Wednesday, October 28, 2009


"Rape drugs make it relatively easy for rapists to gain control of their victims. Perpetrators do not have to overcome any form of resistance. They do not have to use physical force. They do not have to threaten to harm the victim to get compliance. Nor do they have to be concerned about a victim's screams attracting attention. The drugs they administer immobilize and silence the victim. (National Institute of Justice Journal, 2000)"

In July 2007, the Department of Justice released the results of a national study that looked at the prevalence of drug-facilitated and incapacitated sexual assault and forcible rape. The results were astonishing and deplorable. Estimates have found that nearly 673,000 women in colleges were raped. From the 673,000, 160,000 women experienced drug-facilitated sexual assault. And more than 200,000 women were incapacitated. The major issue with drug-facilitated-sexual-assault is that many victims have no idea whether they were drugged. In order to take legal recourse, the individual must present themselves at a hospital where they can screen for drugs. However, the window period is very short for most of these drugs leave the body, and once they leave the body, evidence cannot be collected for the purpose of taking legal recourse.

The problem that exists in cases of drug-facilitated sexual assault or where the victim is incapacitated is many victims may not recognize that they have been raped. Even if they know they were forced, the fact that either they were under the influence of drugs or their assailant was means for them the lines of accountability may get blurry. For example recently there was a case where a young-college aged woman stated she had went to a party and a guy asked to hook up with her. She said no to him, and then he lured her into a room by begging her to help him with an emergency. She did so and he raped her. She wasn't really clear whether it was rape or not because the assailant had been drunk. In this case the victim was not incapacitated or under the influence of drugs but the assailant was and he used that to his advantage telling her that at parties it is normal for people to have sex. While she knew that something was wrong, it was difficult for her to label it rape.

Such hesitancy to frame it as rape as well as to blame one-self for what happened has translated into low rates of reporting. For example for sexual assault cases for women in colleges, the reporting rate is 12%. The number is ever smaller for victims of drug-facilitated sexual assault who report. Some of the reasons why college-aged women do not take action against the perpetrator include not wanting their peers and social-support systems to know about the rape, the fear of retaliation, the uncertainty about whether a crime actually occurred, and the victim may not be sure whether the crime was serious enough to report. Again within drug-facilitated sexual assault cases, most victims know their perpetrators.

From the perspective of perpetrators, Abbey, Parkhhill, Clinton-Sherrod, Zawacki (2007), in their study compared men who committed sexual assaults found that on the contrary to what social views may think, perpetrators usually pick the victims and then isolate them from their friends or social circle. The perpetrators will often come off as if they are rescuing the victim by offering an incapacitated individual(drunk, high, or passed out) to what they will convey to the victim as a safe place. Perpetrators will use the fact that the victim was intoxicated to convince them their assault was consensual or normal, and that is how things are. This is even if the victim remembers. An overwhelming majority of these perpetrators are repeat offenders who have targeted multiple victims. Therefore contrary to what society may think when perpetrators who commit such assaults do it because they are incapacitated is misleading and is another place for perpetrators to have the space to commit rapes and violate others without having to worry about the consequences. It is important to mention that while the statistics in the national study focused on college-aged women, men are also victims of drug facilitated sexual assaulted.

However we can stand firm and work to prevent such incidents from occurring. We can be more attentive when we are out in social gatherings, at parties, in clubs, and bars. We can educate men and women about the devestating crime the drug facilitated sexual assault is and the physical as well as psychological scars that victims will suffer from. On the most basic level we can start by changing our own attitudes towards drug-facilitated-sexual assault where we usually place the blame on the victim rather than giving them the social support, which can be instrumental in the recovery process.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Queens College Townhall Update

Warm Greetings!

SGC would like to extend a round of thank you's to the following people for making the town hall a success:

SGC Project Manager for the Town hall: Dear Auneatitrakul
Co-Sponsors: Queen's College Democratic Student Alliance (DSA)
Moderator: Natalie Shields 
Town hall volunteers: Andrew  DeMasters, Joanna Lund-Pops, Roland Regos, Samantha  Shlimbaum, Diana Hidalgo, Asna Erfan and Mike Cabajal
Queens College Student Affairs Administrator Dr. Joe
Panelists: Kristen Bowes, CUNY Associate General Counsel; Nick Kanellopolous, City College Alumnae; Jessica Spector, Urban Justice Institute; and Jerin Alam, Hunter College Alumna.
CUNY Central for concerted efforts in advertising the event throughout CUNY news and for providing refreshments
Queens College Student Association for extending a hand of solidarity in this effort

Last but not least and special thanks goes to the approximate 40 CUNY students, faculty, alumni and administration that attended the town hall! CUNY members came out from all over, including Kingsborough, John Jay, Hunter and Queens College.

SGC looks forward to updating you with the video of the town hall and personal reaction interviews that took place following the event.

We have the policy open for comments on our website , as well as a poll and a petition in favor of the current policy draft.

NEXT STEPS include a taskforce meeting to review student input, giving the policy over to the Board of Trustee committee for review and the voting of the policy at the November Board of Trustee's meeting.

To building a Greater CUNY,

Elischia Fludd
Students for a Greater CUNY (SGC)

Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

Friday, October 23, 2009



SGC is excited to share with you wonderful news!

The CUNY Policy Tracker has joined the ranks of thousands of blogs as an award for its content!

This award, given by comes as a direct result of our information on substance abuse related information! operates the largest website featuring more than 30,000+ websites and blogs.  Average site vistors reach 200,000+ international unique visitors! 

