The fraternity Sigma Nu Fraternity has recently made headlines for all of the wrong reasons. The fraternity joins a long list of fraternities that have engaged in numerous incidents of sexual assault. The president of the Epsilon Omicron Chapter at the University of Southern California, Ryan Schiffilea, was recently suspended after reports of possible drug-facilitated sexual assaults began to surface.
As of Friday, Schiffilea was removed as a member of the USC chapter and the national fraternity. According to an email that was sent to the USC staff, the university began to receive reports of possible drug-facilitated sexual assaults after the fraternity hosted a party located in the 600 block of W. 28th Street.
The USC Sigma Nu chapter has been put on interim suspension and cannot host any activities at the fraternity house. Although the fraternity house is currently under suspension, students took to the fraternity to protest on Friday after receiving news of the allegations. In addition to the sexual assault allegations, the chapter is facing another allegation of administering drugs to one or more attendees at a social event at the fraternity house, leading up to the alleged sexual assaults.
The chapter confessed in a statement that there was a “lack of communications” in regards to the allegations, and are currently working with the university, alumni volunteers, and the national fraternity leaders to address the situation. In regard to the drug allegations, the chapter states that it currently has no additional information about that incident, which is in the process of being investigated by the university’s Title IX office.
How common is sexual assault and rape on college campuses?
Unfortunately, sexual assault and rape on college campuses is quite common. The number of college students who will experience sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation are 13 percent. Health Research Funding (HRF) says that between graduate and professional students, 9.7 percent of females and 2.5 percent of males will experience sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
What are “date rape” drugs?
Per HRF, up to 90 percent of college campus rapes are classified as date rape. Date rape drugs are any types of drugs that make sexual assault easier to commit. In addition to date rape drugs, many rapists incorporate the use of alcohol to incapacitate potential victims. The combination of a date rape drug and alcohol cause a victim to become confused about what is going on around them, and lowers their ability to defend themselves against any unwanted sexual contact.
Even worse, the combination makes it extremely difficult for the victim to remember what happened. A rapist can put a date rape drug into an alcoholic drink without the victim knowing, or make the victim’s drink stronger without the victim even being aware of it.
How do date rape drugs and alcohol affect the body?
Some of the common types of date rape drugs are GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid), Rohypnol, and Ketamine. These drugs are typically used to help overpower a victim so they do not know what is happening around them. The drug GHB, for example, is a depressant that is used by physicians to assist with sleep disorders.
The drug Rohypnol is a strong type of tranquilizer that is sometimes used as an anesthesia before surgery. The drug Ketamine is a dissociative drug that makes a person feel detached from reality. When these types of drugs are combined with alcohol, their effects can become even stronger, and can result in serious harm to a victim’s health.
The length of time that the drugs and alcohol will impact a victim’s body varies. Some factors that determine how long the dangerous combination will remain in a victim’s body are the amount of the drug that is in the victim’s body and whether the drug was mixed with other drugs or alcohol.
Victims who have consumed date rape drugs, an excessive amount of alcohol, or both, experience multiple symptoms such as passing out, having difficulty breathing, feeling dizzy, having trouble moving or controlling their muscles, feeling nauseous, and feeling confused. In addition to these types of symptoms, victims can have issues thinking, making decisions, and remembering what happened.
Signs of being drugged and sexually assaulted
Victims who have been drugged with date rape drugs have expressed that they have felt drunk even though they have not consumed any alcohol. Even victims who have consumed alcohol reported feeling that the effects of drinking alcohol felt stronger than usual.
Some of the common signs that someone has been a victim of date rape include waking up without clothes on or not remembering why their clothes were torn or on the wrong way; feeling as if sexual intercourse happened, but not remembering it happening; and having unexpected bruises, scrapes, scratches, pain, or bleeding.
What should I do if I think I’ve been drugged and raped?
If a person suspects that they have been drugged and raped, it is important to seek medical care immediately. Victims of date rape should call 911 or, if possible, have a trusted friend take them to the hospitals for testing and a forensic exam. Although the victim may feel traumatized and it is difficult, it is important for the victim not to bathe, shower, wash their hands, douche, change clothes, eat or drink for fear of losing any potential DNA evidence. In addition to collecting any potential DNA evidence, the date rape drugs may leave the victim’s body very quickly. Waiting to seek medical care may make it more difficult to prove that the victim was drugged and raped.
If you have been the victim of date rape in Southern California, trust the attorneys of Taylor & Ring to provide you with the compassionate guidance and aggressive representation you need. Call us today at 310-776-6390 or complete our contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced Los Angeles sexual assault lawyer.
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David Ring is a nationally renowned plaintiff’s personal injury trial attorney and has obtained multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of seriously-injured individuals or families who have lost a loved one in a tragic accident. For more than 20 years, he has represented victims of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, assault, molestation and sexual misconduct in cases against a variety of employers and entities, including schools, churches and youth organizations.
He prides himself on providing aggressive, yet compassionate representation for children who have been sexually abused and women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted. Read more about David M. Ring.