Rape drugs reported on campus

By Hayley Mick

Rape drugs may have arrived at the U of C.

Campus Security received two unofficial reports from women who believed their drinks were drugged at the Den on Sept. 16, the first Thursday night of the year. One of the alleged victims, who preferred to remain anonymous, described her experience that night.

"I arrived at the Den at around 8:30 p.m. and bought my first drink," she said. "I remember walking around, talking to people for a while. By the time I had my second drink in my hand, which was around
9:30 p.m., things start to become unclear. I don’t remember how I got the drink, and I only remember a few glimpses of conversations I must have had with people."

When recalling that night, friends told her she was acting extremely drunk, which was unusual behaviour for her.

"I left the Den with a friend at around 11:30 p.m.," she said, "and left his apartment soon after that. I have no idea how I got into my building; I only remember running down the hallway in a panic, and waking up the next morning with that same scared feeling–as if something was wrong but I didn’t know what."

The next day she told Campus Security she believed she was drugged, and they recommended she go to the police.

The alleged victim experienced some of the common symptoms caused by rape drugs, which include drowsiness, memory loss, blackouts, and loss of coordination.

However, the drugs are usually used where alcohol is consumed, and victims exhibit behaviour similar to that of an extremely intoxicated person. This leaves them vulnerable to an attack, but also makes it
difficult to determine whether drugs have actually been administered.

"The difficulty is that if they [alleged victims] haven’t gone and done tests early enough to prove there are drugs in their bloodstream, these allegations are nearly impossible to prove," said the U of C Sexual Harassment Officer Shirley Voyna-Wilson.

"The bottom line, though, is that we would be naïve to assume that this would never occur at the U of C," she added.

According to Campus Security, these are the first reports of rape drug use on campus. They are concerned about the reports, however, and maintain that public awareness about rape drugs is the most effective method of prevention. For more information on rape drugs and how to protect yourself and your friends, contact the U of C Sexual Harassment office, or pick up a pamphlet titled "Choices… Protecting yourself from Rape Drugs," which is available at the Campus Security office in MacEwan Hall.

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