Davis is not exempt from dangers of rape culture
Content Warning: This editorial contains descriptions of drugging and sexual assault, which some readers might find upsetting.
The Davis Police Department received three reports this past month of women, all of whom are UC Davis students, experiencing abnormal behavior like blackouts after drinking alcoholic beverages that may have been tampered with. While the reports are still under investigation, police believe that these women had drugs placed into their drink while at G Street Wunderbar and Bistro 33.
These reports are a reminder of the dangers of going out as a college student. A 2016 study published in the journal Psychology of Violence found that 7.8% of students from three U.S. universities self-reported that they had been drugged before. About twice as many women report being drugged as men, according to the study.
The common term for these substances placed in drinks without the knowledge of the consumer are date rape drugs. Nearly 11 million women in the U.S. have been raped while drunk, drugged or high, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Common date rape drugs include cocaine, prescription and over-the-counter medication, cannabis and so-called club drugs, such as Rohypnol (otherwise known as roofies), gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and ketamine.
In Davis, it’s easy to think of ourselves as in a safe bubble. But living in a college town does not exempt us from the dangers present at bars and parties. It’s important that all students, particularly women and LGBTQIA people who are especially vulnerable to assault and abuse, take precautions and recognize the symptoms of the possible presence of drugs in your system.
Never leave your drink unattended, and if you do, don’t resume drinking it. Only drink what you’ve watched the bartender pour. If you’re at a house party, avoid any type of “jungle juice” because it’s impossible to know what’s been mixed in. And even if you’re out with friends and classmates, it’s important to still be on your guard. “About 85 to 90 percent of sexual assaults reported by college women are perpetrated by someone known to the victim; about half occur on a date,” according to the National Institute of Justice.
Symptoms of possible tampering include nausea, confusion, vomiting, visual problems and blacking out. It’s especially important to recognize these symptoms if you haven’t consumed enough alcohol to warrant these effects.
If you suspect your drink has been tampered with, you should immediately go to the hospital. If so inclined, you can confidentially file a report with the Davis Police Department. If you would rather not report with the police or are just in need of extra support, there are confidential counseling services on campus, like the Center for Advocacy, Resources & Education.
No matter which precautions you did or did not follow, the situation is by no means your fault. While it’s difficult to determine the exact number of people who have had their drinks unknowingly tampered with, 7.8% is still too high. This is a reflection of the pervasive rape culture that students are forced to navigate.
Written by: The Editorial Board