Opinion

A hidden crime

More and more recently, stories about women being blindly drugged, with the intent of being sexually assaulted, have come to my attention.

It’s frightening to know that such horrific events are happening – that there are men out there (for the most part) slipping mind-altering drugs into unsuspecting women’s drinks. These ‘date rape drugs’ (GHB, Rohypnol and ketamine) debilitate women to the point that they know not what they do, and therefore may fall victim to predators.

It’s pretty pathetic when a guy is so desperate to gain intimacy from a girl that he resorts to drugging her.

As sick as it is, the use of date rape drugs is nothing new. For decades, predators have used not only the above-mentioned drugs, but also alcohol and other illegal drugs to incapacitate women. It’s called drug facilitated sexual assault (DFSA).

There is no way to know how often DFSA occurs, because many victims never report it.

But the fact is, it is happening.

And it’s not just taking place across the border and in bigger centres like Vancouver. It’s happening right here in our ‘little’ community.

“There have been rumours it’s in the city,” said Gord Molendyk, RCMP spokesperson for the North Okanagan. “But I have not heard of it recently.

“That’s not to say there isn’t a little bit but it hasn’t come to our attention.”

Along with the shame and guilt that may prevent a victim from coming forward, most incidents are not reported because it can be virtually impossible for a victim to prove that they were administered a date rape drug. By the time they are coherent and realize that something may have happened, the drug may have left their system, making it undetectable at the hospital. But that’s not to say women shouldn’t get checked out if they believe they have been a victim of DFSA.

Another reason reports of the drug use aren’t being made to officials is because women are outsmarting their potential predators.

In all of the recent cases I’ve heard about, women have been drugged but thanks either to luck or some good friends keeping an eye on them, they avoided sexual assault.

Because they escaped the unthinkable, they don’t bother reporting the fact that someone drugged them.

While it’s unfortunate that incidents of date rape drugs being used aren’t being reported to the RCMP, it is re-assuring to know that more women are managing to escape the potential for some frightening outcomes.

I would assume it’s because more women are educated about the risks of going out, whether it be to a bar or a party. They go in groups, they watch their drinks closely (and their friend’s drinks) and they make sure that they don’t leave with strangers.

And it’s a tip local RCMP continue to offer to women, and men.

“Everybody should be careful and take those precautions,” said Molendyk.

Having been personally administered the date rape drug years ago while out at a Kelowna nightclub, I can tell you I still don’t remember what happened that night. But thanks to some good friends watching out for me, and getting me home safely, I avoided becoming a victim.

I just hope that today’s youth have a similar circle of friends they too can trust to keep them safe.

 

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