Date rape still problem for both genders

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By Celena Flores

Date rape is often caused by a person drugging another person, the volunteer and outreach services director of the Rape Crisis Center said Monday on campus.

“I am shocked to hear that there is a bar in San Antonio that wants to crack down on underage drinking and does not allow women to take their drinks in the restroom,” Danielle Rominski said. “Instead, the bar has a small tray outside the restroom to place the drink down, leaving it open to anyone.” 

Peer Educators and the office of student life hosted the seminar, “Violence Against Women.” Medin Barreira, lecturer in kinesiology, demonstrated self-defense.

According to the Texas penal code, sexual assault can be defined as penetration via vaginal, anal and oral with a sex organ or any object on someone else without consent. It is a second-degree felony, which can get a person 20 years in prison with a minimum fine of $10,000.

Aggravated sexual assault has the same definition with at least three of the following: serious bodily injury, use of a deadly weapon, more than one perpetrator, kidnapped, or be under the age of 14 or over 65.

Aggravated sexual assault is a first-degree felony with five to 99 years in prison with a minimum fine of $10,000.

“Drugs are an easy access to rape. They make it easy to take advantage of a person, and the victim has no idea what happened,” Rominski said.

The four drugs often used include gamma hydroxbutyric acid (GHB), rohypnol, ketamine and alcohol, Rominski said.

“GHB is a liquid that is odorless and colorless,” Rominski said.

It can also come in the form of a small white pill or powder.

Effects of GHB can include problems seeing, unconsciousness or blackouts, seizures, breathing problems, a dreamlike feeling, slow heart rate and even death.

GHB was originally sold in the 1920s as a dietary supplement and was banned in 1990.

In 2002, it was legalized once again only for the treatment of narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.

Rohypnol or “roofie” is the size of an aspirin; it is an odorless and tasteless sedative.

It was banned in the United States in 1996 and is illegal in 80 other countries.

It is available in Mexico with a prescription. There is a new pill that will turn blue in a liquid.

“This drug is transported through the border and can be obtained for 15 cents to $5 a pill,” Rominski said.

Rohypnol will take effect on a person within 30-40 minutes, and in two hours a person can black out for up to eight hours.

Some effects of rohypnol include loss of memory, lower blood pressure, muscle relaxation or loss of muscle control, drunk feeling and loss of consciousness.

“Mixed with alcohol, its effects are six times the strength of a six pack of beer on a person’s body,” Rominski said.

Ketamine or “Special K” is a white powder and is only legal for veterinarian use as an animal tranquilizer and in some emergency room trauma units.

Effects of ketamine can include but are not limited to hallucinations, loss of sense of time and identity, distorted perceptions of sight and sound, convulsions, out-of-body experiences, aggressive or violent behavior, problems breathing and vomiting.

Alcohol is the only drug that is legal and easy to come by. A person in the U.S. simply needs to be 21 years old, and even if a person is younger than 21, they more than likely know someone who is of age to buy it for them, Rominski said.

It can often have similar effects as some of the other drugs when consumed in larger quantities.

“Every two minutes, someone in Texas is raped. Eighty-five percent of victims know their predators,” Rominski said. “When a victim knows their predator, it is acquaintance rape.”

Only 10 percent of female and 4 percent of male survivors actually report the crime.

“Yes, men also become victims of sexual assault. Ninety percent of their predators are other heterosexual men,” Rominski said.

Rominski said a few ways to protect yourself are to go places in groups and never leave anyone alone.  Do not share drinks or let a stranger buy a drink for you, and never go home with someone you first meet.

For more information on sexual assault, visit the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault’s Web Site at www.taasa.org or the Rape Crisis Center’s Web site at www.rapecrisis.com.

If you are a victim of sexual assault, call the Rape Crisis Center’s 24 hour hotline at 349-RAPE.

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