GHB and Sexual Assault

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC

sparkler-143028_640Sexual assault is a harsh experience that countless of individuals has become victim to. According to RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.

Also according to RAINN, each year there are almost 300,000 victims of sexual assault. These numbers are absolutely astounding and give a small picture of an enormous problem that exists across our country. Because of the shame and guilt that is often associated with sexual assault experiences, these encounters are often under-reported, which means that the statistics of sexual assault is likely much higher.

Sexual Assault Isn’t Predictable

Tragically, sexual assault can occur when least expected. Becoming aware of the many factors that may lead to sexual assault can help reduce the risk of this type of encounter or experience. One of the most common ways in which sexual assault occurs is through the use of drugs, typically known as the “Date Rape” drugs.

Drug-facilitated sexual assaults involve the use of a drug to sedate a victim, making it easier to complete an act of sexual assault. While several drugs might be used for this purpose, one of the most frequently date-rape drugs includes gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB).

Where GHB Is Found

Picture of bar where GHB is often usedGHB is a banned dietary supplement that is known by the street names “G”, “Georgia”, “Home Boy”, “Soap”, “Liquid X”, “Scoop”, and “Goop”. GHB has been found more frequently among drug-facilitated sexual assault cases, perhaps because it is faster acting and induces amnesia type effects, such as passivity, disinhibition, and relaxation of muscles.

GHB is also colorless, odorless, and tasteless, which makes is easy for a perpetrator to hide this drug in an alcoholic beverage or soft drink. A victim who ingests GHB can suddenly become lightheaded, disoriented or even experience a blackout, often not coming to it until after a sexual assault has occurred.

Effects of GHB

Because the effects of GHB result in dizziness, confusion, impaired memory and judgment, and drowsiness, it may in fact take some time for a victim to come to their senses and understand what may have happened to them.

This can also prevent a victim from reporting an event of sexual assault, as being under the influence of GHB can severely alter memory and cognition. If consumed at a high dosage or in combination with alcohol, GHB can even result in an induced coma, respiratory failure, and fatality.

Protecting Yourself

bar-238509_640Being aware of how GHB can be used in a drug-facilitated sexual assault is the first step towards prevention. Protect yourself by being aware of your surroundings and trusting your intuition. If you are out, be sure to always watch your beverages. Never leave your drinks unattended or accept a drink from a stranger.

Remember that GHB cannot be tasted or smelled, so it can easily go undetected. If you have accidentally left your drink unattended for any period of time, discard your beverage and opt for something new as a precaution. It is always important to be aware of your surroundings.

If you are going out somewhere that you are not familiar with, consider going with a group of friends that you trust. Try not to walk alone, especially at night. Lastly, trust yourself and your intuition. If you are in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, this is likely an indicator that something is not right. Remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible.

The Fault Is In the Predator

If you have been a victim of sexual assault, it is important to know that this situation was in no way, shape or form your fault. Moving past self-blame can help you get the professional assistance you need to heal from this difficult situation. Know that you are not alone and reach out to someone who specializes in this area, such as a counselor or therapist who can guide you through the healing journey.

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal Karges is a Contributing Writer for Addiction Hope.

Crystal is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), has a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Point Loma Nazarene University and a Masters degree in Nutrition Science from the University of Saint Joseph.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on August 8th, 2015
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 8th, 2015.
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