I’ve received several emails asking how Juliet drugged Serena on “Gossip Girl.” The latest came last week, even though that “Gossip Girl” episode was over two months ago.
Some were from GG fans who were just curious. Others made me a little uneasy. As a neuroscience student, I will say that the way Juliet did it on “Gossip Girl” was pretty much impossible. It was pure television make-believe.*
Especially in view of some of the emails, however, I think you should know what to do if you suspect you’ve been given a date rape drug.
By the way, even guys can be victims. Predators sometimes use “date rape” drugs to rob people or harm them in other ways besides rape.
You Can Do Things
You might believe that if you’ve been drugged, there’s nothing you can do to protect yourself. That’s not necessarily true. If you’re still aware and in control of yourself, you can increase your chances of escaping safely.
And let’s keep things in perspective. It probably will never happen to you. You shouldn’t be afraid to go out and have fun. But it’s also good to be careful and be prepared.
It can happen at a club or a party. You leave your drink for a minute and then come back. Or someone brings you a drink. Fifteen or twenty minutes later, you start to feel weird. Some of the warning signs are:
- You feel really tired or dizzy.
- Your body feels numb, like it’s not there.
- You feel emotionally detached like everything is a dream.
- You feel very drunk, a lot more than you’d expect from the amount you drank.
- You hear things with an echo like they’re far away.
- You have trouble talking, standing, or walking.
- You have trouble remembering things.
Someone put a date rape drug in your drink. It might be a guy you’re with, but often, it’s someone else. He’ll be watching you to see when the drug takes effect. When he thinks you’re disoriented and vulnerable, he’ll move in on you. He wants it to look like you just had too much to drink.
Prevention is Best
Of course, the safest thing is not to get drugged in the first place. To prevent it:
- It’s common sense to use the buddy system when you go to a party or club. Go with friends so you can look out for each other.
- Don’t leave your drink unwatched on the table or bar. It only takes a second for someone to drop something into it.
- If a guy you’ve just met wants to get you a drink, go with him and watch while he gets it and gives it to you. Obviously, keep it casual. I admit that I’ve never done this, and it was stupid of me not to do it. From now on, I will.
- Drink from bottles or cans when it’s an option. If you open them yourself, it’s even better.
- If a drink tastes funny, don’t drink it. But don’t depend on being able to taste a drug.
If You Think You’ve Been Drugged
If you think you’ve been drugged, don’t wait until you’re sure. Then it might be too late. Here are some things to do:
- Get to your friends or someone you can trust. Ask them to call 911 and take you to the hospital. Even if you can’t talk, they will see that you’re sick and that something is wrong. This is your best option, because your friends can protect you and the hospital can test you for date-rape drugs.
- Call 911.
- Scream “Did you put something in my drink?” Cry, vomit, make as much of a scene as you can. The guy who drugged you wants to get you out quietly. If you attract attention, he’s more likely to stay away from you.
If You Are a Victim
If you wake up in the morning feeling groggy, sick, and you can’t remember what you did, you might have been a victim. Date rape drugs interfere with your memory** of what happened and they disappear from your body within 24 hours. Don’t wait until you feel better. Go straight to the Health Center or the hospital to get tested.
And don’t spend a single second blaming yourself for what happened. You were the victim of a crime, just like a robbery or a shooting. Some lowlife used the most despicable and cowardly way there is to hurt you. Get help and, if possible, make sure that the lowlife goes to prison.
And remember: Prevention is best! Don’t be brave. Be careful.
* It also makes me uneasy that people think TV dramas are a source of valid medical information. But that’s a whole different blog post.
** More accurately, they block the formation of long-term memories.
Copyright 2011 by Rinth de Shadley.
And you were what?!
Silvio Berlusconi is the Prime Minister of Italy.
I was only kidding about the love toy part.
Lately, Berlusconi has been denounced because he seems to jump into bed with anything that’s female, even if it’s a minor. But in spite of his piggish and possibly illegal behavior, more than half of the Italian population still supports him. What’s going on?
What’s going on is that a lot of people still haven’t caught up with the 21st century. That doesn’t make them bad people, but it does mean that they might support bad things.
