No matter what, sexual assault is never a victim’s fault. And it’s not a person’s responsibility to “prevent” themselves from being assaulted. The only person responsible for a sexual assault is the person who commits it. But the following tips can help you have a safe and fun time when at a party, bar or just hanging out with friends.
Keep an eye out…
Keeping an eye on your drink and being wary of people around you are important, but possibly most important is keeping an eye on yourself. How much you drink is the one risk factor that you have 100 percent control over. This doesn’t mean that you should never go out and have a few drinks, but it’s important that you are aware that this crime exists.
If you’re drinking alcohol, keep an eye on yourself and your friends. If you’re worried about getting into an uncomfortable situation with someone, tell your friends how you feel and ask them to watch out for you. And if at any time you feel so drunk that you might pass out, consider where you are and the people you’re with. It might be a good idea to get a ride home with a trusted and sober friend or call a taxi. If that’s not an option and you have to sleep around others (such as at someone’s house after a party, a hotel room, etc.), ask people you trust to keep an eye on you if you pass out.
Watch for signs…
Watch for signs that your drink has been spiked - it tastes or looks weird; or you’re feeling really giddy, drowsy or just “way too drunk”. Remember, these drugs take effect very quickly and you should get help immediately. If you are not planning on drinking alcohol, remember that a soda or any other non-alcoholic drink can also be spiked.
Some drug-facilitated sexual assaults might start out harmlessly enough as flirting. If you are interested in someone, you may want to think about how far you’d like to go with them beforehand, and make it clear when you’ve gone farther than you’d like to. Flirting with someone is not an invitation for sex, nor do you “owe” them something if you do. Remember, you always have the right to change your mind about how you feel about someone.
Other safety tips:
- Limit how much alcohol you drink and remember that not everyone has the same tolerance threshold.
- Be wary of opened beverages offered by strangers or acquaintances, and open bottles yourself or observe the bartender doing so.
- Avoid drinking from punch bowls – you don’t know what’s been added.
- If your opened beverage looks, smells or tastes strange don’t drink it.
- Watch your drink – if you leave it unattended to go dancing or to the washroom, consider buying a new one.
- If you feel giddy or light headed, really drowsy or “too drunk”, get assistance from a friend. If a stranger offers to help escort you from the bar, club or party, they may want to take advantage of you.
- If you arrived with friends, check on each other before you split up later.
- If you think you or one of your friends has been drugged, get help.
- Use a buddy system: you keep an eye out on your friends and they keep an eye out on you.
- Have a designated driver who can leave a party or bar with you at any time.