Marta and Lidia are two survivors of rape and sexual violence under chemical submission. As they didn’t get access to justice nor reparation, they became activists and vocal advocates for a change of legislation that will protect women like them in the future and prevent future cases. Today, they joined our call for a strong Directive on violence against women in support of the European Parliament proposal to have a common EU definition of rape and sexual violence based on the notion of freely given consent taking into account the surrounding circumstances. The EWL sincerely thanks Marta and Lidia for their generosity in sharing once again their testimony and their commitment to change laws for women and girls all across the EU.
Trigger Warning: This article contains potentially distressing material.
Sex without free consent is rape. There is no other way to be considered and this should be the norm all across the EU.
Do you know what is chemical submission? It’s a modus operandi used by abusers where they use drugs, chemical substances or even alcohol that inhibits consciousness of the victims to abuse and rape them.
Hello, I am Marta Asensio and my former partner administered me drugs to rape me during the night. When he raped me, I could say nor yes nor say no because my capacity to express my will was annulled. I was unconscious.
Not only No means No. Also the absence of Yes means No.
He didn’t need to use force to rape me and I didn’t have bruises or any marks since my body was completely inert, as if I were dead.
When you are a woman, reporting rape by your partner is difficult. If they find semen in your body, they’d tell you that it could have been something consensual. Even if they find drugs or alcohol on your blood, you could have taken them on your own. It always seems difficult to get evidences and traces of the drugs they use last only a few hours in the body; but this evidence can be crucial in court.
For this reason, an adequate approach and definition of rape is absolutely crucial and it s essential to provide specialised attention in accessible crisis centers where professionals can support us in a specialized way to refer victims on the spot and help them to report if they wish and get adequate psychological and legal support.
My case breaks all myths around rape: it happens to me while I was at home, in my bed, I was wearing what any person wears to sleep at night, and it was done to me by someone I trusted and with whom I lived. This happens to many women in the European Union, every day, every hour, in every country. In some of the neighboring countries, rape within the couple is not even considered as such.
But rapists are everywhere, they are not born by spores, they have family, friends and sometimes partners and children. Yes, indeed, your partner can also rape you.
We need the same level of protection for all. Like many women who have faced chemical rape, I did not get the necessary specialised care and I didn’t get justice and reparation. For this reason, I consider it essential that the laws take into account these situations and offer adequate protection to all women. No matter what city or country they are in.
And remember: a person who is asleep, drugged, drunk, unconscious or dead, cannot consent or want to have sex. I hope that EU decision makers are up to the task of understanding that sexual violence is a scourge faced by women in EVERY country in the union and to that they adopt an ambitious Directive that criminalises non-consensual sex.
My name is Lidia and for years ago I was raped. Nothing helped to get the rapist or rapists convicted; after two years waiting to receive the results of the DNA tests they took from my vagina, there found DNA of three men. When I regained consciousness, I was naked next to a naked guy I didn’t know in an apartment I had never been to. I was lost, bruised, with bounds in my arms, neck and legs. The urine test was positive on cocaine. I was drugged.
I went to the hospital: they took DNA tests, forensic analysis, urine test, pictures, etc. The police found the perpetrator next day because I knew in which street it happened. He only spent one day in jail. The police didn’t investigate, they didn’t check on the perpetrators phone, they didn’t look into the footage of the security cameras in the bars were I went. But I had to go through interrogation: they asked me if I was wearing a bra that night, what had I been drinking and they told me not to worry too much because there were people with more severe problems than me. Excuse me for complaining for being raped; they just raped me, hurt me and obliged me to have sex without my consent and unconscious.
The case was dropped without even going through court. The police response was "maybe you hurt yourself because you were drunk; maybe you agreed on taking cocaine. We don’t know if you agreed to go to the apartment. He says you agreed to go."
We need legislation at EU level that really protects us, that doesn’t question us; that trust us.
We need to train law enforcement units so that they treat victims with respect and empathy.
We need to ensure that there are programmes to respond to sexual violence cases in hospitals everywhere in Europe, like the Hospital Clinico in Barcelona, whose staff I would be eternally grateful for.
We need rape crisis centers that help us and accompany us in this incredibly tough process both if victims do or don’t want to report.
It is extremely hard to be raped and to not to know what happened to you while unconscious; but it is also very hard to confront the police and the judicial and medical process. We victims need access to justice and we need the judicial process to go fast so that we can try to overcome the psychological trauma as soon as possible.
Four years later, I still have post-stress traumatic disorder symptoms while the perpetrators are free.
Do not look the other way; this is a global problem and you as EU decision makers have the obligation to ensure women can live up their rights of freedom and justice.
[Paula 35 yrs old Polish woman – raped whilst couch surfing]
All was fine. I got in bed and felt his hand touching my breast. I pushed it away. He did it again, this time groping my vagina. I pushed his hand and at that point he just turned to me and came on top of me. I froze and said what are you doing? He said it will be ok.
At that point, I knew he was going to rape me and he did. I could not move, I froze. I turned my head away, with my eyes shut tight and cried.’
Anna 23 Colombian woman – raped by her boss after a night out with colleagues.
‘I woke up feeling dizzy. I realized I was naked, but do not remember taking off my clothes, nor did I know where I was.
He was there next to me, also naked.
I told him what did you do? He said it will be ok. At that point I panicked. I started shaking and feeling cold. I knew he raped me. I told him that I did not give permission to have sex, but he kept on repeating it will be ok.
No it is not ok. I panicked and could not believe it!’