Resources: Sexual Assault
- Go to a safe place.
- If you want to report the assault, notify the police or campus Public Safety immediately. Reporting the crime can help you regain a sense of personal power and control and can also help to ensure the safety of other potential victims.
- If you do not want to report the assault or are unsure, but you do want help, contact either the Sexual Assault Response Team at (201) 684-7222, and you can meet with one of the members of the team. This meeting is strictly confidential. The SART member will review your options with you and help make arrangements as you request. Only an anonymous report is filed. Or you can call the 24 Hour Bergen County Rape Crisis Center Hotline at (201) 487-2227.
- Preserve all physical evidence of the assault. Do not shower, bathe, douche, or brush your teeth. Save all of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. Place each item of clothing in a separate paper bag. Do not use plastic bags. Do not disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred.
- Go to a hospital emergency department or a specialized forensic clinic that provides medical care for sexual assault victims. Even if you think that you do not have any physical injuries, you should still have a medical examination and discuss with a health care provider the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and the possibility of pregnancy resulting from the sexual assault.
- If you suspect that you may have been given a rape drug, ask the hospital or clinic where you receive medical care to take a urine sample. The urine sample should be preserved as evidence. Rape drugs, such as Rohypnol and GHB, are more likely to be detected in urine than in blood.
- Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances of the assault, including a description of the assailant.
Talk with a counselor who is trained to assist rape victims about the emotional and physical impacts of the assault. You can call a hotline, rape crisis center, or a counseling agency to find someone who understands the trauma of rape and knows how to help. Contact ACT (201-684-7222) for confidential referrals.
When you go to parties, bars, and other social events are you being safe? Being safe means-among other things-that you are cautious of rape drugs. Do you and your friends know what rape drugs are and how they are used? Rapists use rape drugs as weapons to sedate and overpower their victims. Rape drugs appear in various types and forms, the most common of which is GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate). You have also probably heard of Rohypnol, better known as Ruffies. When GHB, Ruffies, and other rape drugs are mixed with alcohol they can be lethal. Always be cautious when alcohol is present in any situation. Remember that these situations are opportunities for rapists to dose your drink. Rape drugs have the power to make one drink feel like six. They also have the power to leave you unconscious, cause a memory lapse, and result in a complete loss of control. Please become more aware of the effects of GHB, Ruffies, and all rapes drugs by taking the preventive measures to protect yourself, your friends, and all potential victims.
What is GHB? (Gamma HydroxyButyrate)
GHB is a central nervous system depressant. It is a powerful synthetic drug that is rapidly metabolized by the body. The effects can be felt within fifteen minutes after ingestion. GHB has been coined the date rape drug of the ’90s and is also known as liquid ecstasy. It has been banned by the Food and Drug Administration because of several acute poisonings and destructive effects. At one time, GHB was used as a growth hormone stimulant by body builders. In other countries GHB is a controlled substance made by qualified chemists and used as a treatment for sleep disorders. GHB is illegally produced in the United States. Illegal production of GHB adds to the dangers because when unqualified people produce the drug there are significant differences in purity, concentration, and potency. The effects can be life threatening. GHB appears in a clear liquid form and when dissolved in a drink it is colorless, odorless, and may have a salty taste. Learn the effects and preventive measures by continuing.
What is Rohypnol (Ruffies)?
Rohypnol is most commonly known as ruffies. Rohypnol is the brand name for flunitrazepam. It is in the same family as Valium and Xanax except 10 times more powerful. Rohypnol is primarily used as a surgical anesthetic or sleeping pill in other countries. Rohypnol has never been approved for any medical use in the United States and remains illegal. Possession of Rohypnol is punishable for three years in prison and a fine. Distribution and administration of this rape drug without the person’s knowledge is punishable by twenty years in prison and a fine. Rohypnol appears in a tablet form and when dissolved in a drink it is odorless and colorless. Recent developments by the manufacturer Hoffman La-Roche have reformulated the pill to turn blue or cloudy in varying colored drinks. It will be a while before these types reach illegal distributors. Learn more about effects and preventive measures of this rape drug by continuing.