Besides being prime minister, Berlusconi owns about half of the television stations and news media in Italy. According to Chiara Volpato, a professor of social psychology at the University of Milan in Italy, that enables him to reinforce sexist viewpoints:
In Berlusconi’s media, women and minors are denigrated to a “decorative” role. This representation cements women’s subordinate position in Italian society.
As a result, the World Economic Forum’s 2010 report ranked Italy 74th in equality of women.
There’s a reason that I’ll never be anyone’s “decoration.” It’s not just that I have self-respect: that’s an effect, not the cause. The cause is that my society gives me freedom, rights, opportunities, and a status (mostly) equal to men. Women haven’t always had those things.
Let’s review human history. Up until fairly recently, societies were organized mainly by violence. People who were physically strongest, most aggressive, and most driven to dominate others were the ones who ended up running things. Unsurprisingly, they were mostly men. Not all men are like that, but more men are than women.
Violence still plays a role, let’s not have any illusions about that. But as civilization has developed, violence has gradually become less important than thinking, negotiation, and cooperation.
Men can throw a spear farther than we can. They can outrun us and overpower us physically. But when cooperation replaces violence, women become just as powerful as men, though in different ways. In general, we’re better at cooperation. We don’t care as much about “dominating” others. We just want to make sure that everyone is included and taken care of.
When civilization advances to that point, the old stereotypes and social roles begin to break down. Women are no longer forced into the roles of servant and plaything for men.
Berlusconi and other defenders of the old order are fighting to stop that evolution. But in the long run, they can’t succeed. Nobody wants to go back to living in caves: for one thing, you can’t get cell phone reception there.
Copyright 2011 by Rinth de Shadley.
I was feeling happy earlier this evening, but now I’m a little depressed.
Maybe it’s hitting me that this is my last semester in Shadley. I’ve got exciting classes this spring, and one of them looks difficult. Those are the ones that make you stretch, grow, learn, and achieve things that you never thought you could do.
But I’m thinking, after May, that’s it. No more coffee at the Dirty. No more Skinner Green. No more Blanchard. Most of all, no more seeing my friends and teachers every day. I’ll miss that. They’re part of who I am. So is Shadley. Always will be.
I’ll come back for reunions and events of course, but I’ll also be busy with graduate education and life. Shadley will have to fit into that schedule.
Wait a second. That was all true earlier this evening when I felt happy. And I know from some of my neuroscience and psychology classes that highs alternate with lows. The reason I feel low now is that I was emotionally high before. I mean, I’m still sad that I’ll be leaving Shadley after graduation, but that’s not the important thing right now. Even the Bible says it:
Don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)
The important thing right now is to enjoy this semester and make the most of it. To study. To spend time with my friends. To let my professors know how much I appreciate all the things they’ve taught me and how much they’ve encouraged me. To walk around campus and make a memory picture that I can take with me wherever I go.
I feel better now. This is going to be a great semester.
Copyright 2011 by Rinth de Shadley.
Sorry that I haven’t blogged lately, but I’m back at school and busy with J-Term.
During January, we get to take classes that normally wouldn’t take, explore new ideas, and take day trips with our friends.
Tomorrow afternoon, I’ve got a class. Then a little dancing and Senior Pub Night. And this weekend it’s off to New York.
I hope that you’re having a great J-Term, too!
Do you know what my first thought was when I woke up on New Year’s morning 2011? Almost before I even opened my eyes?
“OMG. I graduate this year!”
Dread and sorrow about leaving behind the familiar, supportive environment of Shadley. Worry about losing touch with all my friends.
But also excitement about new things I will experience. About the important things I will learn. And thankfulness that I’m continuing my education instead of jumping immediately into a very scary job market.
It was a nice New Year’s Eve but not like last year. No party. Just stayed home with the family and watched the celebrations on TV. Ironically, now that it’s legal for me to drink alcohol, I didn’t have any last night. Just some herbal tea. And some cookies.
For all my friends, readers, family, and loved ones, this will be our best year yet.
Happy New Year! 🙂