A new survey of three U.S. college campuses and 6,064 students has shed a disturbing light on date rape — when someone spikes a drink with a sedative drug like Rohypnol to sexually assault a semi-unconscious victim. The results? Date rape is far more rampant on college campuses across the country than previously thought.
Of the participants — who all attended either the University of South Carolina, the University of Kentucky or the University of Cincinnati — almost 8% reported having their drink drugged and 1.4% admitted to drugging someone else or knowing someone who had drugged someone else. About 79% of people drugged were women.
In a 2008 National Institute of Justice survey asking 5,446 participants about sexual assault while in college, less than 1% of those assaulted reported a "drug-facilitated without victim's knowledge" case.
Female participants in the recent survey who reported being drugged were almost three times more likely to have experienced an "unwanted sexual experience" than men who reported being drugged.
When it came to reasons why someone would spike another person's drink, male participants were more likely to say it was for "fun" or as a "joke;" female participants were more likely to say the drugging was about making it easier to sexually assault someone.
One male respondent, who reported that he "had drugged someone, or knew a drugger," said, "I put happiness in their drinks."
One female respondent, who reportedly knew someone who drugged another person, said, "He wanted to have sex with her, but she had been refusing him for a while."
The drugging most commonly occurred in someone's home or apartment, followed by either at a fraternity or a bar.
According to the survey, the most common drugs used were roofies, or Rohypnol, and Xanax. Typically, these drugs are undetectable to the naked eye and flavorless.
Often, the victim's memory of the experience is wiped out. "I only had one drink and blacked out completely," one female respondent said.
"When I woke up, I was naked next to someone I didn't know," she reported. "He was really rude when I woke up and left the house. I felt really strange, like I was in a dream just watching everything happen."