Op-Ed: DATE RAPE DRUGS IN AMERICAN SAMOA?
Drugs used to assist a sexual assault are powerful and dangerous. It is often too difficult to tell a drug has been slipped in your drink. They often have no color, taste or smell.
These drugs can render you defenseless. You can become weak and confused, you are unable to refuse sex or recall what happened, sometimes you are aware of what is being done to you, but you are unable to move. The drugs can cause you to lose consciousness or suffer from total blackout.
Approximately 7 weeks ago, a 17-year old female from the eastern district was reported to have been allegedly abducted, blindfolded and held captive for several days. She was found in Vaitogi with bruises all over her body and she told a wild story of being held captive. Law Enforcement were notified on that day.
Just last week a 21-year old female was reported to have been found under similar circumstances of abduction, blindfolded, held captive and drugged, except she was admitted to LBJ hospital.
These reported incidences are taking a frightening twist. It is taking heightened awareness to a higher level of alert. I must say if methamphetamine is flooding our umu kuka’s (kitchens) and marijuana is planted in our ma’umaga’s and togafai’s (plantations) as far- fetched as it may seem, we better believe “date rape drugs” are on our shores.
Date rape drugs don’t necessarily mean it will be slipped in your drink by a date or known friend. It is also used by strangers or known acquaintances, who have targeted you for their sport. Here are just a few drugs and their effects.
Rohypnol: Pill form that dissolves in liquid.
Effects: Felt within 30 minutes or depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, lasting several hours. If drugged you may appear to be drunk, pass out and can’t remember anything, while under the influence of the drug. The drug stays in your body for several hours and may be detected by urine test up to 72hrs
GHB/ Liquid Ecstasy: Liquid with no odor, white powder and pill form with slight salty taste. A sweet drink will mask the taste.
Effects: Felt within 15 minutes (very potent), lasting 3 – 4 hours. Causes relaxed and drowsiness state, loss of consciousness, unable to remember what happened while drugged. It leaves the body in 12 hours.
Ketamine: Liquid and light powder form.
Effects: (Very fast) You may be aware what is being done to you but unable to move, causes memory problems and unable to recall what happened while drugged.
The potency of these drugs have the potential to cause serious health problems and death. They all cause symptoms of dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, tremors, convulsions etc. Victims can either appear drunk or sick, making it easier for offenders to help them out to their car, waiting cab or behind the building.
How horrifying this drug can be while under its influence — to render you totally incapacitated while the person or persons are sodomizing and raping you. These acts are being done to you for however long they choose. The drug can be administered throughout several days or for however long you are held captive.
Imagine the confusion of the victim, who cannot recall yet she/he knows something was done to their body. It usually takes 8-12 hours later for you to realize it. It is frightening to be unable to account for several hours or days while drugged. The helplessness knowing that no-one will believe you.
I implore all parents, students and communities to read up on DATE RAPE/ DRUG FACILITATED SEXUAL ASSAULT DRUGS. The internet is full of this information and precautionary measures.
If there is one thing we all know, a victim under these circumstances will most likely suffer and isolate themselves to silence. As wild as their stories may be, it would behoove us all to ‘give them the benefit of the doubt’.
Stay alert for unusual happenings and report them. Keep documentation that will come in handy. These drugs would be easily used in club or party settings. Since being drunk is a normal sign of partying, it would be so easy to assist you out from the crowd and abducted. Let’s get used to the word abduction or kidnapped.
While you’re out with your friends, make a note of your surroundings, the people you are with, especially a person/persons you see assisting someone out of the environment. You never know when later on you find out she/ he is a missing person or a victim of a wild abduction story.
Be protective of your drinks, at any time the drug can be slipped in them. Being drunk will make it very hard to determine if you’ve been drugged.
We must remember, nothing a victim did, including drinking alcohol or doing drugs… can justify rape.
Also keep in mind it’s easier to drug the underage drinkers. Very few will admit they were under the influence of alcohol.