Date Rape Drug Chart
GHB? (Gamma HydroxyButyrate)
Appearance: Clear liquid, Slightly thicker than water, White powder form, Capsule form, Odorless and colorless
Packaging: “Bubbles” jar, tin foil, plastic baggie, water bottle, film canister, eye dropper bottles.
Slang Terms: Grievous Bodily Harm(GBH), Liquid X, Liquid E, G-Juice.
Methods of Ingestion: Swallowed, Mixed with a drink
Duration of Effects: Onset: 10-20 minutes, Duration: 1-3 hours, After effects: 2-4 hours
Physical and Psychological Effects: Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, seizures, respiratory depression, anxiety, loss of coordination, intense drowsiness, impaired judgement, unconsciousness, memory loss, coma, death.
GHB? (Gamma HydroxyButyrate)
Appearance: White colored tablets, Single or double cross scored lines on back, #1 or #2 scored on front for milligrams, R.H. Roche or Ruffies on front of tablet, White powder form, Clear liquid form, Odorless and colorless
Packaging: Silver peel away pill package with Roche written on back, plastic baggie, pill bottle, water bottle
Slang Terms: Ruffie, R-2, Mind Eraser, Wheel, Plus, Minus
Methods of Ingestion: Swallowed, inhaled, injected, smoked, and dissolved in liquid
Duration of Effects: Onset: 15-20 minutes, Peak: 1-2 hours, Duration: 8 hours, Hangover: 12-24 hours
Physical and Psychological Effects: Dizziness, confusion, respiratory depression, loss of coordination, intense drowsiness, impaired judgement, unconsciousness, extremely low blood pressure, memory loss, coma, death.
Avoiding Rape: Taking Care of Yourself and Your Friends
Your best defense against rapists and rape drugs is awareness. One major defense is surrounding yourself with people you trust. Make a plan to look out for one another. Become more aware of preventive measures by reading the following tips, absorbing them, and sharing them with your friends.
Taking care of yourself and your friends:
- Don’t drink beverages that you did not open yourself.
- Don’t share or exchange drinks with anyone.
- Don’t drink from a punch bowl.
- Don’t drink from a container that is being passed around.
- If possible, bring your own drinks to parties.
- If someone offers you a drink from the bar at a club or a party, accompany the person to the bar to order your drink, watch the drink being poured, and carry the drink yourself.
- Don’t leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call.
- If you realize your drink has been left unattended, discard it.
- Don’t drink anything that has an unusual taste or appearance (e.g., salty taste, excessive foam, unexplained residue).
- If you see or hear that someone is “dosing” a drink or a punch bowl, intervene. Warn potential victims, discard all drinks, call authorities, and get help.
- Warn friends about high risk situations, such as clubs, parties, bars, and raves.
- Friends should periodically check up on one another.
- Appoint a designated sober person when going out.
- Do not be alone or leave anyplace with someone you do not know well or have just met.
Signs That You May Have Been Drugged and What To Do
- Feel a lot more intoxicated than your usual response to the amount of alcohol you consumed.
- Get sick after drinking a beverage.
- Pass out and are difficult to awaken.
- Have difficulty breathing.
- Behave in an uncharacteristic way.
- Remember taking a drink but cannot recall what happened for a period of time after you consumed the drink.
- Wake up in a situation and have no recollection of how you got there.
- Feel as though someone had sex with you but you can’t remember any of the incident.
What to do if it happens to you or a friend:
- Get to a safe place.
- Get help immediately.
- Ask a trusted friend to stay with you and assist you in getting the help you need.
- Call the police.
- Got to a hospital emergency department as soon as possible for an examination and evidence collection.
- Request the hospital take a urine sample for drug toxicology testing to be done by your law enforcement agency’s crime lab.
- Preserve as much physical evidence as possible. Do not urinate, shower, bathe, douche, or throw away the clothing you were wearing during the incident. If possible, save any other materials that might provide evidence, such as the glass that held your drink.
