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Intoxicant facilitated assault

When drugs or alcohol are used to intoxicate an individual, in order to make them vulnerable by compromising their ability to offer free and full consent to sexual activity, it is called sexual assault facilitated by intoxication. It is carried out by administering substances that can: - inhibit an individual’s mental and / or physical abilities, and/or - prevent them from resisting, and/or - prevent them from remembering the assault Intoxicating substances can include everything from sleep inducing medication, to drugs and alcohol. It can be administered by anyone - a stranger or a person you know. It happens in two forms - one, where the perpetrator takes advantage of the individual’s voluntary use of drugs or alcohol, and two, where the use of drugs or alcohol is forcefully administered or administered without the individual’s knowledge. Some of the common drugs used include sleep medication, anxiety medication, tranquilizers, street drugs, rohypnol (roofie) among others. Some of these substances are hard to detect in your drink - they can be added without being detected since they do not alter the odour or colour of the beverage they are added to. The effects on the individual may differ from drug to drug. Some may be unnoticeable, and some may be very obviously apparent immediately. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with warning signs to watch out for, both, for yourself and for others. If you’ve been caught in a situation where you suspect you have been drugged, always be sure to call on someone you trust. If you find another person in such a situation, take steps to support them by calling on support to back you up. (Read the section on bystander intervention) Some of the warning signs to watch out for are: 1) Difficulty in breathing, choking or suffocation 2) Feeling intoxicated 3) Loss of bladder control 4) Loss of bowel control 5) Giddiness / Dizziness / Headaches 6) Nausea 7) Sudden chills / Sudden sweats 8) Blurred vision 9) Waking with no memory, or missing large portions of memories When one faces intoxicant-facilitated sexual assault, it is important to preserve evidence for an investigation if you choose to pursue the case to press charges. Drugs can leave the system within twelve to seventy-two hours, so it is a good idea to save urine samples in clean, sealable containers - and save them in a freezer until you get to go to a hospital. Otherwise, head to the nearest hospital and have your blood and urine tested for substances. If you were intoxicated and faced sexual assault, it is NOT YOUR FAULT. You are not to blame for being intoxicated or for the sexual assault. You have every right to report the assault that happened to you, and you are entitled to all the care and support you need to attend to the impact of the sexual assault.

Safety With Alcohol

Alcohol can be an inhibitor in an individual’s physical and mental abilities - oftentimes making an individual vulnerable to assault. Legally, a person who is under the influence of alcohol is considered to be one who cannot give consent fully and freely. Given that an individual is in a vulnerable state, perpetrators can commit a crime against the individual, and in some instances, even prevent them from remembering that the assault itself did take place.  Here are some tips to stay safe in situations where drinking alcohol may be involved. 1) Stick to your group, or at the very least, know where your group is at all times. It is a good idea to keep your group of friends informed of your whereabouts, and to make sure that you designate a driver within your group to take you all home safe. It is also a good idea to keep your group informed of anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Make a back-up plan with your group, as well. 2) Be aware of what and how much you are drinking. It is a good idea to ask what you are being offered. If it seems suspicious, use your phone to Google what the ingredients are. Try to be the one to order and receive your drinks - rather than have someone (unless it is someone you absolutely trust) fetch you a drink. It is also a good idea to opt for your own drink rather than to pour yourself a portion of a large bowl of punch or a drink made in bulk. 3) Don’t leave your drink unattended. If you must go to the bathroom, dance, or perhaps even just answer a phone call, either finish your drink and then do so, or, leave your drink with a very trusted and safe individual, or, just throw it away. 4) Don’t take a drink from a person you don’t know or trust. If it is a situation where you are dependent on a person you don’t know, make sure that you are at the bar when the drink is ordered, and you watch it being mixed / poured, and take it yourself. 5) Understand how your body responds to alcohol. Sometimes, you may feel a little more intoxicated than otherwise. Sometimes, drinks can also be spiked with drugs or other drinks that do not have a tell tale smell, taste or reaction with your drink. The moment you begin to feel uncomfortable, stop drinking and rely on a trusted friend to get you out or to attend to you.    Regardless, even if you were drinking alcohol and faced sexual assault, it is NOT YOUR FAULT. You are not to blame for drinking alcohol or for the sexual assault. You have every right to report the assault that happened to you, and you are entitled to all the care and support you need to attend to the impact of the sexual assault.

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