Defining Sexual Assault and Prevention

Sexual assault feels uncomfortable to discuss especially if you or a loved fell victim to this violent crime. Women’s Care Florida stays committed to keeping women healthy and safe. Therefore, we fight to raise awareness about it in defining sexual assault and prevention. To understand more about sexual assault, read through the educational resources below. If you have concerns about the health risks associated with sexual assault, make an appointment with us today.

Sexual assault defined

When defining sexual assault, think of any sexual activity in which you say no or disagree with. Sexual assault can include rape or attempted rape, inappropriate touching of your body, sexual advances, or sexual contact or molestation. Furthermore, a stranger or someone you know such as a date, friend, or family member can all instigate sexual assault.

Facts to know about sexual assault:

  • Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.
  • Only six out of every 1,000 offenders end up in prison.
  • Hundreds of thousands of individuals are sexually assaulted every year.
  • However, the majority of victims and bystanders never report these crimes to the police.

How to handle sexual assault

If you are sexually assaulted, then distance yourself from the offender as quickly as possible. Find somewhere safe. Call a trusted friend or family member, or call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. Then, await further instructions so you can take care of yourself and pursue criminal charges as needed.

If you experienced sexual contact with the offender, such as rape or attempted rape, go to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. Don’t change clothing or cleanse yourself in any way before getting help to avoid removing any evidence. Hospitals will conduct a medical examination, treat any injuries, and screen you for sexually transmitted infections.

However, many hospitals do not provide rape kits. While current legislation aims to change that in the next several years, the hospital will point you in the direction on how and where to obtain one.

Prevention tips

Prevent is part of defining sexual assault. Not everyone can prevent incidents of sexual assault. However, you can minimize your risk as much as possible in a couple of ways. Practice the following tips to help prevent it from happening:

  • Know your limits with alcohol consumption. Drinking to the point of intoxication can lower your inhibitions. This leaves you more vulnerable to attacks, especially when leaving bars and going home. If you are out drinking, try to travel with friends and avoid walking anywhere alone. Remember, even if you were drinking alcohol, rape is not your fault.
  • Have your car keys in hand and ready when walking to your vehicle. This helps prevent you from fumbling and looking for keys when you’re vulnerable and unprepared for an attack. Plus, keys can be used as a weapon against your attacker.
  • Avoid talking on your mobile phone when walking alone in a secluded area. Your voice can alert offenders of your location, and your phone conversation can prevent you from staying aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep doors to your home locked at all times. Don’t open the door to strangers, or to people you don’t know or trust.
  • Don’t walk or exercise in secluded places alone — especially if you’re listening to headphones. This prevents you from being aware of your surroundings, and of approaching offenders.
  • Consider obtaining something to defend yourself such as pepper spray. Keep it near you at all times. As stated above, many offenders can be people you know and trust.

The aftermath

If you’ve been sexually assaulted, you may experience feelings of fear, sadness, confusion, anger, or shame. While these feelings are normal, don’t let your emotions prevent you from reporting the crime, or from visiting a healthcare provider. Your gynecologist has resources that can help you if you’ve been sexually assaulted. Lastly, sexual assault can affect you mentally and emotionally. The Crisis Center offers many resources to those looking to get help.

If you have concerns about the health risks associated with sexual assault, then make an appointment with Women’s Care Florida.

How to Avoid Getting Roofied

When learning about date rape, it’s easy to shrug off the facts and act like it won’t happen to you. However, it can happen to anyone. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself about the social and root causes of this violent crime. At Women’s Care Florida, we believe that knowledge is power. Knowing the causes of date rape can potentially help you learn how to avoid getting roofied and other date rape drug prevention.

Defining date rape

Rape is defined as any non-consensual contact or sexual activity that a person does not agree to. We define date rape as sexual assault by someone you know, like a boyfriend, or someone you recently met, even an acquaintance.

Furthermore, date rape drugs cause impairment or loss of consciousness, thereby facilitating the assault. When you least expect it, offenders slip them into your drink. This commonly happens in places that serve alcohol and at parties. However, this can occur in other places with other types of drinks as well, including water. These tasteless substances can either make you physically weak or render you unconscious so a person can take advantage of you sexually.

Remember, even if you drank alcohol, rape is not your fault.

Learning about common date rape drugs

In most cases, date rape drugs have no distinctive scents, tastes, or colors. This makes it difficult to know how to avoid getting roofied. Additionally, these drugs can make it difficult or impossible for you to remember what happened after the crime was committed. In learning about date rape drug prevention, you should know the different types of drugs used.

Rohypnol

Rohypnol, also known as roofies, is a benzodiazepine prescription pill that is not approved for medical use in the United States. People feel the drug’s effects within 30 minutes and can last for up to several hours. The drug causes you to feel sleepy, weak, confused, and forgetful. It also renders you unable to move your body.

Ingesting date rape drugs is also known as getting roofied. The word roofie comes from the drug Rohypnol. However, other date rape drugs exist as well.

GHB

GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) is also known as cherry meth or goop and is prescribed for a sleep disorder called narcolepsy. It goes into effect within 15 to 30 minutes and can affect you for up to six hours. The side effects of GHB are vomiting, slowed heart rate, and difficulty with breathing, and the drug can lead to coma or death when consumed in high doses.

Ketamine

Ketamine, also known as cat valium, is an anesthetic that reduces pain and overall feeling, produces feelings of detachment, and distorts perceptions of sight and sound. The effects of ketamine often last for between 30 and 60 minutes and cause symptoms such as nausea, increased blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and hallucinations.

Avoiding date rape drugs

Date rape drugs are typically added to drinks in social settings. Know instances exist where nonalcoholic drinks are drugged in settings with only one or two friends. Here are some tips you can follow to learn how to avoid getting roofied and lower your risk for date rape.

  • Confirm that your drink is being served directly by the bartender or server. Don’t allow people you don’t know or trust to order drinks and deliver them to you.
  • Watch your drink at all times. Never leave your drink unattended.
  • Keep your hand covered over your drink when you’re not looking at it. Many creative inventions exist that can help you cover your drink.
  • Take your drink with you to the restroom.
  • Get help immediately if you start feeling dizzy, nauseated, light-headed, or strange in any other way.
  • Stick with your friends, and create a buddy system to prevent getting separated from the group for an extended period of time.
  • Test your drink with test strips or nail polish that light up a certain color if they detect drugs.

If you’ve been a victim of sexual assault or date rape, or you wake up without remembering a certain period of time, seek medical help immediately. Call emergency services at 911, or have a friend take you to the nearest emergency room.

Make an appointment with an OB/GYN today at Women’s Care Florida if you have questions about date rape drug prevention or concerns about the health risks associated with date rape.