The PJ Tatler

Reporter Thinks Posters Warning Women About Date Rape Drugs Are 'Victim Blaming'

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Put-in-Bay, a popular Lake Erie island resort in Ohio, is well-known for its party scene and this summer, has earned the unfortunate nickname, “Roofie Island,” after more than a dozen women reported being drugged and at least three were raped. On weekend nights, island police regularly transport young women who suspect they’ve been slipped date rape drugs to the hospital — some tourists, others island employees.

To combat the problem, the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS)  has posted signs around the island warning women, “Do You Know Where Your Drink Is? Don’t Turn Your Back — ACT!” The poster shows a woman seated at the bar next to a man who is slipping something into her drink behind her back.

“We want friends to look out for their friends, fellow bar-goers to look out for fellow bar-goers and bar staff
to look out for their patrons,” said Agent-in-Charge Eric Wolf from the Ohio Department of Public Safety. “We want everyone to be safe. If you see someone tampering with another person’s drink – don’t turn your back on them, don’t be afraid to step up and act.”

An August 15th ODPS advisory said that bystanders and bar staff should let the person know their drink may have been compromised, get the individual out of the situation and call 9-1-1 immediately, and contain the evidence if possible. “According to the Ohio Incident Based Reporting System (OIBERS), nine forcible rapes with
drugs as a weapon were reported in 2013.”

But Alissa Widman Neese, a reporter for the Sandusky Register thinks something is missing. “Where is the poster telling men — or whoever is allegedly drugging individuals in Put-in-Bay — to stop distributing drugs?” Neese asks.

“If officials are going to advocate individuals protecting themselves from a potential problem, perhaps they should also acknowledge the source of the problem is at fault,” Neese added.  “The victim or careless bystander is not to blame.” She added via Twitter:

Is warning a woman that her drink could be tampered with any more “victim blaming” than warning someone to look both ways before she crosses the street? Anyone who walks out into traffic without looking both ways is taking unnecessary risks. A woman in a bar who is falling-down drunk has to know that it’s risky to leave her drink unattended when there are men on the prowl with roofies at the ready. Warning someone of a very real danger is not blaming someone for a crime that has yet to be committed.

Neese thinks that the perpetrators need to be warned.

Does anyone seriously think that a violent pervert who is willing to drug a girl, drag her to an alley or a hotel room, and force her to have sex without her knowledge or consent is going to be swayed by a poster or a public service campaign?

Ladies, heed the posters and protect yourselves (and your girlfriends) from these sex offenders. Better yet, steer clear of situations where you could have your drink compromised and never put yourself in a position where you are not in control of your mental faculties.  This is not “victim blaming,” this is common sense advice that could save your life. There are some guys that are creeps — violent losers who are bigger and stronger than you and who will take advantage of you and hurt you if given the opportunity.

A poster warning the perpetrator to leave you alone is not going to help you if you encounter this guy. Being and alert — and sober — and having a friend watch your back will. So will a gun, if you’re planning to stay sober.

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