We are joining the fight against drug-facilitated sexual assault, also known as drug rape. We are building a broad base of knowledge on how these types of sexual assault cases are mishandled across the country, and we’re advocating for effective criminal justice reforms that give survivors a pathway to justice on their own terms.
What is drug-facilitated sexual assault?
Drug facilitated sexual assault (DFSA or “drug-rape”) is sexual contact against a person who is incapacitated by any drug –including alcohol–and therefore cannot consent. Some perpetrators might drug a person’s drink without their knowledge or lie about the effects of a pill when offering it to someone. Other perpetrators seek out an already intoxicated or incapacitated person and deliberately target them for sexual assault. Either way, drug rape is always the perpetrator’s fault, never the victim’s fault.
Many drug rape cases are escaping the attention of law enforcement because perpetrators are choosing drugs that are difficult to detect, leading to falsely negative toxicology test results. The good news is, these cases may still be prosecutable.
What to do if you want to report your assault.
If you were recently sexually assaulted and need immediate help, scroll down for key resources to get immediate help or find more information through our Get Help menu below. The first four days after an assault are critical.
When reporting an assault to the police or local district attorney’s office, it helps to know your rights as a survivor.
Rape and Sexual Assault
The facts about drug rape:
- A study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice found that nearly 6 million American women are survivors of drug-facilitated sexual assault.
- Perpetrators are choosing drugs that are difficult to detect in the survivor’s blood and urine either because they are metabolized rapidly, or because they are synthetic and so new that labs can’t test for them. But the best prosecutors are relying on drug recognition experts (DREs) to secure convictions. It’s critical that more police and prosecutors follow that example and rise to the challenge of prosecuting this frighteningly prevalent crime.
How we’re making change:
Drug rape is under-prosecuted, and we’re out to change this.
We’ve worked with more than two dozen survivors in six cities across the country to challenge the systems that denied them justice.
We help law enforcement agencies build their capacity to pursue drug-rapists by providing technical advice about options for toxicology testing and expert witnesses. We connect prosecutors across jurisdictions to share experiences and effective practices.
When police and prosecutors fail to take appropriate action, we bring together coalitions of survivors and allies to demand change. In one city, our efforts helped lead to the creation of a new city agency to improve the city’s response to sexual assault. In other cities, we have persuaded district attorneys to re-open rape investigations they had previously tossed out.