Date rape: Beware! The danger is in your drink

Dimapur| May 25  : Acquaintance rape, also referred to as “date rape” is real and on the rise. Recognised as a relatively common problem within society, “date rape” has emerged as one of the leading sexual crime against women in the world. In India, the increasing night club trend, rave parties and dating culture has also thrown up a number of “date rape” cases. And while alcohol is the drug most commonly associated with this form of sexual assault, incidents involving the use of “date rape drugs” are on the rise.
Most Naga people are not familiar with the terms “date rape” or “date rape drug.” In spite of the increasing trend of alcohol consumption among young Naga people, there is very little awareness about the dangers of “date rape” and the drugs used to induce such crimes. Most young people think they can choose their drink and say no to drugs, but the truth is that they run a small risk of being drugged against their will.  Easy access to alcohol and drugs is putting the life of youngsters at risk, particularly girls who are vulnerable to such crimes.
“Date rape” is an assault or attempted assault usually committed by an acquaintance involving sexual intercourse without mutual consent; whereas “date rape drug” refers to a drug that can be used to assist in the commission of a sexual assault. Drugs used to facilitate rape may have sedative, hypnotic, dissociative or amnesiac effects, and can be added to a food or drink without the victim’s knowledge.
While there are no known reports about “date rape” in Nagaland, the increasing number of teenage pregnancies might be linked to such crimes. A lady running a rehabilitation home in Dimapur said that many girls get pregnant “against their wishes,” but they don’t think it is rape because the offenders are usually their so called boyfriends. Another social worker adds: “Just as they don’t want to acknowledge the real meaning of prostitution, many Naga girls don’t realise a date rape is rape.”
Commenting on the social scene in Nagaland, a twenty something Naga girl says, “Naga women are known to be aggressive and independent, but they can’t even say no to a few extra drinks at parties.” She says that “such parties” is not Naga culture and so people don’t know how to handle themselves in such events.
She also expresses concern about the increasing number of teenagers visiting night clubs. “It is not a healthy sign and girls need to be careful.”   
Date rape drugs render a person helpless to resist a sexual assault. There are three major groups of drugs used in drug rape and other drink-spiking crimes: Gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), Ketamine and Rohypnol. A little known plant “datura” is also commonly used as a rape drug.  Rape drugs can also be mixed in cigarettes. All the drugs act as an anaesthetic that reduce a person’s ability to resist rape and often causes the victim to cooperate with the criminal. After a few hours, the victim falls asleep and wakes up with little or no memory of what happened; when she or he was under the influence of the drug. The only effective way to deal with drug rape crimes is to avoid getting drugged in the first place. So the next time you raise the glass to your lips- beware! The danger could be in your drink.
 
How To Protect Yourself
 
•    Drink from tamper-proof bottles and cans and insist on opening them.
•Insist on pouring or watching while any drink is mixed or prepared.
•    Do not drink from group drinks such as punch bowls.
•    Keep an eye on your drink or open soda can. Do not leave your drink unattended.
•    If you think you’ve been drugged, do not be afraid to seek medical attention.
•    If someone passes out and you suspect he or she may have been given drugs, call for medical attention immediately and explain your concerns.