Drug Assisted Rape

Drug assisted rape is 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.

Many different drugs are used to incapacitate a person or make them vulnerable to a sexual attack, however the most common is alcohol.

Drug-assisted rape is most commonly associated with perpetrators who are strangers to their victim(s), or recent acquaintances, but the forced misuse of tranquillisers and other prescribed drugs often takes place in violent relationships and/or is an aspect of the rape of women in their own homes.

Drugs, including alcohol, might have been administered to a woman without her knowledge or consent, or she might have willingly consumed alcohol or drugs. Regardless of the circumstances, 100% of the responsibility for any act of sexual violence lies with its perpetrator. There is no excuse for sexual violence – it can never be justified, it can never be explained away and there is no context in which it is valid, understandable or acceptable.

If a person is incapacitated through the consumption of drugs or alcohol, they are unable to consent to sex. Sex without consent is rape.

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

Advice for a night out

Watch out for your friends, and vice versa.  Always leave the party or bar together.  If a friend seems out of it, is way too drunk for the amount of alcohol they’ve had, or is acting out of character, get them to a safe place immediately.  If you think you or a friend has been drugged, call 999, and if you are in a pub, bar or club, alert security staff and management as soon as possible.

If you have been raped, or think you may have been:

  • Don’t be scared to report the incident to the police, even if you are a recreational drug user, or have few or no memories of the attack. The sooner it is reported, the greater the likelihood of the offender being brought to justice.
  • You will probably be suffering from trauma, and should seek medical attention and support, even if you do not want to report the attack to the police. WMRSASC can refer you to local services for confidential help and counselling.
  • Most drugs leave the body in less than 72 hours, so try not to urinate until you have had a medical examination, or keep a sample of your urine.
  • If your clothes etc have vomit on them, it may contain whatever drug was used, and should be kept as evidence.