Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Fight till you get it right

All she did was accept a drink offered by a friend. Who would have thought of what would follow?
In October 2011, a 20-year-old Delhi student passed out after having a soft drink. The next day when she woke up, she found out that her friend Harish, who had offered her the drink, had taken her to a house in Rohini and sexually assaulted her.
The two had become friends after Harish,26, repaired her mobile phone. They started talking mobile phone and through social networking sites. So, when they met again, she didn't suspect anything.
She was shocked when Harish showed her the recording of the act. He threatened to post the clip on the Internet if she told anyone about what had happened. Scared, she kept quite for a month, but when she could not take it any longer she commited suicide . How family came to know about the incident and took her to a police station and filed a complaint . Harish was arrested and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
Last year, the chennai police arrested for college students for raping a 19 year old girl after spiking her drink at a party. One of the accused was her boyfriend.
Last july, a 16 year old girl in bandra in mumbai was forced to drink a spiked soft drink and then raped. A friend took her to the house of Akhtar Mansoori, 49, who forced her to down the spiked drink. Mansoori allegedly raped her. Keeping her captiva for 2 days, he allegedly raped her repeatedly.
the girl's family file a complaint with the police that the girl was missing. On the third day, mansoori let her go, but not before threatening to kill her if she spoke about the incident . The girl lied to her parents that she had gone on a picnic. According to media reports, mansoori used the nude pictures to force the girl to visit his house again. Then he took her to another man, who, too, sexually assaulted her. The girl who finally broke down before her parents , who helped her file a complaint, following which are arrests were made.
In all these cases, date rape drugs were used how to spike the drinks of the victims. Usually, spiked drink is given in a non-threatening social setting and used to aid sexual assault. Victims would have no clue as these drugs are odourless and colourless and can be easily must buy flavoured drinks. The drug would leave the victims unconscious, unable to fight back or understand what is happening to them. They would also not be able to remember anything about the assault.
"Date rapes are fairly common. We have heard of so many cases where the women say they went to a party and then passed out after having a drink" said psychiatrist Harish Shetty. Most girls who suspect they have been drugged and raped hardly ever report the crime because they do not remember anything.
Among the date rape drugs used, Rohypnol (used to treat insomnia) and Ecstasy are the most common, said Dr. Yusuf Merchant, President, Drug Abuse Information Rehabilitation and Research Centre. "While Rohypnol is a classic date rape drug used with the intention to rape, Ecstasy gives rise to a sexual urge," he said. In the US, date rapes using drugs have been studied and termed Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault(DFSA). A study among American women found that 81% of victims of DFSA knew their perpetrator before the assault.
Proving the use of a date rape drug becomes a challenge because no trace of the drug would be found in the blood stream after 72 hours. Also, the drug cannot be traced without a specific toxic scan. So, it is important that if a woman suspects having been drugged, she shares her doubts with the police so that specific tests can be done to confirm rape.
To encourage victims to be proactive, awareness has to be created among women and the police about the dangers of such drugs."In my 30 years of career, I have never heard of a single case where a girl was drugged and raped" said D.D.Kale, Assistant commissioner of police, Anti-Narcotics cell, Mumbai. He said he had never heard of date rape drugs, and that the cell only dealt with drugs like heroin and hashish.
It is for this reason that, while hearing the case of the Delhi student, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lay expressed the need to sensitise the investigating officers, prosecutors, hospital staff and the public about date rape drugs.
"It is a known fact that detection of these drugs is a difficult issue and unless a victim of drug facilitated sexual assault seeks medical care within 72 hours of the assault, it is less likely that the tests would successfully detect the presence of these drugs, since most of them get eliminated from the body, resulting in a negative report," she said.
It is difficult to prove the lace of consent and intent when the act happens in a private setting and when both the parties involved have consumed drug or alcohol and are in no condition to give consent. "Most victims do not report the crime because they have difficulty accepting it themselves," Said Merchant. "They also feel they did not do any thing to resist it and therefore suffer from suppression".
The fact that date rape drugs can be bought over the counter means that they are easily available to those who know about them.The authorities must take note of the dangers involved and check the sale of such drugs

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