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.