- Call a rape crisis center for information and support:
- Bergen County Rape Crisis Center 24 hour hotline: 201-487-2227 or
On campus, call 201-684-7222 for confidential support.
* Information provided by Rape Treatment Center, Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center. For more information see their pamphlet in the Women’s Center or reach them at http://www.911rape.org.
The majority of American rape victims (61%) are raped before the age of 18; furthermore, an astounding 29% of all forcible rapes occurred when the victim was less than 11 years old. 11% of rape victims are raped by their fathers or step-fathers, and another 16% are raped by other relatives (National Center for Victims of Crime and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, 1992).
The study of a nationally representative sample of state prisoners serving time for violent crime in 1991 showed that, of those prisoners convicted of rape or sexual assault, two-thirds victimized children and almost one-third of the victims were the children or step-children of the assailant (Greenfeld, 1996).
In a study of male survivors of child sexual abuse, over 80% had a history of substance abuse, 50% had suicidal thoughts, 23% attempted suicide, and almost 70% received psychological treatment. 31% had violently victimized others (Lisak, 1994).
While the prevalence and severity of child abuse in the United States has been given an increasing amount of attention – attitudes, definitions and statistics continue to vary. The examination of incest may incite some of the greatest discrepancies, for it remains one of the most under-reported and least discussed crimes in our nation. An almost international taboo, incest often remains concealed by the victim because of guilt, shame, fear, social and familial pressure, as well as coercion by the abuser (Matsakis, 1991).
One definition describes incest as: “…the sexual abuse of a child by a relative or other person in a position of trust and authority over the child. It is a violation of the child where he or she lives — literally and metaphorically. A child molested by a stranger can run home for help and comfort. A victim of incest cannot” (Vanderbilt, 1992, p. 51). Additional definitions include the following characteristics:
Sexual contact or interaction between family members who are not marital partners;
Oral-genital contact, genital or anal penetration, genital touching of the victim by the perpetrator, any other touching of private body parts, sexual kissing and hugging;
Sexually staring at the victim by the perpetrator, accidental or disguised touching of the victim’s body by the perpetrator, verbal invitations to engage in sexual activity, verbal ridiculing of body parts, pornographic photography, reading of sexually explicit material to children, and exposure to inappropriate sexual activity (Caruso, 1987).
Incest does not discriminate. It happens in families that are financially-privileged, as well as those of low socio-economic status. It happens to those of all racial and ethnic descent, and to those of all religious traditions. Victims of incest are boys and girls, infants and adolescents. Incest occurs between fathers and daughters, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters and mothers and sons. Perpetrators of incest can be aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, step-parents, step-children, grandparents and grandchildren. In addition, incest offenders can be persons without a direct blood or legal relationship to the victim such as a parent’s lover or live-in nanny, housekeeper, etc. — as this abuse takes place within the confines of the family and the home environment (Vanderbilt, 1992). The study of a nationally representative sample of state prisoners serving time for violent crime in 1991 revealed that 20% of their crimes were committed against children, and three out of four prisoners who victimized a child reported the crime took place in their own home or in the victim’s home (Greenfeld, 1996).
Estimates of the number of incest victims in the United States vary. These discrepancies can be attributed to the fact that incest remains an extremely under-reported crime. All too often, pressure from family members — in addition to threats or pressure from the abuser — results in extreme reluctance to reveal abuse and to subsequently obtain help (Matsakis, 1991).
Incest has been cited as the most common form of child abuse. Studies conclude that 43% of the children who are abused are abused by family members, 33% are abused by someone they know, and the remaining 24% are sexually abused by strangers (Hayes, 1990). Other research indicates that over 10 million Americans have been victims of incest.
One of the nation’s leading researchers on child sexual abuse, David Finkelhor, estimates that 1,000,000 Americans are victims of father-daughter incest, and 16,000 new cases occur annually (Finkelhor, 1983). However, Finkelhor’s statistics may be significantly low because they are based primarily on accounts of white, middle-class women and may not adequately represent low-income and minority women (Matsakis, 1991).
