There’s a new ‘stranger danger’ out there and it’s not the sort that we warn our kids about. It’s the sort where we adults need to view every person in our surroundings, whether it be in a corporate box at a sporting match, one of Adelaide’s most respected restaurants, or out at a pub, as a potential predator. I mention some of these places because these are venues where ‘drink spiking’ has taken place.
Only a month ago, one Friday afternoon I met up with a friend, for an after work drink in Hutt Street. As I sat enjoying literally one drink, a random guy, in a nice suit, plonks himself down, to have a chat. Not being in the mood to be picked up by the big-noting idiot, we were delighted when a mutual friend wandered past our table and stopped to say hi. Distracted by our friend for only a minute or so, we realised our annoying ‘suit’ had relocated to a nearby table, where he seemed to be filling in his mates on his attempt at impressing us girls. Or was he?. Twenty minutes later, I started feeling really dizzy, and asked my friend to walk me to my car so I could go home. Moments later, I almost blacked out and vomited. Within only 2 hours my friend returned home with her husband where from that point, she recalls nothing. She woke the next day feeling shaky and confused, as did her husband. What had she done, and what had she said? That remains between them, but safe to say it took a while for both of them to get over it.
Another friend told how his nurse wife, who works at one of our major hospitals, treated one particular victim of drink spiking who had had her bowel perforated by what they believe was an attack made during her ‘lost hours’.
I stress that these stories come from genuine women, who are not making excuses for bad behaviour, but who remember one minute being ok, and the next waking up in bed, with a gut feeling, and certain evidence, that they may have had sex with a stranger! These stories are as ugly as it gets. No sane woman is going to share her story of drink spiking with me, where months later after suffering serious abdominal pain, goes to her GP, only to find that a wine cap has been lodged into her womb. And that’s after the standard trauma of not knowing if and who you can sex with. What diseases were they carrying? And can I possibly be pregnant?
Don’t fool yourself that drink spiking applies only to women that may have already had a few and therefore easy targets! A well known South Aussie basketballer, was rushed to hospital thinking she was dying after one sober night out, only to find after drug tests, that she had been spiked with cocaine. Apart from the scary factor, her career could have been ruined.
How can we protect ourselves? We all need to be acutely sensitive to any sudden feelings of nausea while out, or sudden extreme feelings of being drunk or drowsy. These are the first signs something may be wrong. Most of the time your predator will be monitoring the sickening progress of your demise, so he can move in for the kill. This is not just happening at seedy places, it’s everywhere. We need to spend more time looking out for a mates, or flagging up to our friends that we feel weird, than worrying about entertaining some stranger that may have a more sinister reason for showing us attention!