Did You Know that Alcohol is the #1 Date Rape Drug in Canada?

It’s Friday night, and the bars are packed with people looking to unwind after a long week, ranging from sports fans cheering at the game to university students playing pool. As part of that scene, you’ll always see people flirting with each other, maybe looking to hook up. Maybe part of that interaction is buying someone a drink, so you can ‘loosen them up’ and take them home. Perfectly normal… right?

Getting someone drunk in the hopes of scoring might be ‘normal’… But did you know that this can lead to sexual assault?

Sexual assault is any unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature imposed by one person upon another. Canadian law says consent to sex (which is ALWAYS required) can only be given when individuals are capable of making informed decisions and have clearly and freely demonstrated that they want to engage in sexual activity. Legally, that means that if the person you’re with has been drinking, they can’t consent to sex (even if they don’t appear to be intoxicated).

But have no fear! We’ve put together this basic list of Do’s and Don’ts to help guide your decision making.

Do:

  • Understand and respect what consent is, who can give it, and when it can and cannot be given (click the link to learn more about what constitutes consent!).
  • Communicate! Just because someone consents to one thing, does not mean they consent to everything. Remember, consent must be ongoing and enthusiastically given, which means you should continually check in with your partner(s) to make sure you are on the same page regarding what you are both okay with, and what you are not into.
  • Use a wing person as more than a means to pick up at the bar. Have them let you know if the person you’re interested in has had too much to drink, or if you are coming on to someone too strong.
  • Talk about consent with your friends and ensure that everyone is aware of what constitutes consent.
  • Be respectful of people and their boundaries.

Don’t:

  • Encourage others to drink past their limits.
  • Put something in someone’s drink (such as drugs or more alcohol) without their knowledge or consent.
  • Start feeling people up when you’re breaking it down on the dance floor, unless they have consented to it.
  • Keep harassing someone who has already indicated they are not interested in you. They are not playing hard to get. Leave them alone.
  • Remove other people’s clothes without their consent.
  • Go to the bar, find the most intoxicated person, and try to take them home.
  • Slap or grab other people’s butts/bodies without their consent.­­­­­­
  • Send drunk texts, Facebook messages or Snapchats with pictures of your naked body or another person’s naked body, without getting consent. That includes your partner(s)!
  • Assume that just because someone is giving you their attention, they also want to have sex with you.
  • Engage in sexual activity with people who are sleeping, passed out, incoherent, staggering, resisting, not aware of their environment, or are unable to verbalize their consent.
  • Engage in sexual activity with people who have explicitly said or implied “no,” “not tonight,” “stop,” “later,” are silent, crying, or fighting back.
  • Continue to engage in sexual activity with someone who once consented, but has since changed their mind.

Some of the ‘don’ts’ included in this list are examples of sexual assault. All are examples of sexually violent behavior, and are just plain wrong. Doing stuff like this creates an unsafe environment for everyone, increases the likelihood that you have, or will have committed a CRIME, and makes you look like a pretty terrible person to everyone else in the room. It’s pretty simple. If you want to have sex, find someone sober who also wants to have sex with you.

Additionally, when you see sexual assault or harassment taking place speak up or get help! Information for Bystanders – Equity Services

If you have been sexually assaulted, it is important to remember that it is NEVER your fault. The responsibility is on the person who commits the sexual assault. For support, or more information about sexual assault and sexual harassment, you can check out the website for Carleton’s Sexual Assault Support Services.

It happens more than you think!

And just in case the importance of this message isn’t coming across, here are some statistics describing the prevalence of sexual assault in Canada.

infographic depicting Sexual Assault facts

If you are having trouble viewing this infographic, please click here for a plain text version.

If you choose to drink, do so safely. If you choose to drink and try to pick up, remember that consent from the other person(s) must be sober, ongoing and enthusiastic! We all need to do our part to ensure Carleton is a safe, respectful and consent-informed campus.

Cheers!