The MU Title IX office received an unusual number of reports of suspected drugged drinks last week and alerted MU officials.
“The frequency of what Title IX saw and the way the reports came in was a concern,” said MU spokesperson Christian Basi. MU officials could not disclose the number of reports the Title IX office, MU Police Department and Columbia Police Department are investigating on and off campus. The Office for Civil Rights & Title IX investigates all forms of sex-based violence and misconduct.
The release said reports of drinks being drugged is consistent with a growing national trend.
Police are increasingly concerned about perpetrators putting drugs in drinks to facilitate sexual assault.
Any student seeking treatment through MU Health Care is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and their information will not be shared for disciplinary action if they have consumed alcohol underage.
The first 72 hours after an assault occurs are crucial. Treatment against sexually transmitted infections and emergency contraception are most effective in this window. For survivors who choose to file a police report, sexual assault forensic exams can also be performed at this time.
According to MU Health representative Eric Maze, university health care offers a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Clinic at University Hospital. These nurses are available 24/7.
To connect with one of these trained nurses, call 573-882-4141 or go to the University Hospital Emergency Department.
“SANE-trained nurses are women who have special training in helping survivors of violence,” Maze said in an email. “A SANE exam occurs in a private room away from the emergency department. SANE-trained nurses can provide medical treatment for injuries that occurred during an incident. They can also test for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.”
The specially trained nurses can collect urine and blood samples, Maze said. The samples are not tested on site but are taken to a crime lab.
At other universities like Northeastern, students have created social media pages dedicated to survivors sharing their stories of sexual violence on campus.
Resources that allow survivors to process their trauma are crucial, according to victim’s rights advocates like Matthew Huffman with The Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence.
If you or someone you know has been drugged, Huffman said it is important to remember that you are not alone.
One in six American women are victims of rape or attempted rape. One in 33 American men are victims of rape or attempted rape. Of transgender and non-binary young adults, 21% are victims of sexual assault or rape. One in four undergraduate women experience rape or sexual assault, according to the Rape and Abuse Incest National Network.
“This wasn’t your fault,” Huffman said. “And there’s nothing that you did to cause this.”
These crimes are particularly difficult to track and prosecute because of the wide variety of substances used by perpetrators. Huffman said the most common substance is alcohol.
“If you were to, let’s say, try and get tested for drug-facilitated sexual assault drugs after the fact, things like Benadryl or regular alcohol or an anti-depressant that might make you sleepy, those aren’t going to show up in a test,” Huffman said.
Often, perpetrators mask high-proof alcohol with other sweet flavors. While substances like Rohypnol, commonly known as roofies, and Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) are still reported, more easily accessed alternatives are gaining prevalence.
“People who are perpetrating sexual assault are starting to recognize that it’s much easier to use things that you can get over the counter,” Huffman said.
Some of the events may be connected to MU fraternity social events, according to an MUPD news release.
Protests began at the University of Nebraska Lincoln when an alleged rape was reported at Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) after a house party that went early into the morning. Phi Gamma Delta was already suspended for previous violations and the university has since closed its house.
Protestors outside the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Theta Chi house broke windows and flipped a car. This came following allegations that a woman was drugged and assaulted during a party at the house.
Interfraternity Council was contacted for this story and did not comment.