Victims of incest are often extremely reluctant to reveal that they are being abused because their abuser is a person in a position of trust and authority for the victim. Often the incest victim does not understand — or they deny — that anything is wrong with the behavior they are encountering (Vanderbilt, 1992). Many young incest victims accept and believe the perpetrator’s explanation that this is a “learning experience” that happens in every family by an older family member. Incest victims may fear they will be disbelieved, blamed or punished if they report their abuse.
In addition, some recent research suggests that some victims of incest may suffer from biochemically-induced amnesia. This condition can be triggered by a severe trauma, such as a sexual assault, which causes the body to incur a number of complex endocrine and neurological changes resulting in complete or partial amnesia regarding the event. Thus, any immediate and/or latent memory of the incident(s) is repressed (Matsakis, 1991).
Most research concludes that girls and women are at substantially higher risk of being sexually assaulted than males (Matsakis, 1991). A recent study of all state prisoners serving time for violent crime in 1991 revealed that of all those convicted for rape or sexual assault, two-thirds victimized children and three out of four of their victims were young girls (Greenfeld, 1996). However, estimates of male incest may be low due to the fact that, while girls are extremely hesitant to disclose incest, boys are probably even more so. Boys may be especially reluctant to admit incest victimization because of the sexual details and their fear it may indicate to others a weakness and/or homosexuality, which can result in negative social stigmatization (Vanderbilt, 1992).
Incest can have serious long-term effects on its victims. One study concluded that among the survivors of incest who were victimized by their mothers, 60% of the women had eating disorders as did one-fourth (25%) of the men. Of the 93 women and nine men included in this study, 80% of the women and all of the men reported sexual problems in their adult life. In addition, almost two-thirds of the women stated that they never or rarely went to the doctor or the dentist as the examination was too terrifying for them. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — which includes amnesia, nightmares and flashbacks — also remains prevalent among incest survivors (Vanderbilt, 1992). Additionally, there is research which indicates that children who have been sexually abused by a relative suffer from even more intense guilt and shame, low self-esteem, depression and self-destructive behavior (such as substance abuse, sexual promiscuity and prostitution) than children who have been sexually assaulted by a stranger (Matsakis, 1991).
Whether an incest victim endured an isolated incident of abuse or ongoing assaults over an extended period of time, the process of recovery can be exceptionally painful and difficult. The recovery process begins with admission of abuse and the recognition that help and services are needed. There are services and resources available for incest victims — both children and adult survivors of incest. Resources for incest victims include books, self-help groups, workshops, short and long-term therapy programs, and possible legal remedies. Many survivors of incest have formed self-help/support groups where they along with other incest survivors can discuss their victimization and find role models who have survived incest (Vanderbilt, 1992).
Caruso, Beverly. (1987). The Impact of Incest. Center City, MN: Hazelden Educational Materials.
Finkelhor, David. (1983). The Dark Side of Families: Current Family Violence Research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
Greenfeld, Lawrence. (1996). Child Victimizers: Violent Offenders and Their Victims: Executive Summary. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.
Hayes, Robert. (1990, Summer). “Child Sexual Abuse.” Crime Prevention Journal.
Langan, Patrick and Caroline Harlow. (1994). Child Rape Victims, 1992. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice.
Lisak, David. (1994). “The Psychological Impact of Sexual Abuse: Content Analysis of Interviews with Male Survivors.” Journal of Traumatic Stress, 7(4): 525-548.
Matsakis, Aphrodite. (1991). When the Bough Breaks. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
National Center for Victims of Crime and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center. (1992). Rape in America: A Report to the Nation. Arlington, VA: National Center for Victims of Crime and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center.
Vanderbilt, Heidi. (1992, February). “Incest: A Chilling Report.” Lears, p. 49-77.
