It must be noted that sexual violence constitues a crime regardless whether or not the use of date rape drugs can be proven. Victims are never responsible for the assault. Anyone can become a victim. There is no right or wrong behavior. We can just give some advice that might be helpful.

Oft werden K.O.-Tropfen und ähnliche Substanzen von Tätern in offen stehende Getränke gegeben. Das kann auf privaten Partys passieren, in Clubs oder auch in Kneipen und Restaurants. Manchmal werden sie auch unter Essen gemischt. Aber auch die eigene Wohnung kann zum Tatort werden.

K.O.-Tropfen sind in der Regel flüssig und farblos. Der leicht salzige und seifige Geschmack wird oft vom Eigengeschmack der Getränke, in die sie gegeben werden, überdeckt. Andere Substanzen gibt es als Pulver oder Kapseln, die sich ebenfalls in Getränken auflösen.

Oft werden K.O.-Tropfen auch eingesetzt, um die verwirrten Opfer zu berauben ("Beischlafraub").

Wer macht sowas? - Sexuelle Übergriffe unter K.O.-Tropfen

Die Täter können völlig fremde Männer sein. Sie können alleine oder in Gruppen aktiv sein. Aber auch flüchtige Bekannte, Freunde mit denen man unterwegs ist, oder Arbeitskollegen können zu Tätern werden.

Einige Frauen berichten, dass sie bei Internet-Dates oder Blind Dates mit K.O.-Tropfen außer Gefecht gesetzt und vergewaltigt wurden.

Der Grund für diese Verbrechen ist niemals im Verhalten der Opfer zu suchen. Jeder Mensch hat das Recht auf Selbstbestimmung und auf Schutz wenn er/sie Opfer geworden ist.

Verantwortlich für die Taten sind niemals die Opfer, es gibt keine "falschen" oder "richtigen" Verhaltensweisen!

These tips and rules of conduct can help you be safe when going out. It is also helpful to discuss these points with friends – male and female – whom you often go out with, so you can look out for each other.

  • Be aware that the perpetrator doesn't necessarily have to be a stranger: it can also be a friend or an acquaintance.

Keep an eye on your drinks

  • Don't accept open drinks from strangers.
  • This also goes for friends and party acquaintances: only accept drinks that you have seen handed out by the bartender and that nobody has interfered with before they reach you. If in doubt, it's better to pass it up, or to only accept closed bottles.
  • Don't leave your drinks unattended. If you do, it's better to order a new one. Agree to watch each other's drinks.
  • Don't drink too much alcohol: being completely drunk makes you more vulnerable, even without date rape drugs. When you're drunk it's difficult to assess many situations and gauge what is safe or not.

Blind dates: always in a public place

  • For a blind date, always meet in a neutral public setting that you know well.
  • The same rules apply for blind dates: keep an eye on your drink and food. It's better to be vigilant even on a second or third date.

If you're suddenly feeling dizzy, get help

  • If you suddenly feel nauseous or dizzy, ask your friends for help. The same goes if you suddenly feel totally disinhibited or extremely euphoric.
  • Ask the staff if you need help and are on your own. Always go or stay in a part of the place where there's people.
  • Trust your instincts: if you don't feel safe at a club or at a party, leave.
  • When going out with friends, agree to come together and leave together. Look out for each other when you're at the party and don't lose sight of each other.
  • If in doubt, call the police or the emergency doctors.

The best preventative and protective measure is to not be out alone on your own.
When going out with friends, agree beforehand to look out for one another and keep an eye on each other. The following are a few key points you should agree on:

Arrive together, party together, leave together

  • When going out with friends, agree to arrive together and leave together. Look out for each other when you're at the party and don't lose sight of each other.
  • If one of you heads home before the rest, let the others know.
  • If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at a party or at a club, it's better to leave.
  • Keep an eye on each other's drinks.

