New way to track down date rape during spring break

According+to+the+University+of+the+Sciences%2C+one+in+four+college-aged+women+will+be+date+raped+or+experience+an+attempted+date+rape+during+her+college+years.

Hugo Brito

According to the University of the Sciences, one in four college-aged women will be date raped or experience an attempted date rape during her college years.

Julia Hettiger, Staff Reporter

Students at North Carolina State University have come up with a possible solution to prevent date rape through a common accessory-nail polish.

Date rape drugs, including gamma-hydroxybutyric acid also known as GHB, rohypnol and ketamine, all have become a frequent tool used by sexual predators. Declining drinks from strangers and not leaving your drink unattended are simple ways that can help prevent digestion of the drugs.

Four students have invented another way to prevent consumption of date rape drugs.

Undergraduate students from North Carolina State University, Ankesh Madan, Stephen Grey, Tasso Van Windheim and Tyler Confrey, have devised a nail polish that when mixed with common date rape drugs will change color.

Undercover Colors is still in the preliminary stages of distribution and has received mixed reviews from critics. Other date rape prevention items such as coasters, straws and cups have all received the same scrutiny. Critics claim the products are irrelevant in stopping the date rape issue altogether.

According to the University of the Sciences, one in four college-aged women will be date raped or experience an attempted date rape during her college years. Statisticians have also concluded that women ages 16 to 24 are four times more likely to experience date rape than any other age group.

There are many precautionary tactics students can practice to avoid these kinds of situations. During spring break , it is common for women to go out drinking.

Catie McCorry-Andalis, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, said there are many ways students can stay safe during spring break.

“Always being alert to your surroundings, telling a roommate, trusted friend or family member you are planning to be away overnight or for a few days and not leaving messages on your door about when you will be returning are some good first steps to ensuring your safety,” McCorry-Andalis said.

When it comes to date rape and other similar issues, McCorry recommends students go out as a group and  limit their drinking.

“It’s difficult to think clearly and evaluate a potentially dangerous situation when one has had too much alcohol,” McCorry-Andalis said. “Also, don’t accept drinks from anyone you do not know very well.”

McCorry-Andalis also said to never leave your drink unattended, accept drinks directly from bartenders and to inform someone you trust when you are going on a one-on-one date with someone.

“Most importantly, recognize that ‘no means no’, and that consent to sexual activity can be withdrawn at any time,” McCorry-Andalis said. “Don’t be afraid to leave an uncomfortable situation and, in turn, report an incident that has occurred.”

Maricruz Estrada, sophomore management major, will be spending her spring break with her family in Mexico. Although she has never had a bad experience during spring break, one of her friends has.

“They tried drugging her,” Estrada said. “They put the drugs in the ice cubes in her drink.”

Estrada said  the safest way to stay safe during spring break and other times that celebrates the party culture is to try to avoid drinking altogether.

Isabel Cruz, senior psychology major, said she is not doing anything special for spring break, but if she were to go out, she would follow the advice her parents gave her.

“My parents always told me to watch my drinks,” Cruz said.

In the most common cases of date rape, women’s drinks are drugged when they leave their drinks unattended.

“They told me to always have my drink with me, and if I can to drink it from a closed container,” Cruz said.

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, one in six women will be raped in their lifetime, 73 percent of those women know their assailant.

For more information about date rape prevention, contact the UTEP Counseling Center at 747-5302. You may also call National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. If a student is on campus, they can call the campus police at 747-5611, for a free ride to their car.

Julia Hettiger may be reached at [email protected]