It’s a common tale that most can’t remember to tell. Something that is usually synonymous with frat parties, clubs and bars. We are talking about a spiked drink at a bar that leads to a sexual assault, or what is commonly referred to as getting “roofied.” Sadly it seems that there have been a lot of cases going unreported in the Seattle area, and likely everywhere else because of the stigmas associated with it.

The Stranger recently shared an article in which they interviewed ten people who claim to have been roofied (we have to say “claimed” because 2 of the 10 people interviewed got the proper treatment to assess what had actually happened to them, not because there is any distrust in the accounts of their nights). Based on this alone, it’s clear we need to change our views on the victims of those who are unwittingly drugged, and change how we respond to these situations as victims and as bystanders.

The prevalence of people getting roofied is surprisingly common. Just through discussing this subject with about 20 people ourselves, 15 respondents have claimed to have been roofied. Much like the people who spoke with the Stranger, most of the people we had discussions with did little to nothing in reporting their encounters. This is a two-fold issue: First, there is a huge amount of distrust in the police from the public. Second, people don’t believe that their reports will yield anything of use to the police, and would rather just avoid the whole ordeal of speaking with them. These two significant factors has greatly exacerbated the situation. “I don’t think anyone really knows the true scope or scale of the problem,” Sierra Hansen, executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, says. This could also be giving the people who do this shameful act an unchecked confidence in perpetuating their nefarious behavior.

As far as bystanders are concerned, you are just as complicit in the crime when you don’t act. We hate to sound so politically cliché, but if you see someone struggling and don’t intervene to make sure they’re safe, you’re contributing to the problem, not fixing it. Luckily in the rave scene, people are incredibly knowledgeable of proper and responsible drug use, and share the common sense motto of PLURR (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect, & Responsibility).

No one deserves to be roofied, and no one should laugh at a seemingly “drunk” fellow, especially if something seems decidedly off. If someone is acting out of character, or is “drunker” then they should be, then you need to act. A lot of the times, people will dismiss the symptoms of being roofied as someone who apparently can’t handle their booze. Most often when people speak of the time they were taken advantage of, they had a couple drinks in them total.

If you’re looking for a list of things that will keep you safe, we can’t offer anything except to not drink. Before you think that that is a sexist statement, men get roofied very often as well (per the info given to us by The Stranger’s article). If you choose to drink, be vigilant of both your beverage and your those of your friends. If someone wants to buy you a drink, be at the bar to get it. Don’t leave your drink unattended. There are some very common sense ways to prevent it, all of which are easy enough to ensure.

Bottom line is that if you think you have been roofied, file a police report. The more data we can gather as a community toward what’s quickly becoming an epidemic, the more tools we’ll have to fix the problem on a larger scale. The Seattle PD even has a handy FAQ about how to file a report if for whatever reason you’re unable to do it the night something occurs (link here). Change does not come from a single individual. It comes from a community of people focused on a single goal. So let us be a community and make our scene safer. Scratch that, lets make everyone safer. Please make sure you’re safe out there.