Drug Facilated Rape

When a Woman says No, She Means It
When a woman says no, she means no. Use this image to help stop violence against women!

Things to know about Rape in the Vancouver Lower Mainland:

  • You may not know that you have been drugged. You might think you are going crazy due to the hallicination, delusions and other effects of a drug you did not willing take. That is terrifying and very real.
  • Your brain may not ask for help, even it there are people around you because you are being taken over by the drugs. You are like a fly in a spider web. Caught and trapped, and you might not be able to do anything about it.
  • The most important thing – you survived the attack. That makes you a hero.
  • If there is a shadow of belief that you might have been drugged. Go to hospital immediately because later, if you want to charge your attacker, you only have about 3 hours max to get the drug to show up in your urine…They say 72 hours in the literature, but that amount depends upon the way that bodies metabolize drugs. So the quicker the better… I know it’s terrifying. I know you just want to sleep and forget that it even happened…but you might regret not going to hospital if you wait.
  • There are only 2 hospitals in the Vancouver Lower Mainland that will complete the SANE reports (medical exams). Surrey Memorial and Vancouver General Hospital.
  • Please for the sake of all the women that may come after you (believe me, if he did it to you, he’ll do it again), get to hospital ASAP and just get the test done.
  • If you chose to get the SANE exam. You don’t have to call 911 immediately. The hospital can hold your sample up to 2 years. You can report the crime to the police later, and have your samples used within that 2 year span of time.
  • Many women don’t go to hospital because they are too traumatized about the rape, to report it. Its completely understandable that women will want to force the event out of their minds. To ignore that their bodies have DNA on them that can be helpful in stopping the criminal. It might be easier to just go pee, or to have a shower, or to throw out the evidence. Think carefully, you aren’t thinking straight right now…place the clothing etc in a paper bag and place it in your closet – insist that the police take the evidence if you decide to report it.
  • The report to the police, can be very jarring. Being interrogated is part of their protocol (its not like the TV shows). Have a friend be there with you.
  • The police can and may take years and years to investigate your allegations. It takes patience and diligence to make sure that they stay on top of your case, if you want to them to prosecute. Don’t stop believing in your power to stop your attacker (if you have chosen to report it).
  • This is a marathon, not just getting through the trauma of the attack, but the court system as well.
  • However, if you are that brave, all women will thank you for protecting your children, sisters, mothers, grandmothers and future generations.
  • Sexual abuse must stop. Its time for the movement to take root and spread until the attackers (most often men) stop. They need help and the court system is the way to do that.
  • WAVAW (provides outreach workers, and support groups); CVAP (may have money to support victims fund therapy); and Victim Services (can help orient victims to the practical court matters and procedures).
  • I can help you with all these services and provide you with a pathway through this maze of confusion should you decide to get some therapy for your trauma.


This artist was suggested by a wonderful client, I am working with. I am impressed and honoured to support and bare witness to the front line work my clients are doing to fight their demons – negative thoughts, anxiety, and flashbacks. I wanted to post this artist because his thoughts on anxiety seem to fit with what I see in the hearts and minds of the people I work with.

Unacknowledged Rape

Unacknowledged rape is defined as a sexual experience that meets the legal requirements of rape, but is not labeled as rape by the victim.[1] Instead, the victim may label the experience as “bad sex”, a “miscommunication”,[2] or a regrettable “hook up.” This response is more frequently recognized amongst victims of acquaintance rape or date rape.

It has been found that the majority of unacknowledged rape victims are college aged females.[4] Additionally, of rape victims in this population at least 1/4 are unacknowledged victims. Some studies report that, out of all individuals who meet the requirements for rape, nearly 60% are unacknowledged victims.[5] The percentage of individuals who are unacknowledged rape victims increases exponentially when several factors are considered: If the victim knows her assailant (i.e. date/acquaintance rape) she is less likely to acknowledge herself as a rape victim. She is also less likely if the incident occurred while she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If the incident involved oral sex or non-penetrative sex, the individual is less likely to acknowledge themselves as a rape victim.

Rape myths

Rape myths are defined by Martha Burt as “prejudicial, stereotyped, or false beliefs about rape, rape victims, and rapists.” Frequently, these rape myths are perpetuated by rape scripts: an individuals cognitive schema about what typically happens during a rape.[6] Most women have a stranger rape script as opposed to an acquaintance rape script- if asked to picture a sexual assault, most women picture a violent attack that occurs outdoors by a stranger who is yielding some sort of weapon. If there is a discrepancy between a woman’s internalized rape script and her rape experience, she is less likely to acknowledge herself as a rape victim.[1] This discrepancy is one of the main reasons why women do not acknowledge their sexual assault experience.[citation needed]

The myth of the perfect victim is another causal factor for unacknowledged victims.

