Date Rape

Rape is a serious and horrific experience. And it’s not as uncommon as we think it is. A survey in 2005 showed an estimated 44,100 people in Australia under the age of 18 have been victims of rape. I’ve heard however, that most cases of rape go unreported because of the embarrassment and guilt of the event. Often the victim feels it was partially his or her fault that the rape occurred, even when they are completely the victim. So the actual number of people raped can actually be more than double the number provided by the survey.

 

While being raped by a stranger does happen, date rape is the most form of the crime and it’s the one that goes unreported the most. Most victims don’t even realise it’s a crime because they think since they know the attacker it wasn’t actually rape. Some may not even realise they’ve been raped.

 

In recent years, the infamous “date rape drug” has become more and more common. It’s so easy for someone to slip a small pill into the victim’s drink while the victim isn’t looking. These drugs are very effective and dangerous. Because the drug causes the victim to black out, feel disoriented, and even lose physical control, it becomes extremely easy for the offender to take the victim aside and rape them. Often the victim won’t even have any recollection of what happened.

 

What can we do about it then?

 

Right now, Rohypnol, Ketamine, and GHB, the most common date rape drugs, are easily ingested undetected because they are colourless, tasteless, and odourless. We need to find ways to expose these drugs when they are added to drinks, maybe by causing the drink to change colour. Or we can design beverage containers that make it much harder for attackers to slip the drugs into the drink. There are many possibilities to prevent this problem. We just need to work at it.

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