Women warned of use of date-rape drug in southeast

Weyburn Review
June 11, 2014 01:00 AM



There have been reports of the use of the "date rape" drug, Rohypnol, in Weyburn and Estevan.

In Weyburn, police victim services assistant counselor Tara Bailey said there haven't been many cases when compared to Estevan.

However, Bailey recommended to stay cautious when out with friends.

"Don't leave your drink unattended," Bailey said.

She added that if your glass has been left unattended, do not drink from it.

In the past three years, there have been four reported cases of the use of Rohypnol in the city of Weyburn. There were two cases where the police suspected the drug was involved but it could not be proven.

Bailey said there are a lot of cases where a victim has been drugged and assaulted goes unreported. She said victims should come forward.

"Talk to us and don't be fearful of reporting it," Bailey said. "We're here to assist in any way we can."

Some victims can feel embarrassed or blame themselves after the incident, Bailey said. Victims can also go to Victim Services without making a formal report.

"We can chat about what the process would look like and talk to the police. We would never force them to make a statement," she said.

Rohypnol has an extremely intoxicating effect and causes a person to lose control of their motor functions and make the victim more susceptible to suggestion and persuasion, said Tyler MacPherson, a counselor with Envision Counselling.

"It's a crime of violence and a crime of power," MacPherson said. "It's not of sexual desire, it's taking advantage of others is what it boils down to."

He added that many people feel ashamed and feel like the assault was their fault when the blame should be placed on the perpetrator. According to MacPherson, the majority of sexual assault cases, the victim knows their attacker. The fear of the assault happening again and stigma in small communities all contribute as to why cases of sexual assault go unreported.

"It's a lot of victim blaming and shaming," he said. "We've all heard, 'She shouldn't have been wearing that,' or 'Why was she wearing that if she didn't want to have sex?'"

Envision Counselling has been participating in the "Don't Be That Guy" campaign in southeastern Saskatchewan, specifically in Weyburn, Estevan and Carlyle. The campaign features posters targeted at the 15 to 25 male demographic and brings awareness to the issue of alcohol -facilitated sexual assault, MacPherson said.
Some of these posters have been placed inside the Weyburn police station.

Envision Counselling often encounter people who have experienced sexual assault. If someone has been assaulted, MacPherson recommends the victim go to Victim Services if they feel comfortable. "We're always working with Victim Services, as well come to us for the Interpersonal Violence and Abuse program," he said. "If a person is ready and wants counselling then that's the program that would cover that for us. It's all about the goals that they want to set, and healing and moving forward with their lives."


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