Date Rape Drugs Are A Major Problem On U. S. College Campuses; 80% Of Victims Are Women

Date rape drugs are a major problem on U.S. college campuses and are often linked to sexual assault of young women. But men are also at risk and count for one-fifth of all victims.

Drink spiking has been reported for decades, but a new study conducted by Suzanne C. Swan, an associate professor of psychology at the University of South Carolina, delves into the reasons behind the statistics.

Women and men gave different perspectives on date rape drugs. While females stated sexual assault was the driving factor; men said their motivation was to have fun. The study findings were determined after interviewing 6,000 students at three universities. The findings were published in the May 23 issue of the Psychology of Violence journal.

Nearly eight percent of students said they had experienced having their drinks spiked with drugs, and another 1.4 percent said they had spiked someone’s drink or knew someone who had. It seems that most students understand the serious nature of sexual assaults but don’t quite get that slipping date rape drugs into a peer’s drink is criminal behavior — even if the intention is not rape. Responses on social media demonstrate that some comprehend how serious the problem is. Swan commented on how wrong it is to drug a fellow human being, noted US News & World Report.

“Even if a person is drugging someone else simply ‘for fun’ with no intent of taking advantage of the drugged person, the drugger is still putting a drug in someone else’s body without their consent — and this is coercive and controlling behavior.”

Don’t think people realise how dangerous it is spiking someone’s drink???????? absolute scum

— erin (@erinpringle_) May 23, 2016

Researchers concluded that it is necessary to educate those who are spiking the drinks with drugs, so they will understand that the behavior is controlling, coercive, and unacceptable. While it is well-known that rape is a violation of another person’s body, in the same way, giving someone drugs without their consent is taking away their control. Swan expounded on this, as reported in the Daily Mail.

“Because many of those who drug others believe that the behavior is fun and minimize the risks, interventions could provide information about the dangers of overdosing. ‘They could also target the issue of consent. Just as people have a fundamental right to consent to sexual activity, they also have the right to know and consent to the substances they ingest.”

About 80 percent of the victims are women, but it is difficult to ascertain the details of their experiences because often they don’t remember. Due to this, Swan explained the limitations of the study, added US News & World Report.

“We have no way of knowing if the drugging victims were actually drugged or not, and many of the victims were not certain either. ‘It is possible that some respondents drank too much, or drank a more potent kind of alcohol than they were accustomed to.”

It appears that in some cases individuals have a strong reaction to alcohol, and in other cases they drank while taking an over-the-counter medication, which caused adverse effects. There is also the possibility that the drink and drug combination could be lethal.

Seemingly, researchers think it is best to address date rape drug issues by educating potential perpetrators on the immorality and consequences of their actions.

[Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty]

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