Sexual Assaults Are Not a Joke

****Trigger Warning****
I have been debating posting anything about this but my desire to alert women in our community to a potential danger out weighed my reasons not to post.
As some of you may have seen the local Eastown bar Billy’s Lounge recently posted a Meme on their FB page to advertise for business using a picture of Bill Cosby.
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Now, in my college days this was a bar my friends and I loved and frequented often. So I was surprised and disappointed to see this clueless and insensitive post. However, I thought the person running their social media deserved the benefit of the doubt that they did not connect why this would be inappropriate. I commented that it was odd to use a man who has spiked the drinks of many women and then sexually assaulted them as a means of promoting a bar. Others agreed with my comment that it was strange. Billy’s response was that it was “lighthearted” and that we were reading too much into it and should basically lighten up. I am willing to bet their social media person has not experienced or had someone they love experience a sexual assault or had someone put something in their drink. Thank goodness for them.
A story only a few of my friends know from my college days is that I once had something put in my drink at a party. Now I was lucky. The girls I had gone to the party with quickly realized something was not right with me and got me home. I only have a half an hour of time that the people I knew lost track of me, but from what I have pieced together from others there, I think I escaped unscathed-other than being ill from whatever was in my drink. Here’s the thing though, I do not know. I have no way of knowing. I have no memory. The last thing I remember was us walking into the party and then waking up the next day. Even though I am relatively positive that I was not assaulted it is terrifying to not know, to not be sure what happened to me or who may have done it or where I was for that missing half an hour. I thought I was being super safe and smart at that party, I went with a group of girls, not alone, we brought our own cups and kept them with us, and the party was at a friends house. I think the only time we set our cups down was to take pictures, I am assuming that is when it happened, but once again- I don’t know. We were only at the part for a very short amount of time, an hour and a half tops- not enough time that I had just drank a lot, and my friends I came with only saw me drink 1-2 drinks.
So you are right, Billy’s Lounge Social Media person, I did not take that meme in a lighthearted way. Because I know statistically women have probably been drugged and assaulted in your establishment. I know that statistically the number of Rapes and Sexual Offenses in Grand Rapids is on the rise, per the GRPD crime reports. I also know that if I were a person that still visited bars I would be worried about my safety in your bar- because apparently the concept of someone being drugged against their will and then assaulted is a “lighthearted” joke. I am not implying that your staff would condone the actions of someone drugging a person in your bar, I am sure they would not, but the fact that you seem out of touch with what could happen to someone makes me think you’re not on alert to be sure it doesn’t.
I hope women visiting this bar, and all bars and parties, are safe and alert and not the victim of predators in our mix. I also hope the owners of establishments where this can easily and frequently happen take notice of this issue and do what is within their power to help protect their patrons.

For more information on spiked drinks, sexual assaults, and how to protect yourselves visit the following websites:

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