Raped While Under the Influence: The Road Ahead for the Brave Soul Who Reports It

Rape: it is the penultimate four-letter word and one of the ugliest in the English language. Forcing a man or a woman to have sex against his or her will is something no human being should ever have to face. The unfortunate fact is that many do. Like drug addiction, rape doesn’t target a specific race, religion or socioeconomic background. It can happen to anyone.

For anyone who has ever been raped, the feelings of rage, guilt, fear, shock, disgust, denial, dissociation and embarrassment are all natural responses to a crime as heinous as this. Whether it was obvious as it was happening or a realization after the fact, the feelings are universal and ones that most rape survivors will experience. In the past, law enforcement agencies were reluctant to pursue rape cases for a variety of reasons: stigma, judgment and it wasn’t uncommon for some police officers to feel it was a waste of their time. The arduous process of bringing an accuser to trial didn’t make things any easier for a survivor. Oftentimes the defense attorney would do all he could to discredit the survivor, in the hopes of casting doubt on him or her.

Today, although there is still some stigma attached to rape, things are considerably better and cases are far more “winnable” than they have ever been. Police are required to bring survivors to a hospital where a rape kit is used to scrape for DNA evidence that will make a prosecutor’s job much easier when seeking a conviction. Even if the attacker is unknown to the survivor, thanks to DNA evidence, while it makes it more difficult to find the suspect, it is no longer the needle in the haystack it once was.

This is of course all in a perfect world and unfortunately, life isn’t always tied up in a neat little bow, is it?

The Addict Who is Raped

If only crimes committed were just like those on television crime dramas. If they were, the CSI team would come in, collect evidence, and because their job isn’t to judge, but rather to look at the evidence, conviction is imminent. The bad guy is always put behind bars and regardless of the crime the victim is vindicated.

The everyday life of an addict can be dark, bleak, hazy, prone to blackouts and resembles little the life of any character on TV. Some can get up and go to work each day, some are homeless and others fall somewhere in between the two. Addicts, in our pursuit for drugs frequently place ourselves in dangerous situations. Rational thought is often replaced by the voice that tells us it’s okay to go to neighborhoods your friends and family wouldn’t be caught dead in, to the seediest of bars or into strangers’ homes in order to cop drugs. Dangerous even for a man, a woman in those situations can certainly be a recipe for disaster. Addicts have been known a time or two to perform favors in exchange for drugs, when the cost to buy them was out of our reach. In our moments of lucidity and sane thinking, all of us have breathed a sigh of relief that nothing serious happened, were thankful that things didn’t go terribly wrong and that despite the dangerous situation we put ourselves in, we made it home alive.

Sometimes things go wrong – terribly wrong! In the middle of a buy, or exchange for drugs, an offer to score more drugs in exchange for sex can be made and rejected. Maybe your scenario isn’t quite like this but the end result is one that you can relate to. No matter how low your self esteem is, if there is an offer for sex in exchange for drugs and you said “no!” No means No! It doesn’t matter whether you went there with the intention of having sex with your buyer or whoever violated you. It doesn’t matter that you were high when the rape occurred. If you said no, or in some other manner indicated that you didn’t want to have sex with this person, regardless of the circumstances, it is rape and it is a crime.

Whether you are a crack addict, an occasional coke user, been using meth for years or a heavy drinker, rape is still rape and it is a crime. It is almost too easy for an addict to talk him or herself out of pressing charges. Feeling stupid for putting yourself in that situation, being told that you asked for it because of the way you dressed or because your intentions were to score drugs that evening no matter what doesn’t remove the fact that a crime was committed against your will. Regardless of your intentions or the way you dressed or how high you were, you are not responsible for the actions of another human being.

What to Do

Whether you are still using drugs or are now in recovery, pressing charges is something you must do. No person should be allowed to get away with raping you, again, regardless of the circumstances. If you reported it to the police and a rape kit was performed, it will remain on file until you decide whether to press charges. If you know your attacker, give this name and his last known address to the police. If they appear to be slow in making an arrest, go to the desk sergeant and explain the situation.

Do not let anyone tell you that because you are an addict that you asked to be raped or that you somehow deserved it. Don’t let the police, your attacker, or your family tell you this. Find someone who will listen to you and support you. It takes incredible courage for any man or woman – on drugs or who never touched drugs in their lives – to report rape. You will have a long road ahead and you will want to give up at times, but please don’t let this criminal get away with violating you. He will do it again and again to other people. If you are in recovery, you know that this will weigh heavily on your mind until you press charges.

Nobody said it would be easy, but you have fought the toughest battle of your life to get clean, you deserve to feel closure.