For additional information:
Family Violence & Sexual Assault Institute
6160 Cornerstone Court East
San Diego, CA 92121
National Children’s Advocacy Center
210 Pratt Avenue
Huntsville, AL 35801
Phone: (256) 533-KIDS (5437)
National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse
332 South Michigan Avenue Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 663 – 3520
National Council on Child Abuse & Family Violence
1025 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20036
National HIV/AIDS Hotline
Centers for Disease Control
American Social Health Association
(800) 624-2377 (24 hrs, 7 days)
TTY/TDD: (201) 926-8008
National: (973) 926-8008
Survivors of Incest Anonymous
World Service Office
P.O. Box 190
Benson, MD 21018-9998
Voices in Action, Inc.
8041 Hosbrook Road Suite 236
(* disclaimer below)
Your state Attorney General, county/city prosecutor, or county/city law enforcement:
Check in the Blue Pages of your local phone book under the appropriate section heading of either “Local Governments,” “County Governments,” or “State Government.”
Information provided by: INFOLINK ©: A Program of the National Center for Victims of Crime.
- Last year in Bergen County alone, there were 1055 clients using the services at the Rape Crisis Hotline (Bergen County Rape Crisis Center).
- A woman is raped every 2 minutes in the United States (U.S. Department of Justice).
- In a national study of college students, 15.4% of female respondents said they had been the victim of rape, and 53% had suffered some form of sexual aggression (Koss, “ Hidden Rape: Sexual Aggression and Victimization in a National Sample of Students in Higher Education”).
- The United States is one of the most rape-prone countries in the world, with the rate of reported and attempted rape nearly 18 times higher than in England (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network).
- 68% of rape victims know their assailant: 35% were acquaintances, 28% were boyfriends or husbands, and 5% were other relatives (U.S. Department of Justice).
- In a 1988 study of unwanted sexual activity among men, it was found that 2/3 of the men surveyed reported having engaged in unwanted intercourse, primarily because of male peer pressure or wanting to be popular. Other studies show as many as 14% of men are forced to have sex against their will. [Berkowitz, “A Review of Recent Research.” Journal of American College Health, 40 (1992): 175-81.]
- 55% of all female victims of sexual abuse that occurs in the home are girls under the age of 11 (NJ Division on Women).
- 1/3 of all juvenile victims of sexual abuse are children under the age of 6 (NJ Division on Women).
- The use of alcohol or drugs increases the chances that: sexual intent will be misperceived; communicating one’s intentions will be more difficult; sexual aggression will be justified in the perpetrator’s mind. [Abbey, Psychology of Women Quarterly 11 (1987): 173-94.]
- Assault and abuse have often been linked to the way men are socialized to become “masculine” especially when being masculine means being in control and sexually aggressive. But not all men rape or abuse–so what accounts for those who do? According to the Centers for Disease Control, men who perpetrate assault tend to have the following common traits, beliefs and experiences:
- A belief that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict, especially in dating relationships
- High degree of investment in traditional gender roles, adoption of hyper-masculine traits
- Tendency to take an active role in dating situations (e.g., initiating, driving, paying)
- Adversarial beliefs about relationships
- Belief in common rape myths
- Previous intimacy with the victim
- Use of alcohol and drugs
Studies of both incarcerated and non-incarcerated rapists show that these men score significantly higher than control subjects on standardized measures of:
- Hostility toward women
- Dominance as a motive for sexual interaction
A study of juniors and seniors at a major Southeastern University conducted by psychologists David Lisak and Susan Roth found that there were significant differences between men who had committed acts which met the legal definition of rape and those who had not. Men who had committed rape reported having poorer relationships with their fathers than non-rapists. The study concludes that those who were raised in traditional European-American families where the father was physically present but emotionally distant had significantly greater needs to “define themselves in opposition to women” and greater propensity toward violence against women (In Confronting Rape, eds. Mary Odem and Jody Clay-Warner, pp. 145-62.)
Assault and abuse have often been linked to the way men are socialized to become” masculine” especially when being masculine means being in control and sexually aggressive. But not all men rape or abuse–so what accounts for those who do?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, men who perpetrate assault tend to have the following common traits, beliefs and experiences
- A belief that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict, especially in dating relationships.