Nature of assault

Another influence on acknowledgement status that is related to the victim’s internalized rape scripts lies in the nature of the assault itself. Specifically, the levels of force used by the attacker and resistance used by the victim are two major factors related to acknowledgement status.[2] Due to this, these victims are less likely to be physically injured during the assault. This decrease in force and resistance is potentially due to an incapacitation of the victim, through alcohol, drugs, or other means.

Counterfactual thinking

Counterfactual thinking occurs when an individual mentally morphs, restructures, or changes events. It is possible that unacknowledged rape vitims use counterfactual thinking to cognitively reorganize the experience into something other than rape.[1] Victims that exhibit counterfactual thinking typically reorganize their thought patterns by thinking of ways the situation could have been worse. Others think about ways they could have prevented the situation from occurring instead of thinking about the experience itself. Both of these thought patterns are clearly related to a lack of acknowledgment.[7]

Relationship to perpetrator

Individuals who are raped by strangers are more likely to acknowledge their status as a rape victim. Conversely, individuals who are raped by acquaintances,[8] friends, or significant others are more likely to be unacknowledged rape victims. Approximately 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone who knows the victim and 38% of assaults are committed by a friend of the victim.[9] Acquaintance rape is highly prevalent and represents the majority of sexual assault cases. Therefore,a majority of victims are at an increased likelihood of being unacknowledged.

Drug and alcohol use

If an individual was willingly under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they are less likely to acknowledge the event as a rape.[1] This changes if the individual was unwillingly under the influence of drugs during the event- more popularly known as date rape. One study found that less than 10% of women who were intoxicated acknowledged their experience as rape. Another study found that over 50% of unacknowledged victims report being under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the event while only approximately 25% of acknowledged victims report being impaired by a substance.[1]


Acknowledged rape itself is greatly under-reported – approximately 60% of rapes are never reported.[9] Other studies have found that the number is even smaller, with approximately 16% of rapes being reported to the police.[4] It has been found that individuals who are unacknowledged rape victims are substantially less likely to report the incident to the proper authorities. They have conceptualized the event as a non-crime and therefore the perpetrator is unlikely to receive the necessary punishment for the incident overall.

Even when the perpetrator is reported, it is likely that the case will not be prosecuted, as date rapes tend to lack physical evidence. The culture of skepticism towards women rape complainants further ensures perpetrators will commit similar sexual assaults in the future. By understanding the acknowledgement process further researchers and clinicians may be able to ensure that assailants of all types of sexual assault are being reported and receiving the necessary punishments.[1]


Some individuals argue that changes in the conceptualization of rape, such as the consideration of acknowledgment status, blurs the line between rape and consensual sex. Determining if a rape has occurred is difficult for many victims. This distinction becomes even less clear when considering the fact that every state has differing laws pertaining to what constitutes rape and sexual assault. However, it should be noted that institutions like WHO, the FBI, the CDC, etc use equivalent definitions of rape.

Like their acknowledged counterparts, unacknowledged victims experience similar amounts of trauma and psychological harm.[10] Despite this, research is unclear as to whether these difficulties are more, less, or the same as those of acknowledged victims.[2] There has been significant controversy amongst clinical professionals regarding the helpfulness versus harmfulness of acknowledgment status. Therapists are divided on whether unacknowledged victims fare better or worse with time than acknowledged victims. Women who seek professional help after a traumatic sexual assault or rape typically exhibit PTSD symptomology and frequently label themselves as rape victims. Conversely, unacknowledged rape victims frequently report less negative emotional affect post experience and many experience less feelings of victimization.[1] This troubles many clinicians- it is unclear whether unacknowledged victims are healthier and cope better or are simply in denial.


Sad young man sitting in the corner of the room
Sad young man sitting in the corner of the room

I have been working with many people who tell me that they just want to wish their depression away.  I explain that depression and anxiety should be renamed, a serotonin and dopamine deficiency. It is a chemical issue, just like diabetes. Sometimes it needs to be treated in order for a person’s chemical makeup to be reset. It doesn’t mean that someone necessarily needs to remain on medications their entire life and sometimes they do.

More often, people struggle due to long-term unresolved trauma,  and they need counselling support to cope with day to day life and help sort out government programming.