Student Safety is one of the main priorities of the DkIT Student Union for the college year. Please ensure to act responsibly at all times and be safe. The same rules apply in college as they do back home so don’t walk home alone and as much as possible keep out of situations of conflict.
An increased Gardaí presence is a priority of ours so this should help to promote student safety especially around night-times.
Please read on for information on Sexual Assault, and please see ask any SU officer about safety on campus.
When people think of rape, they might think of a stranger jumping out of a shadowy place and sexually attacking someone. But it’s not only strangers who rape. Actually, many people who have been raped already knew the person who attacked them.
Growing up means developing friendships, going out on dates, and meeting new people. Getting to know others is an important and exciting part of life. Most friendships, acquaintances, and dates never lead to violence, of course. But, sadly, sometimes it happens. When forced sex occurs between two people who already know each other, it is known as date or acquaintance rape. Even if the two people know each other well, and even if they were intimate before, no one has the right to force a sexual act from another against his or her will. Girls and women are most often the victims of rape, but it can happen to guys, too.
Even though rape involves forced sex, rape is not about sex or passion. Rape has nothing to do with love. Rape is an act of aggression and violence.
The Involvement of Alcohol and Drugs
Alcohol use is involved in many date rapes. Drinking can loosen people’s inhibitions, dull common sense, and – for some – bring out sexually aggressive behavior. A teen using alcohol will find many situations when it becomes harder to use good judgement, to be cautious, or to protect herself.
A recent trend, especially on college campuses, has been the illegal use of the drug rohypnol, sometimes called the date rape drug. Also called roofies or the forget pill, this drug may be prescribed to help people sleep. When rohypnol and alcohol are mixed, however, the effects can be devastating.
Girls who have been given rohypnol and alcohol may report feeling paralyzed, having blurred vision, and temporarily experiencing memory impairment. They can black out and forget things that happen to them while they are in this state. Because rohypnol may be slipped into girls’ beverages at a party or at other times without their knowledge, some experts suggest that girls should always handle their own beverages.
Protecting Yourself Against Date Rape
The best defense against date rape is to try to prevent it whenever possible. A girl can help to protect herself from possible date rape by:
- Avoiding secluded places (even his room or hers) with someone until she knows him well and he has earned her trust.
- Not spending time alone with someone who makes her feel uneasy or uncomfortable. This means following her instincts and removing herself from situations that she doesn’t feel good about.
Staying sober. Many date rapes involve drugs or alcohol, and sometimes a date might slip drugs like rohypnol or GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) into a drink to make a person more vulnerable.
- Learning to say “no” in a definite way. Girls should say it clearly when they need to, and guys should understand that “no” means “no” – it is not an invitation to try to persuade someone to have sex.
- Taking self-defense courses. These can build confidence and teach valuable physical techniques a person can use to get away from an attacker.
- Don’t accept open drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) from others who you do not know or do not trust; this includes drinks that come in a glass.
- When in bars or clubs always get your drink directly from the bartender and do not take your eyes off the bartender or your order; don’t use the waitress or let somebody go to the bar for you.
- At parties, only accept drinks in close containers: bottles, cans or tetra packs.
- Never leave your drink unattended or turn your back on your table.
- Do not drink from open beverage sources like punch bowls, pitchers or tubs.
- Keep your eyes and ears open; if there is talk of date rape drugs or if friends seem “too intoxicated” for what they have taken, leave the party or club immediately and don’t go back!
What to do if you think you may have been spiked
If you are with a friend that you implicitly trust, tell them your concerns and ask them to get you home by taxi and ask them to stay with you until the effects of the drug have worn off.
If you are alone, with a stranger, or do not fully trust anyone in the group, tell the pub owner or manager. It is imperative that you move immediately to a place of safety. Ask him/her to call a friend you trust and stay with a staff member. Do not let a stranger offer to help you or take you home – they may well be the attacker.