THE BLOG

Date Rape Drugs - My Story

20/04/2016 16:38

A few weeks ago I was home from uni, spending time in my local town with some friends. It's the Easter holiday and we've gone out for a few drinks to catch up and of course to experience the sub-par night life that comes with an ageing countryside town. Queueing up for a dingy bar turned nightclub that goes by the name KUDOS we slowly freeze while itching to get inside, have a few more drinks and dance and gossip and probably get chatted up by some boy from primary school.

Then I got spiked.

Obviously I'm not the first person to get spiked in my area, or even in that club. The art of slipping a drug into someone's drink is not unheard of and is something that we've all been warned about by anxious parents. But at 19-years-old this was the first time it had happened to me. What followed was an incredibly embarrassing night involving my dad picking me up from a nearby McDonald's, none of which I have any memory of. All I know is that I was very very ill, and it took days for the effects to wear off and for me to finally feel like myself again. It's not like I've never been sick or done something silly after drinking too much, but at least in those circumstances I only had myself to blame. This time I had to blame a stranger, and never really know who decided to slip something into my drink or why.

Being spiked for me was a very confusing experience whilst also being upsetting and frustrating. I missed out on a good night out with my friends that I had been really looking forward to. I'm not the only person who feels this way. Just yesterday I saw a Facebook post being shared about a boy who ended up in hospital due to spiking, so yes, it's not just girls. A family friend told me about getting picked up by an ambulance at a friend's garden party because she was spiked. It seems many people have experienced the same kind of feelings I did, and it has to stop.

Spiking has come around thanks to rape culture, and the idea that sleeping with someone who is almost passed out can be considered consensual. Date rape drugs are easy to get hold of, inexpensive and alarmingly easy to administer to an unsuspecting victim. I was lucky, I had a few friends that refused to leave my side once the drug took effect. But not everyone is. Around 25% of women say that drugs factored into their rapes, and we mustn't forget that these are only the ones reported, which is around 58% of victims. ¼ of University students experience date rape drugs whilst studying, and 84% of offenders didn't realise this classified as rape. These statistics are terrifying. Young people shouldn't have to feel like prey.

While of course the natural response is to watch your drink carefully, keep a thumb over your bottle ect, what we should be teaching people is that rape is wrong. As a society we need to stop victim blaming and punishing people who do terrible things. And just in case you don't think rape is a big deal; survivors are more likely to consider and attempt suicide.
As I said I was lucky. That night I learned how amazing my friends are, and how patient my parents can be. I will be more careful in future, but I shouldn't have to be. If you have plans to slip something in someone's drink next time just think, think about how embarrassed, violated and ashamed I felt and consider whether you are ready to make someone else feel the same.

Join #ItsOnUs for support and to help work towards a safer society.

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