The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Samantha Brett Joins Forces With ‘The Daily Mail’ In Drink-Spiking Shame Game

Posted by Clem Bastow on June 27, 2008

Drink spiking has been given a fair bit of coverage in the Australian media over the past few years; not a month goes by when one women’s magazine or another prints a guide to staying safe while out on the tiles.

However a more worrying media trend has emerged whereby fairly heavy suggestions are made to the tune of “well it’s probably her fault her drink was spiked, anyway” – and the latest to enter this sorry club is Fairfax Online blogger and ‘media personality’, Samantha Brett.

In today’s ‘Ask Sam Friday’ missive, she tells the dreadful story of a reader’s experience of drink-spiking; “Betty” woke up the next day, in bed with a stranger, her clothes on the floor, experiencing no hangover – it’s a story we’ve heard many times, the reaction usually one of shock and dismay. But this time there’s only scant horror at the events recounted in Betty’s email, and instead Brett hijacks the story to give airtime to the idea that drink-spiking is “a myth”:

Even worse, many believe that drink spiking might merely be a myth, thanks to a study by a bunch of doctors in the UK who took a closer look at 75 women who went to hospital complaining of their drinks being spiked.

According to the Daily Mail, one in five women who cried “drink spike” were found to have recreational drugs in their system, not the typical date rape drugs such as Rohypnol, GHB and ketamine, while two thirds were found to have been drinking heavily.

“Doctors carrying out the latest study at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital said it was far more likely women were claiming their drinks had been spiked as an ‘excuse’ for binge-drinking”.

Unfortunately studies like this doesn’t help Betty’s case. But either way, the doctors do have a strong message: watch your drinks and don’t drink too much either …

(Incidentally, do you like that little passive aggressive ellipsis at the end there?)

It’s often difficult to know where to begin with Brett’s blogs, but this one is particularly worrisome, not the least of which is because a) she’s quoted The Daily Mail (those storied pro-feminists), and b) they’ve quoted a “study” of 75 women. Not 750, not 7500, 75. It’s hardly what you would call an exhaustive sample group.

It’s no secret that binge drinking is a big problem, but saying that a high number of women who “cried” drink spiking had actually just overindulged is like saying women use abortion as contraception – it takes a ridiculously small portion of the female population’s behaviour and applies it as a general rule to the rest of us.


3 Responses to “Samantha Brett Joins Forces With ‘The Daily Mail’ In Drink-Spiking Shame Game”

  1. lod said

    My understanding of drink spiking was that the most common method was to use alcohol. It’s even the original use of the term (“the punch is spiked…”).

    Giving someone doubles without their knowledge or adding concentrated alcohol would be very difficult to for the drinker to notice and make it very hard for them to control how much they drink. Alcohol has much the same effect as the date rape drugs.

  2. Alex said

    I’m a 21 year old Australian girl and my drink has been spiked twice on two different occasions. It is very clear when substances other than alcohol have been used. My drink was spiked with sedatives and I became paralyzed and then passed out. I couldn’t move or speak, hearing was the last sense to go… I was knocked out as if on an operating table.
    It is easy for people to spike drinks should they want to, often there is more than one person working together in an organised/premeditated way…. Once they have spiked the drink they wait for the person to drink it, and then offer to “take them home”. In many cases, like that of Betty’s, they are never taken home.

  3. Leah said

    I’m intrigued by her use of ‘Even worse…’ at the beginning…I presume she was comparing the possibility of women ‘crying drink spiking’ to actually having their drinks spiked…if this is the case, she’s saying that women getting really drunk and saying their drink was spiked is WORSE than men actually spiking women’s drinks. Which is totally mad.

    I had my drink spiked once (realised very quickly and a friend took me home) and the worst thing, apart from the vomiting and balance problems for days afterwards, was the inference made by a few of my parents’ friends (we were on a family holiday) that I’d just got very drunk & made up the spiking story to cover it up. Made me so angry on a number of levels.

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