April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and for the next few weeks (and even in the upcoming spring issue of The Key) we’ll feature some of our members’ stories.
Meghan Gardiner, British Columbia, had the unthinkable experience of being assaulted after having her drink spiked at a college party. Working from her experience and combining her talents as an actress and playwright, she produced a one-woman play titled “Dissolve,” which she has performed across the continent. She plays 14 characters using comedy, mime, satire and irony, portraying a college party gone wrong. A question and answer session follows, plus guidelines for safety. She appeared as a keynote speaker at the Toronto Police Service's International Conference on Sex Crimes. Due to the overwhelming demand for bookings, Meghan has produced a documentary film on the issue of drug-facilitated sexual assault, www.dissolvethemovie.ca available on DVD at Moving Images, www.movingimages.ca. She says, “Awareness is the first step toward prevention. If I had seen this film in college, things may have turned out differently for me.”
Some of Meghan's safety tips include:
- Never, ever, ever leave your drink unattended! If you want to dance, or
go to the washroom, finish your drink before you go. And, if someone
offers to buy you a drink, go with them and watch the bartender make it.
Be especially wary of punch bowls, and remember, nonalcoholic drinks
can be spiked, too.
- Stick with your sisters! Know their intentions before you go out, and
make a game plan that doesn’t change. These drugs take 20-30 minutes
to kick in, so if you know how little your friend has had to drink, that may
be your first clue. Don’t assume they just decided to have a wild night
and leave them.
- If you suspect that your drink or your friend’s drink has been spiked, get
to a hospital immediately! These drugs are flushed out of the system very
quickly, and a urine sample is the most reliable source for testing. Try not
to go to the washroom until you get to the hospital, and definitely don’t
shower or change your clothes. There could be very valuable evidence on
you, and in you.
- If someone discloses to you that this has happened to them, BELIEVE
THEM! If you don’t, they may never tell anyone again, and your support
is the only way they are going to get through this horrific event. There
are also wonderful counseling services available across North America.
Talk to your chapter Risk Management Chairman for more information.
- Have fun, but be safe! Awareness is the first step toward prevention.