SGC's esteemed mention can be found here

A HUGE thank you to our Media Coordinator, Darakshan Raja, who is a regular blog contributor and coordinates volunteers that contribute to the blog! Please join us in celebrating the great work of Darakshan and her team!

We also want to thank for such an honor!

We look forward to continuing to serve you with accurate, thought provoking, professional and resourceful material!

To building a greater CUNY!

Elischia Fludd
Students for a Greater CUNY (SGC)

Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Breaking News:

SGC has posted the policy on its website:  The latest policy draft contains provisions for stalking and domestic violence education.

Check it out and comment on the policy!

SGC also has a 'TAKE ACTION' section, where you can sign in agreement with the policy's provisions.

Follow us on Twitter for immediate updates.

Working on building a greater CUNY,


Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

Monday, October 5, 2009



SGC is very excited to bring you news of our website launch!!!!

Please find us at

You will find the site chock full of information that will be updated frequently to provide the utmost service to CUNY students. Our Tracker will continue to examine sexual assault as it pertains to the policy up through the first implementation of the approved policy. We look forward to keeping you posted.

News of the upcoming townhall at Queens College on October 22nd is located on our site, along with a downloadable version of the flier and our press advisory on the townhall for your convenience. 

To building a Greater CUNY!

Become involved! VISIT US AT CUNYSGC.COM!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

DFSA:Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault

Current Events: The case of Roman Polanski has received a lot of media press, and sadly due to his status as a famous director, he has a line of famous friends, men and women, who believe he should not be jailed for the rape of a thirteen-year old girl. Polanski had drugged and raped a thirteen year old in 1977 in Los Angeles, and had himself pled guilty to a lesser charge of having unlawful sex to with a minor and ran to Europe prior to being sentenced ( Not only Hollywood celebrities but prolific writers like Salman Rushdie have declared their support for Polanski. Other stars include Milan Kundera, Pedo Almodavar, Woody Allen, and Martin Scorsese have also given him their support. Bernard-Henri Levy stated Polanski has made a youthful error. Even Whoopi Goldberg stated his crime wasn't "rape rape but rape." Foremost Whoopi makes no sense, rape is rape period. There is no such thing as "rape rape." While I do not want to single out Whoopi, her comment does show us that in our society, people are not educated or aware about the issue of sexual assault. Sadly this incident was another missed opportunity to begin a national debate on sexual violence. Therefore, I would like to focus this blog on drug facilitated sexual assault since Polanski had drugged the thirteen-year-old girl to incapacitate her. In addition, this blog will also clarify the stereotype that perpetrators like Polanski who use drugs to carry out an assault should be excused because they didn't understand what they were doing.

In addition, I believe if Polanski had been a regular individual, he would have received the status of a sex offender and would have been branded, and would have been considered a threat to society. The same stars who are supporting him would have been carrying banners asking for his incarceration, because they would have thought of their own kids. Therefore, in this case, his status and access to power have showed us that there is a different level of justice for people in power.

Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault (DFSA): The definition given by LeBeau and Mozayani (2001) on DFSA is they are offenses where the victim goes through nonconsensual sexual acts while they are under the influence of a drug or go through a sexual assault due to the unconscious effects of alcohol/ drugs, and are not able to resist or consent.
According to NYC Alliance's definition of Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault, "sexual assault made easier by the offender's use of an anesthesia type drug that can render the victim physically incapacitated or helpless and unable to give consent to sexual activity." The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault listed two types of drugs used in sexual assault. We should be aware that alcohol is the most commonly used drug.

WE ALSO KNOW THAT IN 90% OF CASES OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ARE LINKED TO ALCOHOL. Another common DFSA IS ROPHYPNOL: This type of drug is used in "date rape" situations. This drug is tasteless and odorless, and can dissolve clearly into liquid, which makes its detection much more difficult. Rophyies can be taken either orally, ingested, or can be snorted. Rophies can take effect within 15-20 minutes, and the effects may last for more than 12 hours. The drug can be detected in the urine for up to 72 hours after ingestion
It is important to note that whether the drug is taken by the victim willingly or not, it doesn't matter, for the perpetrator has used the drug as a pretext to incapacitate the victim and to victimize them. On the contrary to what people may think that the perpetrator unknowingly sexually assaulted men, we know that perpetrators of drug facilitated sexual assault are well aware of what they are doing and are repeat offenders. The perpetrators use the following things: they groom and pick their victims, isolate the victim from their support network. For example, separating the victim from their friends at a party or a club, so they can manipulate the situation. Individuals who use drugs to carry out sexual assaults may put on a front that they are rescuing the person and will offer to take the individual somewhere safe.

CHALLEGNES: A major challenge with an individual who has experienced DFSA is they may not be aware or recollect what happened. While the victim is facing the same challenges that any individual of sexual assault is feeling, it may be harder in respect to reporting, the forensic exams, and the reactions from their support systems, such as friends and family members. In addition, the perpetrator, since we know in more than 80% is known to the victim, the perpetrator will state the assault was consensual or was sex gone bad. In some cases, the victim may not recollect the events that occurred. For example, in one case, the female was gang raped after being drugged by a group of men, and woke up bleeding, sore and pain, and was having a difficult time recollecting what happened the night before, and who the perpetrators were. Therefore, a way we can help victims of DFSA is by listening to them, rather than blaming them and holding them accountable, for, every time we place the blame on a victim, we have further victimized the individual, and have given the perpetrator the opportunity to violate someone else.