Before I went off to college, adults would always tell me: "Never leave your drink unattended!"
We've all heard the horror stories about girls getting drugged when they're at a party; if you haven't watched an episode of '60-Minutes' about it, you've probably heard a frightening story about a friend of a friend who was unfortunate enough to experience it firsthand.
It's not until I got to college and started going to parties myself that I recognized the scope of just how dangerous and common these incidences are. I know girls who have been taken advantage of because someone slipped something into their drink.
Even if you can't relate to a story firsthand, just hearing about their experience is frightening; they can't remember certain parts of their night—where their awareness went black—but they know something terrible happened. This inkling is so scary because you know that something bad happened to you, but you have no idea just what it is.
Drink spiking can usually lead to someone being taken advantage of sexually. So many incidences of sexual assault and rape have occurred when the victim was drugged by another person, or became unconscious due to another person pressuring or force-feeding them alcohol and other substances.
You can get drugged even if you aren't drinking alcohol; it's not like the drug is only going to work when it's mixed with alcohol—a plain, old water or soda will do just fine. So, even if you're staying sober to be the designated driver for the night, you're still at risk. The fact that a sober, responsible person trying to look after their friends may get drugged is appalling; it's as if nobody's safe.
I've even heard of people slipping drugs into ice cubes so that when the ice melts, it releases the drug into the drink. This makes it every harder for people to feel safe at parties because looking after their drink isn't enough—they have to be suspicious of where the ice is from.
And who are we supposed to trust? It's nice to believe that the people we're close to wouldn't have the heart to do something so awful to us. Yet, unfortunately, it's very possible for friends or even significant others to stoop to dark levels and violate the people they're close to. It's sad to think that the ones we usually trust can sometimes not be trusted.
We should be able to go out and not have to constantly worry about the possibility of being drugged. It's sad that we can't just enjoy going out without being wary. When you think about all the possible things that people can worry about, fearing for your safety because of someone drugging you just seems unnecessary—we shouldn't have to worry about this issue.
If you suspect that you were drugged and/or taken advantage of, it's important to tell someone. Share this information with someone you can trust and who will be able to help you. If someone close to you approaches you to tell you they think they were drugged and/or taken advantage of, listen and be there for them. Those who have been through scary experiences are not alone; there are always people who are out there to help.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline is open 24/7, and can be reached at 1-800-656-4673. RAINN also offers a live chatting service from trained professionals to assist and support anyone who needs support or help.
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