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.

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