Alcohol, Drugs and Sexual Assault
The university is committed to maintaining a drug-free campus. Given this objective, the university prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of illegal drugs on its property or as part of any of its activities.
Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault
Drug facilitated sexual assault occurs when drugs or alcohol are used to compromise an individual's ability to consent. While alcohol is the substance most commonly used to facilitate sexual assault, other drugs (such as Rohypnol (Roofies), GHB, GBL, etc.) are also used to reduce someone's ability to consent to the sexual activity. In addition, drugs and alcohol are often used to reduce the resistance, memory, and credibility of the victim.
Alcohol and Sexual Assault
We know that alcohol can impair a person’s inhibitions and judgment. Sometimes this brings about good things—people are friendlier, funnier, and more talkative. But it can also mean not-so-good things—people take risks they wouldn't normally and they may find themselves in situations that are uncomfortable or unsafe. A national study found that each year as a result of alcohol abuse:
- Nearly 500,000 students have unprotected sex
- More than 100,000 students are too intoxicated to know whether they consented to sexual intercourse
- More than 70,000 students experience alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape
The majority of sexual assaults on college students involve alcohol—consumed by the victim, the offender, or both. Although alcohol does not cause assaults, it can be a contributing factor. Alcohol is thought to increase the risk of sexual assault because:
- Perpetrators of sexual assault may use intoxication as an excuse to use aggressive sexual behavior
- Some perpetrators choose to use alcohol as a method of coercion
- When intoxicated, people are:
- More likely to misinterpret the other person's level of sexual interest
- Less likely to be concerned with the other perosn's experience
- Less likely to accurately evaluate whether consent has been given
- Victims who are intoxicated may be less able to effectively resist an assault (especially if s/he is unconscious)
Alcohol and Coercion
The use of alcohol for sexual purposes can often be a coercive tactic. Although coercive tactics like pressuring someone to drink in order to have sex may not necessarily meet the legal definition of sexual assault, it is morally questionable. Coercion undermines the campus community of safety, trust, and honor. Examples of coercive behaviors include:
- Encouraging someone to disregard personal boundaries
- Actively pressuring someone to drink
- Supplying someone with alcohol for the sole purpose of engaging in sex with that person
Rohypnol, GHB, GBL, & Benzodiazepines
These drugs are sometimes used to facilitate sexual assault because they have sedative effects as well as the ability to impair memory. NOTE: Alcohol increases the effects of these drugs.
How They Work
- They are typically odorless, colorless, and tasteless when placed in a drink (except for GBL, which has a bitter taste that can be masked by strong-tasting drinks).
- Within 30 minutes of ingestion, the victim may struggle to talk or move and may pass out. At this point, the person is vulnerable to assault.
- The victim may have virtually no memory of the events that occurred
- These drugs leave the body rapidly, making them difficult to detect in a person who has been drugged.
- Rohypnol leaves the body within 36-72 hours
- GHB leaves the body within 10-12 hours
- GBL leaves the urinary system within 6 hours and the bloodstream within 24 hours
Ketamine is another predatory drug used by perpetrators of sexual assault. It is a dissociative general anesthetic that causes individuals to feel detached from their bodies and surrounding. Thus, during an assault, victims may be aware of what is happening to them but unable to move or fight back. It may also cause amnesia so that they do not remember the events that occurred.
What To Do
- Watch out for your friends and vice versa. If your friend seems "out of it," is too drunk for the amount of alcohol s/he has consumed, or is acting out of character, get her/him to safe place immediately.
- If you think you or a friend has been drugged, call 911 and be explicit with the health care providers so they'll give you the correct tests (you'll need a urine test and possibly others).
The university policy on ILLEGAL drugs is reflected in Policy 6-22.1 and 6-01 for employees, and 4-02 for students. Any student, faculty or staff member found to be in violation of these policies will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension/expulsion (students) or immediate termination (faculty / staff) by the university. Furthermore, certain legal sanctions may be imposed (i.e., imprisonment, fines, and assigned community service) by federal, state and local authorities.
Additionally, Kent State University is committed to the reduction of alcohol and other drug abuse by students and employees. Policy 4-02, the Code of Student Conduct, and the Hallways Handbook delineate expectations for students pertaining to alcohol and other drugs. The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act provides guidelines and information about alcohol and other drugs and explains in more detail about university policy and procedures.