In case of emergency: get help

  • Look after your friend if suddenly she feels nauseous or dizzy. Don't leave her alone. The same goes for a case of sudden euphoria and disinhibition, or she seems unable to manage her own safety.
  • Call an ambulance immediately if your friend loses consciousness or is unresponsive.
  • Ask for support if it's too much for you to handle on your own. Alert staff andask them to call the emergency doctor. Do not leave your friend on her ownunder any circumstances.
  • Emergency numbers (112, and 110 for police) can be dialled from any mobile phone even if it's out of credit.

It doesn't hurt to ask

  • If at a party you notice somebody who seems disoriented and dazed, talk to him or her and ask if they're OK, who they are there with, whether they need help or if you should call someone.

It's not only women and girls who can become victims of date rape drugs, men are also at risk. Often they are drugged and then robbed, but men can also be raped. Men can also be victims of date rape drugs.

Date rape drugs in the gay scene

Gay non-profit initiatives report an increase in cases of robberies and rapes under date rape drugs. What looks like flirting at first can end with a blackout, robbery, and in some cases also sexual assault. In some cases, male sex workers drug their johns so that they can rob them. Victims have no recollection or trouble remembering what happened, and often don't contact the police out of shame or guilt.

Date rape drugs can be lethal for people on HIV medication – in this case, even a small amount of date rape drugs amplifies their effects and can cause loss of consciousness and life-threatening respiratory arrest.

Help and counselling for men

Most counselling services for victims of date rape drugs are for women and girls. Men can find help and support here:

Maneo – the gay anti-violence initiative in Berlin: www.maneo.de

Opferhilfe Berlin – help for victims of crime in Berlin: www.opferhilfe-berlin.de

pro familia Berlin or Familienplanungszentrum Balance, for example, offer counselling and support for men in crisis situations.

The effects of date rape drugs vary from person to person. They depend on the victims' physical condition, health, dosage, and how much food is in the stomach. Date rape drugs can be life-threatening if ingested in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

Most often, victims experience nausea or vertigo immediately after ingesting the drugs – it feels somewhat similar to having drunk too much. Only later do they loseconsciousness. Their movements and conversation are relatively normal until then, yet they are easily manipulated and become passive.

After waking up the victim is only able to vaguely remember what happened while s/he was unconscious, as well as the events immediately preceding that, or may not have any recollection at all.

An overdose of date rape drugs can be dangerous: they can lead to heart failure,respiratory failure, coma or death if combined with alcohol, medication or other party drugs.

Your friend needs your help and support if she suspects that she's been raped under date rape drugs. Be there for her, even if she calls you in the middle of the night.

She probably won't yet be able to think clearly and make decisions if she's calling you immediately after it happened. This is why it's all the more important that you be at her side and take the necessary next steps with her.

The section “first aid” provides information about what to do in case of emergency.

Be there for your friend in case of emergency

These are exceptional circumstances that your friend is in right now, and she is likely under shock. She needs you now – go be with her as soon as possible if she calls you. Make sure that, if she wants, someone she trusts is at her side.

Go along with her if she wants to go to the police, to a doctor or to the emergency room. She might still be confused and unable to make decisions right now. Always let her know what measures you are taking and get her permission to do so.

Listening and sympathy

Even if the memory of what exactly happened is vague or fragmented, being raped under the influence of date rape drugs is traumatic. It's precisely the fragmented memory that weighs heavily on their minds and can cause them to feel ashamed or blame themselves.

Your friend might feel unlike herself for weeks or even months. She may be scared, restless, tense, feel numb and/or have nightmares or trouble sleeping. Given the circumstances, this is not unusual. It's important that she is in an environment where she feels safe, taken care of and among people she trusts.

Be there for her and listen. Don't pressure her to “get over it”.

Professionals can help

Encourage your friend to seek professional support if she has a hard time coping on her own. For this she can go to a women's counselling centre or call a women's helpline, for example. Nobody will question her credibility here; they will believe her on principle. These centres and helplines offer psychological support for victims of violence. They know about date rape drugs and also offer support in dealing with doctors or with the police. They can also put her in touch with experienced female lawyers.