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If you have been sexually assaulted or raped, call the 24-hour Rape Crisis Line to speak with someone who can help. Mary’s Place is dedicated to assisting anyone who contacts us; however, we primarily serve Savannah and the surrounding counties (Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Bryan, Liberty, Long, McIntosh). 

For help call (912) 233-RAPE. Our trained advocates are available any time of the day or night.

For all other areas call the R.A.I.N.N National Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE to locate the center nearest you.

The staff at Mary’s Place of the Coastal Empire will believe you. We specialize in handling highly sensitive sexual assault and rape survivors and are here to be your champion – we will not judge you. We will assist you with any medical, legal or personal issues and provide an open and supportive atmosphere for you to begin healing.

If someone has forced or intimidated you into unwanted sex or physical advances, you are not to blame and it is not your fault. Even if you were kissing at the time, even if you have had sex before, you always have the right to say “NO”. No matter what you were wearing, no matter where you were, no matter how much you had been drinking. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Victims don’t cause rape, rapists do!

Just because a person has been drinking or using drugs does not mean they deserve to be raped or assaulted. Drinking, however, can put you at risk by decreasing your awareness in dangerous situations. Studies show that 75 percent of all date and acquaintance rape situations involve the use of drugs and alcohol. A person who is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol is UNABLE to consent to sexual activity. If drugged, it may look to others that the victim went willingly with the perpetrator and therefore was a willing participant. Many times, the victim may have left the party/bar with her arm around the perpetrator (which may look like she is being romantic, but is really because the drugs often create a loss of motor coordination and balance). When drinking, be sure to set clear limits.

Alcohol is the most widely used date rape drug. In acquaintance rapes, alcohol is used by over 70 percent of perpetrators and 50 percent of the survivors. Alcohol is a Central Nervous System depressant, which means it slows down brain activity, is quickly absorbed in the bloodstream, and circulates to all parts of the body and to every vital organ. Other common drugs used in drug-induced sexual assault are Rohypnol, GHB, Ketamine, and Ecstasy.

Rohypnol, also known as Roofies, Roaches, La Roache, Poor Man’s Quaalude, R2, Mexican Valium, and Love Drug, is a benzodiazepine (sedative). It is a powerful sedative is used in other countries to treat debilitating sleep disorders and as a pre-anesthetic before surgery and medical procedures. Rohypnol is manufactured by Hoffman La-Roache Pharmaceuticals and is sold in 80 countries. It is illegal to bring into this country and it is illegal to manufacture, distribute, or possess for sale in the United States. It is a small pill that, when dropped into a drink, is odorless, tasteless, and colorless. Ten to twenty minutes after ingesting Rohypnol, a person may feel dizzy, disoriented, too hot, too cold, and/or nauseated. Other symptoms include, but are not limited to: confusion, drowsiness, disorientation, difficulty walking, impaired judgment, decreased blood pressure, lack of inhibition, dizziness, and complete or partial amnesia of events that occurred while on the drug.

GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate), also known as G, Grievous Body Harm, Georgia Home Boy, Scoop, and Easy Lay, is a depressant and was originally developed as an anesthetic. It was formerly sold by health food stores and gyms as a sleep aid, fat burner and enhancer of muscle definition and was pulled off the shelves in 1990 because of its negative side effects. Within five to twenty minutes after oral ingestion, the effects are felt. If combined with alcohol, the effects may last 20 to 30 hours and can be fatal. It is a clear or yellow liquid with a bitter taste and has been illegal to import or possess in the United States since 1996. Effects felt from GHB include: confusion, drowsiness, loss of motor coordination and verbal coherence, impaired judgment, memory loss, slower and deep respiration, decreased heart rate, reduced inhibition, dizziness, seizures, and coma.

Ketamine, also known as Special K, Vitamin K, K, Ket, and Cat Valium, is a powerful anesthetic used as an animal tranquilizer. It is a clear liquid with no taste and can be injected or reduced to a powder, often sprinkled on cigarettes or joints. The effects of Ketamine can be felt within five minutes and symptoms include: hallucinations, visual distortion, impaired motor function, loss of sense of time, loss of speech, and amnesia.

Ecstasy (MDMA), Methelenedioxymethamphetamine, also known as X, XTC, Adam, Clarity, and Lover’s Speed, is similar to the stimulant amphetamine and hallucinogen mescaline. Chronic use can produce long-term damage to the serotonin-containing neurons in the brain that regulate emotion, memory, sleep, pain, and higher-order cognitive processes. Symptoms include: confusion, sleep problems, anxiety, paranoia, dehydration, depression and increase in heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.

To prevent becoming a target for drug induced sexual assault:

  • Set clear limits and practice the buddy system
  • Only take drinks from bartenders or servers in restaurants
  • Never leave a drink unattended
  • Watch out for your friends and have them watch out for you
  • Be aware of your surroundings, the people you are with, and what they are doing
  • Be alert to the behavior of friends who may appear to be unusually inebriated in relation to the amount of alcohol they have consumed 

 
If you think you may have been drugged or suspect that you have been involved in a drug-induced rape, call 911
immediately or go immediately to the hospital to take a urine sample. The findings of such a test can provide valuable evidence in a court of law if you prosecute the case. The Drug Induced Rape Prevention Act of 1996 creates additional penalties for perpetrators who use drugs to facilitate sexual assaults: up to twenty years can be added to their sentence.

Date/Acquaintance Rape is when someone you know, or someone who is familiar to you, forces you to have sex with them. It could be a boyfriend, an ex-boyfriend, or simply someone who you vaguely know or have seen “around”. Regardless of the relationship, if you do not consent, it is against the law!

If you are in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation and you have exhausted all other options (such as verbally asserting yourself or walking away), fighting back may be your best alternative. Women who physically fight back are often able to escape the situation without being sexually assaulted. However, if you choose to fight back, be prepared to give it all you’ve got. As a preventive measure, take a self-defense class. Mary’s Place of the Coastal Empire offers free self-defense classes to women in the community.