Preventing date rape

The Ontario government has recently announced their proposed legislation targeted at preventing date rape by making it legal to take drinks into bar bathrooms. The bill aims to prevent the administration of date rape drugs on unsuspecting victims.

As reported in The Globe and Mail, Government Services Minister Gerry Phillips said “Patrons will never have to leave their drink unattended and risk someone slipping them drugs or otherwise tainting their beverage.”

The proposed bill recognizes that date rape is still very much an issue in Ontario, especially among the student-aged population. Allowing women to bring their drinks with them throughout the entire bar will give them the ability to keep an eye on any suspicious substances entering their beverage.

However, there has been some mixed reaction to the proposed law. There is concern that it will place the burden and responsibility of sexual assault on women. While that argument does bear some merit, this new law cannot be seen as anything but a positive step forward. The law (which is already in place in other provinces such as Alberta and British Columbia) simply gives women the ability to protect their own drink. It gives women the choice to do what they wish with their glass, rather than forcing them to leave it unattended when nature calls.

While it does not address the larger issue or root causes of sexually motivated violence against women, it is certainly a worthwhile attempt to improve safety in bars. Other hurdles that will arise, if it goes through, are difficulties for bars who would need to license stairwells and hallways in order to actually put the law into place. The Queen’s Pub, for instance, comes to mind.

It’s important that students are not ignorant--date rape does happen. It’s unfortunate but true; women need to watch their drinks, not just at bars and clubs, but at house parties as well. Although it may be a hassle to find a place to put your drink while in the washroom, the consequences of having to leave a drink outside without supervision is much greater.

It’s nice to see that the Rape/Aggression Defense courses offered by Campus Security are all filled up for the rest of the dates in October and November. Hopefully, this free course will continue in the future and other female students can take advantage of this useful self-defense program so they are able to better protect themselves--in any situation.

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