- High degree of investment in traditional gender roles, & adoption of hyper-masculine traits.
- Taking the active role in dating situations (e.g., initiating, driving, paying).
- Adversarial beliefs about relationships.
- Belief in common rape myths.
- Previous intimacy with the victim.
- Use of alcohol and drugs.
Study of both incarcerated and non-incarcerated rapists show that these men score significantly higher than control subjects on standardized measures of 1) hostility toward women 2) dominance as a motive for sexual interaction, and 3) hyper- masculinity.
A study of juniors and seniors at a major Southeastern University conducted by psychologists David Lisak and Susan Roth found that there were significant differences between men who had committed acts which met the legal definition of rape and those who had not. Men who had committed rape reported having poorer relationships with their fathers than non rapists. The study concludes that those who were raised in traditional European-American families where the father was physically present but emotionally distant had significantly greater needs to “define themselves in opposition to women” and greater propensity toward violence against women (In Confronting Rape, eds. Mary Odem and Jody Clay Warner, pp. 145-62.)
Following a sexual victimization, you may experience some of or all of the following reactions, which have been identified, studied and named Rape Trauma Syndrome:
- Emotional Shock – I feel numb, I can’t even cry. Did it really happen?
- Fear – I’m afraid to be alone. I’m afraid of men, crowds, night…
- Helplessness – I feel my life is out of control. I can’t make decisions.
- Anxiety – I’m such a nervous wreck, I feel like I’m going crazy. Anxiety may also be expressed in physical symptoms (change in eating habits/stomach problems/nightmares/flashbacks/sleep disturbances/bedwetting).
- Guilt – I feel as if I did something to make this happen to me. If only I had/hadn’t…
- Shame – I feel so dirty. I want to shower all day long. What will people think? I can’t talk to anyone about this.
- Depression – I have crying spells. I feel so tired and hopeless.
- Disorientation – I can’t sit still. I can’t seem to concentrate. I’m just overwhelmed.
- Isolation – I feel different and all alone. I feel I can’t trust people. I’ve lost interest in sex. I don’t want to be close to or touched by anyone.
- Anger – I feel so angry. I want to kill him/her.
These feelings may occur singly or many at a time. They may come and go. You may experience mood swings. You may want to get away, move to another area, get an unlisted phone number or visit relatives in another city. All of these are common reactions. You may want to forget and block out the painful memories but it is important to talk about the experience, your fears and feelings.
Getting back to normal can take a long time. Healing is realized when you can accept and deal with the impact that the sexual assault has had on your life and begin again to function on the level you did prior to the assault.
Many survivors have found it helpful to talk with Rape Crisis Counselors. They are trained to listen, understand and help you make your own decisions and deal with your feelings.
- Alternatives to Domestic Violence 24-Hour: 201-336-7575
- Shelter Our Sisters (DV Shelter): 201-944-9600
- NJ Coalition for Battered Women: 609-584-8107
- Bergen County Rape Crisis Center 24-Hour: 201-487-2227
- Suicide Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
- Emergency Contraception Hotline: 1-888-NOT-2-Late
- CDC National AIDS Hotline: 1-800-342-AIDS
- NJ AIDS Hotline: 1-800-624-2377
- National STD Hotline: 1-800-227-8922
- Gay & Lesbian National Hotline: 1-888-843-4564 (M-F 6-11:00pm)
- Anti-Violence Project:
(Gay Activist Alliance of Morris County & the Battered Lesbian Hotline)
- Overeaters Anonymous:1- 973-746-8787
- NJ Eating Disorders Helpline: 1-800-624-2268
- ALA-CALL Substance Abuse Hotline: 1-800-322-5525
- Narcotics Anonymous: 1-800-992-0401
- Cocaine Hotline: 1-800-COCAINE
- NJ Drug Hotline: 1-800-225-0196
- Poison Control Center: 1-800-222-1222
- Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline: 1-800-392-3738
- Child Support Information Hotline: 1-800-621-KIDS
- Legal Services of NJ Welfare Hotline: 1-800-576-5529