Trigger warning: Rape
On a summer’s night out with friends, strangers chose to take my life in their hands. My drink was spiked and I was drugged and raped by men I did not know. This one night of trauma has a lifetime of effect.
Drug facilitated sexual assault is a terrible crime. It’s about power, fear and control. Most of these crimes either go unrecognised, unreported, unsolved, or unproven. It happens too often to too many. Drink spiking statistics have little collected data, the police I reported to stated, ‘it’s not a huge issue’.
I disagree. I was 1 of 4 women drugged in the same pub on the same night. Using this percentage, think of all the people you know who believe they have had their drink spiked on a night out. Chances are they didn’t report their concerns to police. How many others thought the same and also didn’t report it? This non-reporting trend needs to change. We need more law enforcement working on these crimes, but this can’t happen without data to show it’s warranted.
We need a change in processes that support reporting and we need to stop gender based violence.
Promotion of gender equality is an essential part of violence prevention. A range of interventions are needed to promote gender equality and non-violent relationships by addressing gender roles and stereotypes that allow men more power and control over women. If we don’t change these gendered beliefs, some men will continue to feel entitled to act violently towards women. It’s not good enough.
Power over my body and my life was taken from me by men who felt entitled to be in control. I wasn’t only drugged, I was violated by multiple men – and in this experience I am not alone. The justice system has a long way to go to support people who have experienced these crimes. Even after going to the police, no charges were laid, we did not go to court and no-one was convicted of this crime. According to statistics from the Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault, only about 17% of reported sexual offences result in a conviction. It’s not good enough.
This is no longer about me. I’m speaking up and fighting for change, fighting for validation for all of those who don’t have a voice. I’m fighting for gender equality to help protect everyone from gender based violence, including rape.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.
Thank you to our guest bloggers and community advocates for taking part in our Gender Equality Matters 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign.