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The official website of the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office V.E.T.O.

Sexual Assault

Frequently Asked Questions:

    What is Rape?

    Rape is the penetration of a bodily orifice ( oral, anal, vaginal) with a body part
    (e.g. penis, finger, tongue) or an object through force or threat of force
    and without consent.

    I hear some people use the term sexual assault.   What does that mean?

    Sexual Assault is a broader term that includes rape and other crimes
    such as molestation, flashing, and voyeurism.

    Are many women raped?

    Reports estimate that one out five women will be raped in her lifetime.

    However, most women never report the crime because they are afraid that no one will believe them or they think nothing can be done about it.   According to the National Crime Victims Survey, young females are four times more likely to be a victim of a sexual assault than any other group.   According to the Department of Justice, 99% of all forcible rapes were perpetrated against women and somewhere in America, a woman is raped
    every two minutes.

    Can men be raped?


    Most often men who are raped are raped by other men.   According to the National
    Crime Victims survey, 10% of all rapes are committed against men, approximately
    one out of every thirty three men.   According to the Department of Justice, the year
    that a male is most at risk of being sexually assaulted is age four.   In the vast majority
    of cases, men are the perpetrators of rape.

    How old are victims of rape?

    According to the National Crime Victims survey, 44% of rape victims were under
    the age of 18.   The Department of Justice has estimated that 1 out of six victims
    are under the age of 12.   80% of rape victims are under the age of thirty.

    Are victims generally raped by someone that they do not know?


    According to the National Crime Victim Survey, 38% of all rapes were committed by a friend or an acquaintance.   28% were committed by an intimate partner, 26% were committed by a stranger, 6% were committed by another relative and 2% were unknown.   According to the Department of Justice, 94% of the child rape victims under the age of 12 were raped by a family member, friend or acquaintance.

    Why does someone rape?

    Rapists commit their crime because they want power and control over their victim.
    Sex is the tool that is used to commit that crime.   Rapists do not rape because women wear short skirts, look provocative or act seductive, rape is an act of violence, not sex.

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If This Has Happened To You Or a Friend... :

  • Remember, it is not your fault.
    No one asks or deserves to be raped, no matter what the circumstances.

  • Seek medical attention for the possibility of injury, Sexually Transmitted Diseases,
    and/or pregnancy.

  • Find yourself a network of people who believe and support you.

  • Call a rape hotline, such as Womansplace Crisis Center.
    To find out how they can help you.

  • Schedule an appointment for individual counseling with a counselor.

  • Consider joining a support group.
    Sharing your experience with others is an important part of the healing process.

  • Remember, no matter how you feel now, you have the power to heal.

In the Words of a Survivor
In the Words of a Survivor

"I push myself to survive even though sometimes it feels
as if giving up would be the easiest option.

Some days I do it to get back at him,
to show him I can go on and I won´t be a victim any longer.

But most days, I do it for myself.

I did not ask for rape.
I only ask for my life and I´m taking control again."

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Common Feelings Among Sexual Assault Survivors:


    • Fear of attacker returning.
    • Fear of being alone.
    • Fear of things or places that remind you of the attack.
    • Fear of the attacker harming family members.


    • Feeling that your privacy and right to choose has been denied.
    • Hopelessness.

    Guilt and Self Blame

    • Thinking that you were responsible for what happened to you.
    • Feeling like you could have prevented the attack.


    • Wanting to kill the attacker.
    • Wanting to hurt yourself or others.
    • Angry at yourself,   "Why did I let this happen to me?"

    Disruptions to Normal Life

    • Sleeping all the time or not being able to sleep.
    • Not eating enough or eating constantly.
    • Nightmares/Flashbacks.
    • Unable to stop crying.

    Am I Normal?

    • Yes!
    • All of these feelings are normal reactions.
    • You may only experience a few or many.
    • Each person is unique.

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Stages of Sexual Assault Survivors:

Not everyone goes through these stages at the same pace or in the same order.
It is common for survivors to vary in their experience of these stages.

