senior

When I go for a walk or run in the evening, I never go by myself.  If I have to go by myself, it is usually safer just to go to the PAC to workout.  And when walking to my car at night that's parked in an alleyway, I always walk with my keys held out just as a precaution. -Senior

One good investment is a whistle for key chains. I purchased a pretty little green whistle ....for 99-cents and it packs quite a punch. Anytime you get in a situation that is less than comfortable or safe, this can be an effective deterrent from any would-be aggressors. I have used mine more than once. -Senior

Never walk alone and don't walk through the alleys. If you have to walk alone, make sure someone knows that you are coming or leaving. We also have a Women's Self Defense class, which I didn't know about until I signed up for it.  -Senior

I have learned that it is important for women to walk around with their head up, shoulders back and a look of confidence about them. I think females can be targeted more by males when they walk with their heads down or do not make eye contact with passersby. -Senior

I would advise women to always take a friend to those random parties that everyone is invited to. Also never ever allow a friend to walk ...home alone. Cars pull up and it would be easy to grab someone and hit the highway before anyone even noticed. -Senior

I knew one of the girls from last year that was running and got attacked.  My suggestion is to not go running early in the morning or late at night without someone else.  It never hurts to be cautious. -Sophomore

You need someone with you at parties who makes you think twice before deciding to go home with a guy, or go anywhere with a guy for that matter, when you've been drinking and can't really make that kind of decision.       -Junior

Have a friend that you know will look out for you at parties/bars/etc (and look after her too!) try to NEVER walk alone after dark! -Senior

Cover you drinks and get your own drinks.  Don't bring a purse...pockets are safer. Don't walk home alone. Carry Mace. Don't stare at the tennis shoes. Rapists tend to go for women doing something to distract them-- cell phones, make up, digging for keys.  Pay attention to your surroundings! -Junior

As a freshman, people always told me to not get caught in "freshman herds or packs" but I've found the opposite to be true for safety. So many of the campus safety bulletins apply to women who are walking by themselves very late or early in the morning. My advice is to always walk in numbers and to be aware of your surroundings and always have a designated walker (a sober person to make sure everyone gets from place to place and back to their room). And not only that but if you choose to drink, make sure its in a house where you know and trust the people because I've heard too many times of girls being "fair game" if they pass out in an unfamiliar house, and so many of these incidents go unreported.

Also, for freshman girls I would advise them to have a floor program with their R.A. about sexual harassment and sexual conduct... -Sophomore

My best advice for women on campus would be to NEVER walk alone, particularly at night, because most of the violations that have occurred have been at night when women were by themselves.  That seems to be the easiest target for predators. -Junior

For more tips visit the UD Public Safety Website at http://www.udayton.edu/publicsafety/