You wake up and you are not sure how you got there. Your memory is scattered. You may feel nauseated. Your muscles are sore and your clothes are messy. You know for certain that you didn’t drink a lot the previous night and definitely did not use drugs. This could be a sign that you were drugged and sexually assaulted.
In a 2008 Ontario provincial study, it was found that 1 in 5 sexual assaults involved drugging. The most common were alcohol and cannabis (marijuana/pot). Rohypnol, one of the more popular date rape drugs was not found.
Until recently, unless police were involved and evidence was sent to a specialized forensic laboratory, people who thought they might have been drugged could not get tested. Now due to the results of the abovementioned provincial study, certain hospitals across Ontario can send samples to be tested independent of a police investigation. Often, we find that people want to know what happened to them before making a choice to involve police. We believe this is their right.
This is why now Cornwall Community Hospital offers this service. If someone feels s(he) may have been drugged and sexually assaulted a specially trained nurse from the Assault and Sexual Abuse Program will collect samples and send them away for testing. Results can be available within 3 days.
If a person is unsure of contacting police, we suggest that a forensic kit be completed and stored confidentially at the Hospital. In the event there are positive results from the drug testing, the individual can still contact police and pursue legal action.
If you or someone you know thinks they may have been drugged and sexually assaulted, come immediately to the emergency department at Cornwall Community Hospital. At triage, ask for an ASAP nurse. The nurse will arrive within 30 – 60 minutes. Try not to use the bathroom or shower. Save the clothes that you were wearing and any drinking utensils you have. You may want to give these to police.
Remember, anyone can be drugged and sexually assaulted. The victim of a sexual assault is never to blame whether intoxicated or not. The only person responsible for a sexual assault is the person who commits it.
If you have been hurt through sexual assault/abuse or domestic violence, please contact the Cornwall Community Hospital Assault and Sexual Abuse Program: 613-932-3300 ext. 4552
For assaults within 72 hours, please come to the Emergency Department and request an ASAP nurse.