    Crisis Stage

    • Shock and denial
    • strong emotions
    • no emotions
    • fear
    • physical reactions

    Denial Stage

    • Minimize effects
    • make major life changes
    • turn to harmful things

    Suffering Stage

    • Depression
    • no sense of security or control
    • anger
    • guilt
    • shame
    • flashbacks

    Resolution Stage

    • Integration of sexual assault
    • move from victim to survivor

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Date Rape Drugs:


What is Rohypnol?

Rohypnol, commonly known as "roofies", is the brand name for flunitrazepam, a drug similar to Valium and Xanax.    It is a potent and fast-acting sedative, most often found in tablet form.   When dissolved it is often undetectable, having no color, odor, or taste.   Unlike Valium and Xanax, Rohypnol is not legal in the United States.

The effects of Rohypnol.

Rohypnol causes drowsiness, confusion, impaired motor skills, dizziness, loss of inhibition, impaired judgment, and reduced levels of consciousness.   These effects may be magnified (including coma and even death) when combined with alcohol.
A person under the influence of Rohypnol may look and act drunk (slurred speech, difficulty walking, etc.) or may be completely unconscious.   It is common for individuals to experience memory loss as a result of being given this drug.

How is Rohypnol abused?

Most often, Rohypnol is dropped into a potential victims drink so that it is ingested without his/her knowledge.   Once Rohypnol has been dissolved in any (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) liquid, it cannot be detected.

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What is GHB?

GHB, or Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, is a fast-acting nervous system depressant similar to Rohypnol.   It is a colorless and odorless liquid (also used in powder and capsule form) with a salty taste.   GHB is an illegal substance but is increasingly used as a recreational drug.

The effects of GHB.

Initially, one may experience euphoria and relaxation.   However, adverse effects can occur 15 minutes to an hour after ingestion.   Nausea, drowsiness, respiratory distress, dizziness, seizures, and amnesia are common effects.

As with Rohypnol, these effects may be magnified when combined with alcohol.   Withdrawal symptoms, including sweating, insomnia, muscular cramping, tremors, and anxiety may develop.   Some may experience more severe effects such as falling into a coma and/or death.

How is GHB abused?

GHB is misused much like Rohypnol.   However, because it is most commonly found in liquid form, it may be more easily slipped into a potential victims drink.   Like Rohypnol, GHB is often completely undetectable once dissolved in a drink.

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Alcohol, a Date Rape Drug?

For years, alcohol has been used to facilitate sexual assault more than any other drug.   Even today with the emergence of new substances such as Rohypnol and GHB, alcohol continues to be the substance most often associated with date rape, and the most easily accessible sedative substance.

The Effects of Alcohol.

Alcohol can have tremendous sedating effects, particularly when consumed in large quantities.   The effects of alcohol are quite similar to those of Rohypnol, GHB, and other sedatives and include both impaired judgment and motor coordination, loss of inhibition, dizziness, confusion, and extreme drowsiness.   When large quantities are consumed, a person may become unconscious and experience a loss of memory or "blackout" for the time period in which they were intoxicated.

How is Alcohol abused?

Though alcohol may be used to "spike" an unknowing person's drink, it is more often given to someone who willingly drinks it.    To facilitate a sexual assault, the perpetrator may persuade the potential victim to consume more alcohol than he or she normally would.   The perpetrator's objective is to entice the victim to drink to excess so that the victim will either become unconscious or otherwise unable to stop the assault.

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How Can I Protect Myself?

It is important to remember that a person can do everything right and still be sexually assaulted.   The only one who can prevent a rape is the rapist.   However, there are some things you can keep in mind to help reduce your risks, particularly with regard to substance-related sexual assault.

  • Be aware that alcohol is the drug most commonly used to facilitate sexual assault.   Consider this before you decide when, with whom, and how much to drink.

  • Remember that Rohypnol and GHB can be used on you even if you are drinking water or other non-alcoholic beverages.    It is never safe to leave a drink unattended.

  • Always drink responsibly and make arrangements with a trusted friend
    to look out for each other.

  • At a bar or club, accept drinks only from the bartender or server.

  • ** The following passages on date rape drugs were found on http://www.turningpointservices.org.

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