Can I Buy You A Drink: Preventing Acquaintance – Date Rape

May 19, 2017
by Dale Antry

In 2016, Debra, a recent college graduate at her first job, attended a sales conference with her fellow colleagues.  On the last night of the conference, she went to a group mixer with other sales people and a few potential customers.  This was something she had done several times in the past.  Nothing was unusual.  What she had not counted on though was waking the next morning with no recollection of how she had gotten back to her hotel room or how she came to be completely naked, lying in her bed.  Even more terrifying was that although she could not remember the night before, she knew she had been sexually assaulted.

When I hear stories like this my mind instantly begins to focus on my wife, who herself attends conferences and mixers such as Debra, and to my daughters who are young and sometimes naïve to the world around them.  My heart aches for Debra and I fear for the safety of those I love the most.  As much as we would like to say, “This will never happen to me”, reality is, it can happen to anyone. According to the Department of Justice, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are sexually assaulted sometime in their life and in 8 of every 10 rape cases, the victim knows the attacker.

I’m sometimes accused of being suspicious and untrusting of people that socialize or even work with my wife and my daughters, but when I see statistics like this, and when I have spent a career working sexual assault investigations, I’ve learned that bad things happen to good people by someone whom they have trusted or considered a friend.  So yes. When it comes to the safety of my family, the number of people I trust is very small.  Everyone else is a potential threat.

I understand you can’t be there to protect your loved ones 24/7.  In fact, you’re likely to do more harm than good by being the overprotective parent or the spouse who is always around while their husband/wife is working.  While your intentions are noble, it can severely damage any relationship and convey a message that you don’t trust your children or your significant other.   So, what is a person to do?

Let’s consider for a moment Debra’s case.  Cynics might say that she probably had too much to drink, hooked up with someone and now regrets what has happened.  They may say there is no way she is unable to remember what happened.  They would be dead wrong.

There are a number of different drugs that predators will use which leaves their victims defenseless and unable to remember what happened.  The most common of these drugs are Rohypnol, Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid, more commonly refered to as GHB, and Ketamine, all of which are odorless, colorless, and tasteless and can be easily slipped into a victim’s drink.   So for all the young adults out there who are negotiating the club or bar scenes, and for all the working professionals where socializing is encouraged, I’d like to provide 5 basic tips to protect yourselves from becoming a victim.

  1. Know your limit:  It’s ok to drink.  But when you begin to feel yourself “getting buzzed”, stop drinking.  Getting smashed to a point where you begin acting a fool, are unable to speak clearly or even walk correctly just makes you look stupid and greatly increases your chances of becoming a victim.
  2. Don’t accept drinks from anyone you don’t know: If a stranger walked up to you on the street, handed you glass containing an unknown liquid, would you drink it?  Hopefully not.  You have no idea what’s in the glass.  It could be anything.  So why would you do it at a club?  If you don’t know the person, then you don’t know their intentions.  Why take the chance?  If you’re concerned about being rude, ask yourself this; Would you rather hurt someone’s feeling or die?  Because potentially, that is exactly what could happen.
  3. When at a bar or club, always get your drink directly from the bartender: It only takes a second for someone to slip something into your drink.  If someone wants to buy you a drink that’s fine.  Walk with them to the bar and get your drink from the bartender.
  4. If drinking from a bottle or can, make sure they are sealed when you receive it: Again, it’s all about your ability to make sure nobody puts something in your drink.  If you’re the person opening the container, you can be relatively certain there is nothing inside other than what you have purchased.  It’s all about keeping an eye on your drink which takes me to my final point;
  5. Never leave your drink unattended: If you do, get another drink.  Don’t ask your friend to keep an eye on it while you go to the bathroom or hit the dance floor.  Either finish it or take it with you.

I wish that I could be with the ones I love all the time to keep them safe from harm but that’s not just impractical, it’s impossible.  After spending over twenty years in law enforcement, I’ve learned, as I mentioned earlier, bad things happen to good people by those they considered friends or by someone they have trusted.  None of us are immune to the dangers of the world but we can take simple precautions to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim while not sequestering us from all the many good things the world offers.

As a husband and father I am very passionate about this.  Although I have interviewed hundreds of sexual assault victims I can’t imagine the pain and mental suffering that victims of sexual assault and their families go through.  I pray I never will.

 

By Dale Antry

Dale is the Chief Operations Officer at Chester Security Group (CSG) and its subsidiary company, Black Tree LLC. CSG is a veteran owned small business that provides comprehensive threat assessments and training in a multitude of physical and personal protection disciplines.  Black Tree is an experiential training company dedicated to empowering others through awareness, focusing on the needs of young adults facing everchanging and tumultuous times. To learn more about CSG or Black Tree or sign up for a course of instruction, please visit their websites at https://csgblacktree.com or http://www.blacktreeexperience.com