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Date Rape

Causes of Date Rape
Effects of taking Rohypnol
How to Protect Yourself
How to Know if You've Been Slipped a Drug
What to Do if You are the Victim of Date Rape
Tips to Remember


The words "date" and "rape" are not words that we should ever have to associate together.  When you think of "date", you think of dinner and a movie, or a picnic at the beach, and when you think about the word "rape", you want to picture a dark alley in a deserted part of town and a slimy man with a mask.

In reality, though, 90 percent of rapes are not reported and in 60 percent of those cases that are reported, the victim knew her assailant.  A study by the National Center for the Prevention and Control of Rape showed that 92 percent of adolescent rape victims said that they were acquainted with their attackers.[1]

According to a report done by the National Institute of Justice, it is estimated that approximately 5% of college women were raped in a one-year period.[2] On a college campus of 10,000 that would mean that 500 women were victimized during a single year.

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Causes of Date Rape

There are many causes for date rape, but none of them fault the victim.  Common causes include:

  • "Miscommunication"-- she said "no", but he heard "maybe".
  • Drug or alcohol abuse-- after a few too many drinks it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between what we should be doing and what we are doing.
  • Men who do not respect women-- men who carry a stereotype of women as being weak or incapable of speaking for themselves often will not respect a woman's wishes with regard to sex, as well as other issues.

One of the most common associated risks for date rape is alcohol and drug abuse.  In college, date rape is most common at parties or in situations where one or both people involved will be drinking.

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In recent years, it has become increasingly popular for men to "spike" women's drinks with what have come to be known as   "date-rape drugs".  These drugs are commonly known as:

  • roofies
  • rophies
  • R2
  • roofenol
  • Roche
  • roachies
  • la rocha
  • rope
  • rib
  • circles
  • Mexican valium
  • roach-2
  • ropies

The technical name is Rohypnol.

Rohypnol has surfaced as part of the party scene and is prescribed as a sleeping pill in other countries.  Because it is prescribed as treatment for insomnia and as a sedative, its effects are similar to those of Valium (diazepam), but is about ten times stronger.

If the drug makes its way into your drink there is no way that you will be able to tell until it's too late because you cannot taste or smell it; once hidden in your drink it becomes undetectable.  The best way to protect yourself from this kind of drug-induced date rape is to be aware.  Don't leave your drink unattended and watch your drink to make sure no one slips anything into it.

At a party where drugs are present, you can recognize Rohypnol because it is white, scored on one side with the word "ROCHE" and is encircled either once or twice on the other side, depending on the dosage of the pill.[3]

Rohypnol is illegal in the United States.  However, it is produced and sold legally by prescription in Europe and Latin America, and is smuggled into our country.

Rohypnol IS POPULAR because it is inexpensive--sold at less than $05.00 per tablet.

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Effects of taking Rohypnol
  • impaired judgement and motor skills
  • Combining alcohol and Rohypnol is particularly hazardous because together, they have a much greater effect on memory and judgement.
  • Effects begin within thirty minutes, peak within two hours, and can persist for up to eight hours.
  • The combination of alcohol and Rohypnol can cause "blackouts" lasting eight to twenty-four hours.
  • Loss of inhibitions (losing your social inhibitions and judgement) is another widely reported effect of Rohypnol, when taken alone or in combination with alcohol.
  • decreased blood pressure
  • memory impairment
  • drowsiness
  • visual disturbances
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • urine retention

Rohypnol is the "date rape drug" because it is both odorless and tasteless, so it is easy to slip into a drink without your noticing.

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How to Protect Yourself

Never trust someone you just met to get a drink for you.  Always go to the bar yourself and watch carefully as your drink is made.

Do not put down a drink and walk away, even to go to the bathroom, if you want to continue drinking it later.

If you are standing in a crowd, hold the glass with your hand over the top so no one can have access to it without your noticing.

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How to Know if You've Been Slipped a Drug

Mostof the time you will not know until it's too late.  About ten minutes after ingesting the drug, you may feel dizzy and disoriented, simultaneously too hot and too cold, or nauseated.  You may experience difficulty speaking and moving, and then pass out.  Such victims have no memories of what happened while under the drug's influence.

The best action to take if you begin to notice these symptoms in yourself is to find a friend or call 911 immediately.

For more information on Rohypnol see:

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What to Do if You are the Victim of Date Rape


Phone the police, a friend, a rape crisis center or a relative.

Don't isolate yourself, feel guilty, or attempt to forget what happened.

Rape is a crime.  Often, the only evidence you have is on your body.  Therefore, it is important that no matter how dirty you feel, do not shower or change your clothes until you have talked to the police or a rape counselor.

If your friend is the victim of date rape:

Encourage her to talk about what happened and convince her to seek professional help.  Believe what she says and convince her that you know it's not her fault.   You may be tempted to forget about it if she want to, but these crimes affect how we think about ourselves and how we approach relationships with others.  In the long run, it is more harmful to pretend it never happened than to make him pay for violating her and not respecting her wishes.

Be smart.  Do not put yourself in a situation that you are not comfortable with.  Pay attention to signals he puts out about his values and views of women.  If you get the sense that he is not listening to you, taking what you say to heart, or if he makes degrading comments to you, leave!  Find an excuse to leave the party, end the date early, or whatever else it takes to get you out of the situation.

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Tips to Remember

Always bring enough cash with you so that you can take a taxi or subway home if you need to.

Never rely on him completely--be self-sufficient and he will know that you mean business.

Be aware of your surroundings.  If you have been drinking, do not leave the party to be alone.

Make yourself clearly understood from the start.  Do not lead him into thinking that you will sleep with him, unless you plan to.  Some men will take a "yes" early on in the date as meaning "yes" later, even if you have changed your mind.

Trust your gut feelings.  If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and smells like a duck, then it's a duck.

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[1]April 9, 1984 and taken from



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