According to The Encarta Dictionary, an urban legend is “a bizarre untrue story that circulates in a society through being presented as something that actually happened.” We’ve all heard the one about the “Hook Man Killer” who comes across an isolated couple fooling around in their car at Lovers’ Lane, or the one about the babysitter who keeps getting prank calls from…wait for it…inside the house. Dun, dun, dunnnnnnn!
Most urban legends are silly campfire horror stories, based on zero factual evidence, intended to shock and entertain us. With that in mind, Telegraph newspaper has an article about Kent University’s research conclusion that date-rape drink spiking is merely an urban legend, perpetuated by women who had a “bad night out.”
In the article “Date-rape drink spiking ‘an urban legend,’” Stephen Adams reports that researchers believe the date-rape drink spiking urban legend is “fuelled by young women unwilling to accept they have simply consumed too much alcohol.” In other words, women blame the date-rape drug as a means of denying responsibility and excusing any crazy or regretful behavior from the previous night of drinking.
What I find very disturbing, among many things in the article, is how casually the connection between sexual assault and the date-rape drug is dealt with. Throughout the article, Adams reiterates the study’s conclusion that there is “no evidence to suggest that rape victims are commonly drugged,” yet he fails to acknowledge that no matter how uncommon the study suggests it is, drink spiking has indeed been used in cases of sexual assault.
To call date-rape drink spiking an urban legend is to deny the harsh reality that it occurs, brush it aside as a campfire tale, and point the blame at women for being overly and illogically paranoid about being drugged.
It’s one thing to suggest that women who have nasty hangovers following a night of drinking might wrongly assume that their severe hangover was the result of a possible drink spiking, but it’s utterly outrageous to state that spiking drinks with a date-rape drug is a completely fictitious occurrence. It’s not. However rare as people might think it is, drink spiking is used in sexual assaults. Period.
To suggest that women’s anxiety about drink spiking is based on groundless, illogical fear is a dangerous, hate-filled, victim-blaming message. Perhaps the heightened awareness women have about the date-rape drug has reduced the actual occurrences, but that doesn’t mean they never happen.
Date-rape drink spiking is not an urban legend and it is incredibly offensive to suggest otherwise.