|Year : 2014 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 86-89
Date rape: A study on drug-facilitated sexual assaults in Imphal
Salam Bitam Singh, Thounaojam Meera, Thoidingjam Bijoy Singh
Department of Forensic Medicine, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, Manipur, India
|Date of Web Publication||18-Sep-2014|
Dr. Thounaojam Meera
Associate Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal - 795 004, Manipur
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: Date rape is a type of acquaintance rape wherein non-consensual sex occurs between two people who are in a romantic relationship. The aim of the present study was to find out the pattern of date rape cases in Imphal. Materials and Methods: A retrospective study was carried out in our center on all the cases of alleged sexual assault cases during the period of 7 years, i.e., from 2007 to 2013. A case of sexual assault where the victim and the offender are or have been in some of personal social relationship has been considered as a case of date rape. A detailed study of the history given by the police and the victim, and the medical examination findings was carried out and the findings were analyzed. Results: Out of the total 210 cases of alleged sexual assault cases, 17 (8%) were date rape victims. Most of the victims of date rape were Meitei girls below the age of 20 years (70.5%), and 58.8% of these cases were assaulted in the afternoon and 52.9% of the assaults occurred in restaurants. The history of consumption of beverage in the form of alcohol offered by the perpetrator was present in 52.9% of the cases. Conclusion: The true incidence of such cases may be higher than identified because of non-reporting. The exact type of the drug/agent used in some of the cases could not be established because of delayed reporting and untimely collection of samples. The spread of consciousness of date rape among the young girls is indeed a need of the hour. They may be advised to be cautious and avoid suspicious food or drinks.
Keywords: Acquaintance, Alcohol, Drug, Date rape, Sexual assault
|How to cite this article:|
Singh SB, Meera T, Singh TB. Date rape: A study on drug-facilitated sexual assaults in Imphal. J Med Soc 2014;28:86-9
| Introduction|| |
Date rape is a type of acquaintance rape wherein non-consensual sex occurs between the two people who are in a romantic relationship. It is also described as a type of sexual assault where the victim and the offender are in, or have been in, some form of personal social relationship, ranging from a first date to an established relationship.  Even though commonly termed "date rape" by the mass media, it is termed "drug facilitated sexual assault (DFSA)" in scientific literatures and these two terms are often used synonymously.  Any drug that can affect judgement and behaviour can put a person at risk for unwanted or risky sexual activity. Alcohol is the most common "drug" implicated in sexual assault, but there are increasing reports of use of a range of prescription and non-prescription drugs to induce disinhibition or sedation and amnesia of the victim. , According to the National Crime Bureau reports (2012), rape is the fastest growing crime in India and has increased by 902% over 1971 to 2012.  Date rape is considered a curse of the Western world and instances of date rape are steadily rising in India; however, the exact statistics is not available. The present study has been carried out in our centre to find out the incidence and pattern of date rape cases in Imphal.
| Materials and Methods|| |
A retrospective study on all the victims of alleged sexual assault brought for examination during 2007 to 2013 was carried out in our center. A thorough analysis of the history given by the police, victims, and examination findings was done. A case of sexual assault where the victim and the offender are in, or have been in, some form of personal relationship, ranging from a first date to an established relationship; and drugs/alcohol/any agent have been used to incapacitate and to facilitate the assault have been considered as a case of date rape. The findings of the study were statistically analyzed.
| Results|| |
It is observed from [Figure 1] that, out of the total 210 alleged sexual assault cases, 8% were constituted by date rape cases. [Table 1] shows that 11. 6% and 13.4% of the alleged sexual assault cases in the years 2012 and 2013 were date rape cases and till the year 2009, no cases of date rape were reported. A total of 70.5% of the victims were Meitei girls below the age of 20 years [Figure 2] and [Figure 3] and 82.3% of them were school or college going students [Figure 4]. Most of these assaults occurred in the afternoon or in the early evening, i.e., 88.2% [Figure 5]. [Figure 6] shows that 52.9% of the cases occurred in hotels or dimly lit restaurants and 17.6% occurred in a common friend's house. Alcohol was used in 52.9% and suspected inhalant anaesthetic was used in 23.5% of the assaults [Figure 7].
|Table 1: Showing year-wise distribution of alleged sexual assault and date rape cases|
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| Discussion|| |
Sexual assault by an acquaintance, such as date rape, can be traumatic because it involves a breach of trust.  It can be more destructive and humiliating when the victim has lost the ability to offer resistance, i.e., under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  The total number of alleged rape cases have increased during the past few years in the state. Till the year 2009, no cases of date rape were reported. The years 2012 (11.6%) and 2013 (6.7%) observed higher number of date rape cases compared to previous years. This may be favourably compared with the findings of Hurley M et al. and Doandeu A et al. who observed an increase trend in the date rape cases during the past 10 years. Adolescents and young adults are four times more likely than women in other age-groups to be victims.  McGregor M et al. observed that women aged 15-19 years have the highest risk of experiencing this type of sexual assault, i.e., DFSA. Ricket VI et al. also observed that adolescent females and young adult women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than women in other age-groups, usually by an acquaintance or date. Similarly, majority of the victims in the present study were school-or college-going teenaged Meitei girls. The higher number of Meitei victims could be explained by the Meitei dominance of the local populace. The British crime survey observed that such sexual assaults are most likely to take place in urban areas, over the weekend and at night.  In contrast to these findings, in the state of Manipur where there is minimal night life, 58.8% of the cases occurred in the afternoon and 29.4% occurred in the early evening.
It has been reported that cases of alleged DFSA take place most commonly at the assailant's address (62%), victim's address (22%) or in the clubs and pubs (10%), and others (6%).  Interestingly, in the present study, most of the assaults occurred in hotels and in dimly lit restaurants.
Some of the warning signs that a drug-facilitated sexual assault are :
- If the victim recalls having a drink but cannot recall what happened for a period of time after consuming the drink.
- If the victim suspects that sexual contact has taken place but cannot remember details.
- If the victim wakes up feeling hung over and experiences memory lapse or cannot account for a period of time.
Although flunitrazepam has been maligned as a "date rape drug," many substances have been used to facilitate sexual assault, viz., alcohol, alprazolam, chloral hydrate, GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric acid), ketamine, lorazepam, etc. , In this study, alcohol was used in 52.9% of the cases and 17.6% gave the history of loss of consciousness after the consumption of some beverages. The criminal use of an inhalant anesthetic agent like chloroform has been reported by Payne JP.  In this study, 23.5% of the cases gave history of unconsciousness after they sniffed a cloth/handkerchief. However, the exact agent used could not be established because of late reporting. Timely collection of biological specimens is crucial and delay in specimen collection may severely hamper the toxicological and prosecutorial outcome of the investigation.  The victim should be urged not to urinate until the specimen can be properly collected and collection of 100ml of urine and 30 ml of blood (within the past 24 hours) in sodium fluoride and potassium oxalate is recommended. 
| Conclusion|| |
Some people consider date rape as a direct cultural import from the West. The true incidence of such cases may be higher than identified because of non-reporting. The exact type of the drug/agent used in some of the cases could not be established because of delayed reporting and untimely collection of samples. The spread of consciousness of date rape among the young girls is indeed a need of the hour. They may be advised to be cautious and avoid suspicious food or drinks. More importantly, awareness of early reporting will help in the administration of justice in such crimes.
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[Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7]