2018 Scholarship Recipient

Among the appalling issues colleges struggle endlessly to prevent, date rape is undoubtedly one of the most overlooked. Brown University's School of Public Health found the 15% of women claimed to have been rape while debilitated by drugs or alcohol during their freshmen tear. Opportunities to incapacitate a date with drugs are profuse, and countless young undergraduates suffer unimaginable pain and misery for a tragedy they never desired to endure. Some of the most prestigious universities in the nation, including Dartmouth and Harvard, report some of the most shocking numbers of date rapes. Though authority had proved nearly inept at preventing date rapes, hardly any of these crimes are reported to them.

Date rape is drug-facilitated sexual assault. It can come from people you know, from people you have known for a while, or from people you have just recently met. Drugs placed in drinks can lower inhibition, cause weakness, and can cause unconsciousness. The drugs cause victims to be unable to protect themselves effectively. They are hard to identify because there is no smell, no taste, and no color to these drugs. There are three types of drugs that are most commonly used when this act is committed: Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine. Rohypnol is a prescription pill known as a benzodiazepine. It has no taste or smell and is sometimes colorless when dissolved in a drink. People who take it show signs of drowsiness and confusion and can forget what happens after its effects kick in. Rohypnol can also cause weakness and breathing troubles. It can also make it difficult for those who have taken it to move their body. GHB is a type of drug that acts as a central nervous system depressant and is prescribed for the treatment of narcolepsy. GHB is a tasteless, odorless drug that can be found in a powder or a liquid form. It is colorless when dissolved in a drink. Mixing it with alcohol makes the effects worse. Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic. It distorts perceptions of sight and sound and makes a person feel detached from their environment and themselves. It also reduces pain and overall feeling. It is a tasteless and odorless drug that can be a powder or a liquid. The odorless property, as well as the tasteless property, make it harder for a person to realize that they are being slipped the drug. This can lead to hundreds or even thousands of people to be sexually assaulted. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are sexually abused.

For the first time in their lives, thousands of seniors from high schools all over the country are moving into dormitories and living separately from their parents. Students along with their parents have enough worries when it comes to thinking of the students living independently. Parents and students should not have to worry about the problems caused by this predicament. When a student goes to college they want to be ensured their safety. This is a relevant issue due to the fact that almost all seniors at high schools around the country, including North Rockland High School, are going to be attending a university next year in the fall of 2018.

One major problem with this predicament is that the situation is frequently underreported by victims and underreported by universities who do not want to damage their prestigious reputations. Fewer than five percent of college students who are victims of rape or attempted rape report it to the police. The underreporting in college campuses is a major issue because fewer victims will receive the help they need and most offenders are neither confronted nor prosecuted. Colleges need to institute anonymous helplines and support groups to help victims deal with the problem. Since most occurrences are underreported, college officials are under the impression that their current efforts are adequate. Students need to take the initiative to inform officials of the problem that continues to take place without their knowledge. I hope to institute an awareness program/club at my university to educate young women and young men about what defines a rape and the harm that it can cause to the victim. Prevention programs need to focus on educating both men and women. Programs for educating men and women should be made mandatory at college campuses to reduce the number of occurrences taking place every year. Furthermore, wristbands and fliers will be distributed to spread the message and the awareness, in the hope that this atrocity can one day be stopped.

In an effort to stop this gross injustice, colleges including the UC System, Indiana University, and the University of North Carolina have taken measures to educate students regarding the effects of alcohol and drugs, as well as sex and relationships.This problem affecting hundreds of universities around the nation and around the world can be addressed if a product was created to identify whether or not one of the three most common date rape drugs are present in a drink. If a product of such sorts is created, several men and several women can be protected from being part of a drug-facilitated sexual assault. Previous strategies for resolving this problem such as color changing nail polish, paper strips, and straws were addressed but none were taken into further coordination. I hope to create a product such as a color changing bracelet with the capability to change color and warn the wearer when exposed to date rate drugs before I matriculate from Georgetown University. I am hoping to apply for a grant that would allow me to research this issue as well as research possible solutions to solve this problem. Funding would be used to develop a product which would function to clearly identify the presence of an unknown substance in a drink.

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