AFA EAP: Protecting Yourself from Sexual Violence

AFA EAP: Protecting Yourself from Sexual Violence

 Flight Attendants, male and female are not immune from the risks of violence- including sexual assaults. Consider the following statistics on rapes and attempted rapes from the Department of Justice:

  • Every two and a half minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.
  • Most rapists are not a masked or unknown person. Approximately 70% of female victims and 74% of male victims know their assailant (i.e. friend, acquaintance etc. )
  • Only one out of ten rapes involves the use of a weapon.
  • 60% of rapes take place away from the victim’s home and most take place between the hours of 6:00p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Physical force or the threat of physical force is the primary mode of victimization. This includes the use of drugs that renders the victim physically helpless and usually unable to remember what happened. These drugs are called “date rape drugs”. They often have no color, smell or taste and can be easily added to flavored drinks without the victim’s knowledge. Educate yourself on the use of these drugs and ways in which you can protect yourself, on and off the job. Below is some information to help you with this.

What are date rape drugs?

These are drugs that are sometimes use in facilitating a sexual assault. Sexual assault is any type of sexual activity that a person does not agree to. It can include inappropriate touching, sexual intercourse and attempted rape. The effects of these drugs render victims physically helpless, unable to refuse sex, and unable to remember what happened. The drugs often have no color smell or taste and are easily added to flavored drinks without the victim’s knowledge. There are at least three common date rape drugs. (Although we use the term “date rape,” most experts prefer the term drug facilitated sexual assault.”).

GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric acid), is a drug used to treat narcolepsy. The drug can be in many forms including liquid, powder and pill.

Rohypnol is a used for sleep disorders and as an anesthetic. It also comes in pill form.

Ketamine is a drug used as an anesthetic for humans and mostly for animals. The drug is a white powder.

What effects do these drugs have on the body?

These drugs can affect you quickly. The length of time that the effects last varies. It depends on how much of the drug is taken and if the drug is mixed with other substances, like alcohol. Alcohol can expedite and worsen the drug’s effect. These drugs can cause relaxation, drowsiness, dizziness, unconsciousness, impaired motor function, memory problems, numbness, distorted perception of sight and sound, confusion, vomiting, even coma and death.

How can I protect myself ?

  • Never leave your drink or food unattended, not even with a person whom you think you should be able to trust.
  • Only order beverages that are brought to your table in sealed bottles.
  • If you have a history of black-outs from drinking, you can never predict when one will occur. For your safety, consider ordering only non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Should you find yourself awakening without any memory in a strange environment or situation, proceed immediately to the emergency room to be tested for the presence of a date rape drug and medically evaluated for a sexual assault.
  • If you have a friend who passes out, do not let anyone take the unconscious person to her/his room. Instead, keep the person exactly where they are and insist that medical help be called.

Assistance Available to You

Remember, confidential support and assistance is just a phone call away through your AFA EAP. Call anytime. The AFA EAP Helpline h is 800-424-2406. You can also contact your local EAP representatives listed on your MEC AFA website or the International AFA website under EAP Department at

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