What is alcohol or other drug-facilitated sexual assault?
Alcohol or other drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) can occur when alcohol or other drugs are used to compromise or incapacitate an individual. This may result in lowered inhibitions, reduced ability to resist, and inability to remember details of an assault.
Symptoms may include:
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Feeling drunk after consuming little or no alcohol
- Sudden dizziness
- Blurred vision
- Memory loss
Drug-facilitated sexual assault is a crime
It’s illegal to:
- Drug another person without their knowledge or consent. U-M policy defines consent as “clear and unambiguous agreement expressed outwardly through mutually understandable words or actions to engage in sexual activity."
- Have sex with someone who is unable to give consent because they are incapacitated intoxicated, drugged or unconscious.
What substances can be used to facilitate sexual assault?
Alcohol is the most commonly used drug for sexual assault. Other drugs may include rohypnol, GHB, GBL, ketamine and MDMA.
If you think you were drugged and/or sexually assaulted:
First, get to a safe place. If you need a ride at night, see Late Night Transportation.
Next, it’s recommended to get health care. Be sure to inform health care providers about suspected drugging so they can order appropriate tests.
- In an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department. See Emergency/After Hours.
- UHS offers Sexual Assault Exam.
- You will not get in legal trouble for using alcohol or other drugs at the time of the assault. Individuals seeking health care for sexual assault are protected under Medical Amnesty in the State of Michigan.
Reporting is your choice: It is an option to report to law enforcement and to participate in U-M’s internal review process (where it applies), but you don’t have to -- it’s your choice. You can have an exam and treatment without reporting.
- You can report a crime to U-M Division of Safety and Security or your local police.
- Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) is a free and confidential resource that can assist you in navigating your reporting options.
- For more information, see Sexual and Gender-based Misconduct and Reporting Resources.
Seek help for any psychological and emotional effects, as desired. Free and confidential crisis intervention, support, and advocacy are available. Two campus resources are:
How to reduce risk:
The following suggestions may reduce the likelihood of experiencing sexual assault; however, it is important to remember that is never someone's fault for being sexually assaulted, regardless of whether they take these steps or not.
As stated by RAINN, “Many survivors have strong feelings of self-blame after drug-facilitated sexual assault. They may feel that their choice to drink or to use drugs put them in a dangerous situation that led to the assault. It’s important to remember that if a sexual assault occurs under these circumstances, it is still not your fault. When you choose to use drugs or alcohol, you are not choosing to be sexually assaulted. The blame for this crime falls ONLY on the perpetrator.”
- If you choose to consume alcohol, Stay in the Blue, know how much alcohol you’re consuming, and consider using the free app to plan how much to drink
- Bring your own if possible
- Drink from tamper-proof bottles and cans
- Insist on making your own drink or watching when someone else makes a drink for you
- Discard your drink if you realize it has been left unattended
- Take drinks from people you don’t know
- Drink beverages that you did not open yourself
- Share or exchange drinks with anyone
- Take a drink from a shared container e.g. punch bowl
- Leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom or using your phone
- Drink anything that has an unusual taste or appearance, e.g. salty taste, excessive foam, unexplained residue, odd color or texture
Watch out for your friends:
- Always leave a party or bar together.
- If a friend seems to have had more alcohol than they actually consumed, or is acting out of character, get them to a safe place immediately.
- If you think you or a friend has been drugged, get help immediately (see recommendations above).