Bitches Iz Crazy?

So, remember how I was blogging about NRL scandal ‘Clare’? And how I had initial misgivings about sympathy for her seeing as I don’t see why I don’t see there should be get-out-of-jail-free passes for people who drink first and regret what happens after? Well, if this West Australian study (thanks Captain Nick) is to be believed, my initial hunches about human behaviour weren’t totally misplaced.

The report suggests that drink spiking doesn’t exist; that most people who claim their drinks have been tampered with are actually merely victims of their own lack of judgment and are ill as a result of substances voluntarily consumed.

Obviously, I had a few questions about this study. For starters, sample size and type — are the stats here good enough to draw conclusions from?

“The study took in 101 people who were taken to two Perth hospitals as suspected victims of drink spiking over 19 months.”

Almost all of the participants were women under 25, out on the town during the weekend. Now all this seems fairly reasonable, and as the scientist in the story suggests, our society probably has bigger safety concerns than date rape narcotics.

Having answered that, the question then remains: why did 101 people admit themselves to hospital for having their drinks spiked? Is this another example of science and the media supporting what I refer to as the ‘bitches is crazy’ theorem?

Maybe, but probably not. 101 people over 19 months in a whole city isn’t that many, and it’s not hard to imagine how many yoofs doing dumb shit need an excuse for their actions when they also need to be hospitalised at a certain point on a Friday.

All that said, let’s imaging giving them the benefit of the doubt. Let’s imagine that at least some of them thought their drinks had been spiked. Why? It’s hard to say, but a lot of things can happen to a person in a night that leaves them feeling violated and not many of those things are easy to articulate. The stats might say that date rape’s a myth, but they can’t prove feeling unsafe is.

10 Comments

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10 responses to “Bitches Iz Crazy?

  1. catherine

    So. ninety percent were young women. And in not one of these cases was it likely that there was drink spiking. But the study was conducted in the emergency department of the hospital?

    So really, we’re only talking about the people who feel not quite right at, say, three a.m. Not those who reflect on their evening the next day. Who are physically fine but perhaps uncertain of how their night turned out a certain way. Or who tell their friends rather than medical staff. Or who go straight to the police.

    I don’t know, I think the study is valuable in showing that, as so many of our blogs seem to point out, rather than “bitches is crazy” we can see that “people are stupid”. People have no comprehension of what excessive amounts of drugs and alchohol can feel like, and the negative response your body can have. Therefore they assume they are victims of a crime which is widely publicised (see any Cosmo since 1985) but probably relatively uncommon.

    Once again: People. Stupid.

  2. Captain Nick

    I’ve always suspected that “drink spiking” is a little like “waking up in a bath of ice with no kidneys”. Yes, I’m sure it has happened. But probably once. In 1964. And thus a legend was born.

    One of the main things is it just seems so…. niche. Rapists (or potential rapists) to begin with, are a tiny sliver of the population.

    Of this tiny sliver, we have to take out those who look for women who are alone and vulnerable, rape within families, rape amongst those who already know each other, etc.

    I think that’s the majority of rape cases covered.

    Now, of this sliver of a sliver, we have those who rape strangers in bars. First we take out those who purposefully prey on the drunk, and the mutual drunken situations that go horrible wrong (for both parties).

    I think that’s the majority of bar-based rape situation.

    Now, of this sliver of a sliver of a sliver, we have left those who specifically plan ahead to rape someone, buy and administer drugs to do such, but then *FAIL* – somewhere after administering and when the girl’s friend’s find her ill and take her to hospital.

    That’s a common theme of these stories: no rape actually occurs, only a “drugged but luckily escaped”.

    And yet I have 4 female friends who claimed to have been in this situation. It’s like having 4 friends who have been struck by lightening, then won the lottery.

    It’s scaremongering, plain and simple, in the same way as the news claiming “ecstasy makes your spinal fluid run backwards” or that you should be wary of Muslims on planes.

    Saying to someone to be careful to not let their drink be unwatched is as useful advice as telling your housemate, as they head off to the library, to “Watch out for serial-killers. Specifically ones that will flay the skin of your legs and weave jackets from the skin strips”.

  3. Bhakthi

    You are right. Mostly.

    “Rapists (or potential rapists) to begin with, are a tiny sliver of the population.”

    Noone has these figures, how are YOU purporting to?

    In my mind, rape, slithery concept that it is, remains highly under-discussed.

    • Captain Nick

      Outside of family abuse and spousal abuse, are you suggesting rapists are common?

      There were 11,000 accusations of rape in the UK last year.

      That’s 0.014% of the population.

      Obviously, by the very nature of the crime, it is often probably unreported.

      But only 5% of that 11,000 accusations ended with convictions: I suspect that more than balances out the unreported crime. And I’m sure a huge proportion of that is abuse within families, which isn’t part of the “date rape” saga.

      Rapists are not common.

  4. catherine

    Really?

    Under-discussed?

    I’m not sure that’s the case.

    I feel like growing up reading “women’s” publications (magazines), short stories at high school, sex ed, teen tv and film, and even the Weekend Australia (boy do they love a sordid rape story) has led to its over-representation. Probably not sexual harassment, as that is common enough, but Rape I feel has always been represented as more common a threat than it really is.

    It’s just that it’s not one you want to risk.

    • Bhakthi

      Under-discussed was the wrong word. ITS NOT EVEN A REAL WORD.

      What I’m getting at is more under-discussed in the right way.

      Sordid over-sensationalised content doesn’t make conversations more accessible. In fact, in some ways, it makes them LESS accessible because it puts it up as a non-everyday occurrence.

      Which, by the way, Nick, we should be looking at spousal and family abuse — this is what I’m talking about about what I say “everyday occurrence”.

      • Captain Nick

        I’m thinking family abuse is probably discussed endlessly between the abusers, victims and the instruments in society put in place to counsel them. Given it’s so case specific – generalist advice on “don’t rape your wife/child” sounds a little redundant to me – and so private to the individuals, that’s probably a good thing.

        Rather that than the private horrors of people’s families plastered across the tabloids.

        It’s a little like cancer – if you don’t have cancer or know someone who does, you probably don’t realise the enormous social and governmental system in place to look after you.

        Or the Special Considerations program at Uni – if you’ve never needed it, you probably have no idea it exists.

  5. andrepeach

    But…for all the ‘over-discussion’ of rape, too many rapes still go unreported, often many of the ones that are reported are never followed up by overworked/sceptical police and even when they are followed up rape victims are subjected to the horrible triple problem of: you asked for it in some way/rape victims are unreliable and hysterical witnesses/your accurate memory of the rape does not accord with our model of how you should be reacting, so you must be lying.

    That rapists thankfully make up a tiny percentage of the population does not in and of itself mean that the conversation about rape is scare-mongering. As Bhakthi noted, it has to be redirected. I think if more cases were reported and acted upon, and rape victims weren’t subjected to that secondary victimisation, then we’d see a rise in rape convictions.

    • Captain Nick

      I wasn’t saying talk of rape was scaremongering: it clearly isn’t.

      *Date-rape*, in the context of date-rape drugs, I think is scaremongering.

  6. Getting back to the point, mixing recreational drugs (and you’re unable to know what’s in them) with alcohol and maybe prescriptions and more means unpredictable results including unplanned and unexpected intoxication to the point of unconsciousness. Naive refusal to take responsibility for their drinking and drugging makes it all too easy for these young women to blame someone else.

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