Bar-going women should put safety above pleasure

6 12 2008

Kara Bertrand
Life Editor, Humber Et Cetera
Published: November 13, 2008

They’re out every Friday and Saturday night, often at the same place in the hope of finally succeeding in their nightly mission. These women can’t be missed. They squeal, shout and embrace almost anyone in their presence. They’re far past the point of inebriation and seem to have lost all account of their actions. All it takes is one night – one moment – when one of these women can be the victim of sexual harassment, rape or worse yet, murder.

Women need to stop portraying themselves as prostitutes or lesbians to please or excite men and learn to control their alcohol intake. I feel guilty saying drunk rape victims are partly to blame for what happens to them, but there has to be a point when a woman puts her own safety before her physical pleasure.

Quite frankly, it’s a sad display to see a normally level-headed woman lose all control, and it happens every weekend. Some will dance on poles or make out with their girlfriends – all to impress whomever is watching them that night. I’m not sure when acting like a lesbian became the norm and it sort of bothers me. That lesbianism excites men baffles me in the first place, but that heterosexual women decide to succumb to this fantasy is even more obscene.

A study published in the December 2003 issue of the Journal of Interpersonal Violence suggested that women who engage in certain behaviour at certain bars are “more likely to experience bar-related aggression.” This behaviour might include alcohol consumption, leaving the bar with strangers and even non-verbal communication.

Research by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health showed women are more vulnerable to alcohol abuse than men, as women who are drinking have higher concentrations of alcohol in their blood. Consequently a woman ends up drunk faster then a man, often forgetting her inhibitions at the door.

Women need to be especially concerned of this since sexual assaults are on the rise. Toronto Police Service states that 895 sexual assaults were reported from January to August 2008, compared to a total of 944 in all of 2007. According to Stats Can, there were 546,000 sexual assaults in Canada in 2004, with young women between the ages of 15 and 24 being most at risk.

For women who think sexual assault is rare, think again. These statistics are based on only eight per cent of women – the rest are not reporting sexual assault incidents for reasons of fear or embarrassment.

Such statistics should be a rude awakening for women who frequent bars and parties. Women need to be more aware of how to prevent becoming a victim of a sexual assault. Common sense will say to keep your friends nearby, with having at least one sober; never leave your drink unattended; and watch your alcohol consumption. All these precautions will certainly make the next day easier to handle.

Twenty-first century women should be proud to be who they are before they set foot in the bar, without having to pretend to be something they’re not.