Safety tips sent after suspected drink spiking

    The warning issued to students on nightlife safety and drink-spiking is a safety message that never expires, said St. Thomas’s director of communications Jeffrey Carleton.
    An e-mail equipped with prevention tips was sent to STU and UNB students on Mar. 4 after the university received reports from three students who suspected they were the victims of drink-spiking after an evening out.
    Carleton ensured there was no onus being placed on the potential victims, but that the university wanted to share the notice for students to be as vigilant and safe as possible.
    “Based on the fact that there were three, we decided to send a note to our students on nightlife safety and drinking,” Carleton said. “We wanted to make sure that any students who were out were aware of the potential for the danger.”
    Carleton confirmed the reported incidents took place at the Social Club, a bar on UNB’s campus.
    The Social Club could not be reached for comment, but Carleton said the establishment was notified so staff could be alerted.
    “The Social Club has been great to work with and responded to our notification right away, and they offered to work with student services to make sure that this doesn’t happen again or it can be minimized.”
    Lorraine Whalley, executive director of the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre, said the centre does not keep statistics, but that a big part of preventing situations such as drink-spiking is focusing on more than just people protecting themselves.
    “It’s important that we are aware of this issue, that it does happen,” said Whalley. “But the message would have to be that it’s not because I didn’t protect my drink, I was drugged and then sexually assaulted. That happened because someone specifically chose to do it, targeted me and did so.”
    Whalley said prevention tips are widely known these days, and paying attention to strange behaviour is just as important. This includes things like somebody buying another person a double rather than a single and taking the drink somewhere before giving it to the person.
    She said broadening the conversation when talking about the issue is what will make awareness campaigns truly effective.
    “When we always put emphasis first on the victim protecting themselves, often we stop there and we get lost in that,” Whalley said. “I don’t prevent a sexual assault by protecting my drink. A sexual assault gets prevented when the person is going to sexually assault me doesn’t sexually assault me.”

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