I attended a party at a male student’s apartment one month before my freshman year of college. I had made some new friends who were going to Webster, and we were hanging out and getting to know each other. I noticed this male student was pouring everyone’s drink for them. Because I consider myself to be a well-educated female with keen survival techniques in situations such as this one, I kept an eye on him. Although I knew he likely had good intentions, I also knew I could never be too sure as a woman.
Later on I spoke with the friends who were at the party with me and I told them about how I was making sure that this student wasn’t putting something sketchy in our drinks. To my surprise, they told me they didn’t even consider this possibility. They did not even consider that a person whom which they did not know poured their drinks for them, out of sight, and that he could have put a drug in any of them. College students need to wake up to harsh realities like this one. Self-education is the only thing standing between having a good time, and experiencing a life changing event.
The International Business Times reported that in January of 2017, Northwestern University received a report of a date rape drug being used in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. The drug was given to four female students, two of which reported they were sexually assaulted at the fraternity. There was also an anonymous report stating the same thing occurred the previous night at the fraternity house.
This is just one of multiple instances in which watching your drink at a party in college could be useful. Having survival skills for situations like this can be crucial to your life and your experiences in a time where you are becoming your best self.
I was once driving with a close female friend late at night when I offered to drive her to her car. She told me she was okay with walking. I argued it’s common for women to get sexually assaulted on college campuses. It was dark, her car was parked all the way across campus and I insisted I drive her home.
Since 1987, six national studies, including one from 2016 from the Department of Justice show that one in four women are sexually assaulted in college and 5.4 percent of males. This does not even include the 21 percent of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, non-conforming) students that are sexually assaulted according to RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network), the sexual assault prevention navigator. I’m arguing you shouldn’t let your friends walk on campus alone at night based on statistics like this.
The 2015 documentary “The Hunting Ground” highlights these issues. Featuring multiple women and men from campuses across the country, the documentary reveals the truth of what can happen day in and day out on a college campus. It is extremely unsettling to me when I encounter the ignorance of others regarding this topic. Comments like “you know sometimes women cry rape, when they want to get a settlement” are the reason why this is still a problem and will continue to be. My advice is that you educate yourself.
Title IX is a federal law that protects students on campus who experience unlawful incidents regarding sex or gender. It applies to all educational institutions both public and private, according to the Know Your IX website. But most incidents unfortunately go unreported. Even though 1 in 4 women get sexually assaulted in college each year, Webster University has only 1 reported rape in 2016 and zero in 2014 and 2015.
Documentaries like “The Hunting Ground,” “It Happened Here” and “The Invisible War”, which tackles sexual assault in the military, will help open eyes to the epidemic of sexual violence. There are also websites like RAINN and ATSA (Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers) that offer sexual violence prevention tips. They give you access to resources that aid victims seeking help.
Drive your friends home or to their car — do not let them walk alone. Watch out for sketchy situations. Keep an eye on the wasted person at the next party that you attend, and make sure she, he or they are safe.