WAKE UP, Cinderella

WAKE UP, Cinderella

By Trinka Porrata

If you watched “White Collar” a few weeks ago, you may have heard their reference to “Goodnight Cinderella,” as a drug cocktail of GHB-ketamine-flunitrazepam (AKA roofies). 

In Brazil, GHB is reportedly known as Goodnight Cinderella as it renders woman unconscious or in a walking blackout or at least otherwise vulnerable for sexual assault.  Actually there are more than 50 drugs that have been identified in drug-facilitated sexual assault cases.  It doesn’t need to be a cocktail of multiple drugs.  And, for purposes of this discussion, it really doesn’t matter which drug is used as the results are generally much the same.  A victim is assaulted and has limited ability to recall details or maybe even the identity of the suspect(s). 

It’s really difficult to fully protect yourself against DFSA, but you need to do what you can!  Drinking alone (or with friends but you are not really watching each others’ backs by splitting up, etc.), accepting an unusual drink from a stranger, leaving your drink unattended are the obvious things that increase risk.  But even reasonable expectations after meeting someone through friends or at work or the gym, getting to know them via phone, Internet, in person and then finally going out on a date can result in either a drug-facilitated or forcible rape.  It is sadly a risky world out there.  It shouldn’t be, but it is.

One thing I’ve noticed in reviewing sexual assault cases, whether drug related or forcible, is that often people don’t do one key thing that would indeed aid law enforcement’s ability to help in the aftermath.  Rapid reporting is of course the most crucial to collection of evidence.  But very often, especially in the college age set, I notice such a lack of awareness of one’s surroundings.  Over and over I read cases somewhat similar to this: 

A college student goes out with a girlfriend or two and they meet up with someone they “sort of” know (often first name or nickname only) who invites them to a party. So they jump into a car (paying no attention to even the color or make of it), with people they barely know or don’t know at all, pay no attention to the route taken, pay no attention to the ultimate location. Then at some point things go sideways and a variety of things can happen. Suddenly she may find herself the only one left at the party with a guy who won’t take no for an answer. She may get sleepy and falls asleep on the couch or bed to await others to get ready to leave and give her a ride home. She may get drugged. She returns to alertness after all have left and after being raped. Many possibilities. She may then run out the door and call a friend to pick her up at the intersection where her panicked run has taken her. She may accept a ride back to her home from the suspect for lack of other means at the moment. She may leave with friends who have no idea what happened to her while in the other room and not tell anyone until later. In any case, I often see that there is still little or no information as to the address, apartment number, nearest intersection, vehicle information, etc. And it can be hard to find those “sort of” friends with first names or nicknames only! The guy who took them to the party might have been “John” and he might work somewhere at a pizza place or a used car lot or somewhere, and the car was “just a car.” So little to work with!!!

DFSA victims truly can’t help the lack of details they will be able to provide about the crime itself.  Lack of details before and after the crime clearly make investigation even more difficult. 

By no means am I blaming a victim for anything.  People react differently to panic, fear, pain.  But our brains are like computers and if properly prepared we can improve our automatic response to events.  Why waste that ability?  Use more of that gray matter capacity!!  The point is that we can train ourselves in advance to be better reporters so that when something happens we can provide better information to authorities.  We can train ourselves to be more aware of things around us, a trait very helpful in any kind of emergency.   I’m not recommending that everyone become exactly like cops.  Every cop is expected to know where they are at any moment.  Probationers often find themselves tested periodically by their training officers (or later by every new partner) who may suddenly stop the patrol car mid block or in an alley and say “Where are we now?”  Why?  What if the driver or probationer was shot at that moment, in that location?  Would they be able to provide a meaningful location (not to mention other details) to aid the investigation?     

So taking a step back from the police officer scenario, what if you--that college student or whomever--are in a hit/run accident or a friend walking with you suddenly has a medical emergency or you are sexually assaulted?  Your awareness of your environment is crucial to giving location information and/or description of a hit/run suspect or vehicle for example.  Every second is important when emergency personnel are needed.

Bad guys need to go to prison!  So Wake Up Cinderella and do all you can to protect yourself, prevent crime AND be able to help capture the bad guy if it does happen.