We wish all our readers and supporters a very merry Christmas and a very happy new year, we would also like you to stay safe during the season to be merry. We have collated some of the best advice available and link to appropriate support groups that can offer advice and assistance.
As the number of people out partying increases at this time of year, it stands to reason that there is a risk of an increase in hate incidents including homophobic and transphobic incidents and crimes. It is vital that these incidents are reported no how trivial they may seem, even if only to help map the geographic location and demographics of the perpetrators – this will help channel resources to target the problem.
Here are some tips to follow if you are out and about.
- Stay alert – awareness is your best defence.
- Leave venues with friends wherever possible.
- Try to stay in well-lit areas.
- Be confident – even if you don’t feel it.
- Travel as if you know where you are going.
- Take the most direct route and try to stay within areas where other people are around.
- Trust your instincts – if you think something is wrong then act on it.
- Have your keys available when you reach your home or car.
- Keep money for taxis – the expense is worth it.
- Carry a personal alarm and use it when necessary
Plymouth Police are encouraging party goers to be more vigilant and stay safe during the festive season particularly women drinkers who are at increased risk of sexual assault and rape.
Det Insp Mike Cooper said in an interview published in the Herald:
“It’s far more likely that a woman falls victim to a man who is also out in clubland, who is looking for a woman who is vulnerable, in drink, separated from her friends. This time of year we have more parties, more drinking, more celebrating. It’s the season to be merry.
“What we are warning is don’t put yourself at risk of being a victim of a sexual assault, or of being accused of committing a sexual assault, because of alcohol.“
View the full article on the thisisplymouth website
Whilst the article focuses on women the risk are very similar for members of the LGBT communities out enjoying the vibrant night life in the city. It is also a complete myth that only women are raped - the fact is Men can be, and are, raped and sexually assaulted. Male rape is also not confined to homosexual relationships. Sexual assault is an act of violence, it’s about power, control or domination of another person, rather than a sexual attraction to one specific gender. Research indicates that the majority of sexual offences committed on men are carried out by heterosexual men.
Preventing drink spiking
If your drink has been spiked, it is unlikely that you will be able to see, taste or smell the new substance, so it is important to try to prevent it.
Follow the guidelines below to help lower the risk of having your drink spiked, and to help you stay safe when you are out.
- Keep your drink in your hand instead of on a surface.
- Consider sticking to bottled drinks and holding your thumb over the opening between sips.
- Keep an eye on your friends’ drinks.
- Never leave your drink unattended.
- Never accept a drink from anyone you don’t know or trust.
- Don’t share or exchange drinks, or drink leftover drinks.
- When possible, drink from a bottle rather than a glass because it is more difficult to spike a drink in a bottle.
- Stay away from situations that you do not feel comfortable with.
- If you go on a date with someone you don’t know, tell a friend or relative where you will be and what time you will be back.
- Don’t give away too much information to anyone you have just met, such as your address.
- Don’t show off expensive equipment, such as mobile phones or MP3 players, as you may attract unwanted attention.
- Remember that if you have already been drinking you will be more vulnerable, because alcohol dulls your instincts and your awareness of danger.
If you think that your drink has been tampered with, don’t drink it. Tell the management or security staff of the club or pub immediately.
All date rape drugs are particularly dangerous when mixed with alcohol because they combine to have a very powerful anaesthetic effect. This can cause unconsciousness and, in more extreme cases, it can cause coma or even death.
Who to Contact if you if you believe you have been sexually assaulted
Twelves Company is a registered charity and the lead agency for the Plymouth Sexual Assault Referral Centre. Our expert team has over 80 years combined experience providing high quality support to men, women, children and young people who have been affected by rape and serious sexual assault.
Twelves Company acknowledges all forms of sexual violence including; rape, sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, rape in marriage, female genital mutilation, trafficking, sexual exploitation and ritual abuse irrespective of whether the violence is from known or unknown perpetrators or how long ago the abuse happened.
If you are in or you witness someone that is in immediate danger of violence or sexual assault then do not hesitate to dial 999 and ask for the Police.
To retrospectively report an incident or non emergency dial 101 or use the
BROKEN RAINBOW UK is the only National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline providing confidential support to all members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) communities, their family and friends, and agencies supporting them.