Alcohol and drugs are frequently used by perpetrators to facilitate the commission of sexual assault crimes.
Ingestion of alcohol and/or substances prior to the commission of sexual assault crimes tends to “co-occur” with both the perpetrator and the victim. It is not uncommon for perpetrators to ply their victims with alcohol and/or substances to make it easier for them to commit the crime of sexual assault.
Victim advocates frequently recommend that American Indian/Alaska Native teens and women employ a “buddy system” when attending social events where alcohol or other similar substances will be present. Under this strategy, two or more women agree to actively monitor each other’s whereabouts during the social event and to ensure that all of the “buddies” are safely returned to their homes at the end of the event. Having an extra pair of monitoring ears and eyes at a social event can make it more difficult for perpetrators to physically isolate victims and commit sexual assault crimes.
Perpetrators may also trick the victim into ingesting drugs or alcohol in order to commit acts of sexual violence. “Date rape” drugs (including Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine) cause the victim to lose consciousness and/or lose the ability to remember the assault. Proving drug-assisted sexual assaults can be challenging. Many “date rape” and recreational drugs leave the victim’s system before the victim realizes that she has been sexually assaulted and may not be present in blood or urine samples taken during forensic examinations.
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*National Tribal Trial College is a project of the Southwest Center for Law and Policy (www.swclap.org) This project is supported by Grant No. 2017-SA-AX-K001, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.