Over the weekend, Rapture Nightclub in Perth has been copping the wrath of the internet after a screenshot of their response to a woman who had her drink spiked went viral.
Shantel Smith, 19, alleges that she went to the nightclub and woke up in a toilet stall, vomiting and foaming at the mouth. She messaged Rapture’s Facebook page only to be met with questions like “Did you attend a hospital and have your stomach pumped for evidence?”, “Would you like a crowd controller to hold your drink for your next time you attend a nightclub?”, and arguably worst of all, “Are you worth someone trying to spike your drink?”
The owner of Rapture Nightclub, Neil Scott, has said that he does regret sending the message, but he’s made some other comments since that have not been taken well.
When asked why he didn’t believe Shantel, he said “Well she’s not a particularly attractive girl. It’s just implausible to imagine that she had her drink spiked, it just doesn’t sort of add up.”
Later, in an interview, he said “I don’t know if she thinks she’s special enough to be spiked, I don’t know if that’s how it works.”
Spoiler alert: that’s definitely not how it works.
The initial message from Rapture Nightclub to Shantel ended with “we think this is a beat up and we believe no one would be stupid enough to waste their drugs on spiking someone’s drink.”
Here’s the thing. People are absolutely, positively, far too willing to “waste their drugs” spiking peoples drinks. While we’ll never know the real numbers, some studies say that a quarter of all young people have experienced drink spiking in some sense. The reason we’ll never actually know though, is because drink spiking is chronically under reported.
People tend not to report drink spiking for a number of reasons. Perhaps the effects of the drug mean that they don’t remember many details of the night, or they feel they won’t be believed because they were drinking. The idea that a person is “asking for it” because they have the sheer audacity to enjoy a few drinks on a night out is an idea that we just can’t seem to shake as a society.
In a country like Australia, where drinking culture is as ingrained in us as grabbing a sausage from Bunnings, the fact that myths like this still float around is particularly scary. We’re taught that you basically have to drink if you want to have friends, but if something happens to you while you’re out drinking with those friends, then it was your fault for drinking in the first place.
The mental gymnastics that go into shifting the blame from the perpetrator to the victim are truly something to behold. They’re also the reason people don’t usually want to come forwards after, say, waking up on the floor of a nightclub and foaming at the mouth.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that victim blaming is never okay, and it’s pretty confronting to see such a blatant example of it doing the rounds online. Stories like Shantel’s are terrifying, but I like to hope that situations like hers are getting less and less common.
And if your response to someone telling you they’ve been roofied is to ask whether or not they were worth it, go home.