… And 35.4% of statistics are made up on the spot

I’m having a big blog-reading session tonight. It’s not going well.
Or rather, it’s going too well. For Rachel is grumpy now. And when Rachel gets grumpy, bad things happen. And she starts referring to herself in the third person. (Until she gets angry, anyway, in which case she will be too busy yelling at you to be bothered with referring to herself, or until she gets livid, in which case she won’t talk at all, in case she spontaneously combusts)

Anyway, I came across a post about a study done about women who’d claimed to have their drinks spiked. You need to read this.
By the way, you might want to remember that the source is the Daily Mail.
Ugh. I feel I have sullied my blog. My grandmother reads it religiously (more religiously, in fact, than she reads the bible, although she is a fairly believing Christian) and when she still lived at home, she was afraid to leave it, or indeed to talk to anybody who wasn’t an obviously harmless young woman. Considering the number of scare articles about the way “yobs” are taking over the world, and specifically your street, right there, yes, twitch your curtains just to check, I’m not surprised.

Anyway, so we can ignore it on that basis. Or we can ignore it because the study seems to be pointless, self-satisfying and generally foolish.

But some of the stuff in that article scared me.

Like the implication that women are lying about feeling they have had their drink spiked.

Well, you know what? Just because they haven’t tested positive for the “date rape” drugs, that doesn’t mean their drinks haven’t been spiked.
The article commented that “although all the patients denied taking drugs such as cocaine and amphetamine, one fifth tested positive”. Well, you could leap to the conclusion that they were all lying druggies. Or you might say that while some may well have knowingly taken those drugs, others may have taken them unknowingly. Is that such a test of your logic? And besides, what is this, guilty until proven innocent?
And what if they’d just been given more alcohol? What if they’d been given doubles when they’d asked for singles? What then? Were they lying when they said they felt their drinks had been spiked?
When they felt that they just shouldn’t react that way to the amount of alcohol they thought they’d consumed?

I’m getting angry. I’m about to stop, before I start really growling.

But before I carry on my forray into blogland, I want to say two things.
One: I expect anybody who feels like commenting to respect that what I say next is very personal for me, and I feel very, very strongly about it. To be blunt – If you don’t like what I say, or if you don’t agree with it, you can just fuck off. I don’t give a crap about whether you understand, or whether you’ll never listen to another one of my arguments ever again, or you’ll laugh at my expense about this the next time you’re in the pub, or whatever. This post isn’t a place to start a discussion. If you want one, wait for the next post, where I may once again be willing to listen to you.

Two: one of the reasons I felt strongly enough about this old article in a paper I don’t respect to write about it is because it hit home.

Last year, St. Patrick’s night, I responded positively to a creepy guy. I had decided to go up to london, to see what was going on, wander about, have a drink or two – just revel in the fact that I could. This guy, who called himself Pari, was at the bus stop. He started talking to me, sat next to me on the bus, and for once I didn’t brush him off. I was bored. And it was a challenge, in a way – I kind of wanted to prove to myself that I could handle creepy guys.
So anyway, I went drinking with him. The first bar we went to, we only stayed for one drink. I don’t think he liked the fact that a fair few other men were trying to chat me up. That should have weirded me out, but hey, the night was young….
So we went to a second place, and I reckon I had four drinks all in. Vodka and coke. And he bought them all. Bear in mind, at the time, I was out every friday night at least, and drinking four or five doubles each time. I could hold my drink, reasonably convincingly.
But when we were walking back to the bus stop, I felt more unsteady on my feet than I think I ever have done while drinking.
And other ways I responded to the drink – it just wasn’t right. Not at all. And I was just about scared enough, and sensible enough, not to go back to his – where, he said, we could just carry on drinking, and oh, what a coincidence, he was sure he had both vodka and coke knocking about. I demanded his number on the grounds that he’d think I was interested, and walked a tortuously crazy route home so that he didn’t know where I lived. I was watching out for him following me, too.
What can I say?
At the time, I thought I’d just drunk too much. But since then, I’ve experienced getting to my limit with drink. And I don’t respond to it like that.
I didn’t feel nauseous. There wasn’t the same comedown that I get from alcohol.
What there was was a passiveness that I also never get from alcohol. A loss of muscle control. An inability to stay warm.
Besides, this year, at the Download festival, we had a girl in our camp whose drink we suspected to have been tampered with. Her pupils were all over the place, she was shivering violently and unable to get warm. She looked like I felt, over a year ago, sitting huddled in front of the fire, feeling exhausted but condemned to wakefulness until I could get rid of the numb, icy cold in my body.

I felt ashamed. For a long, long time I felt too ashamed to tell anyone about it. Not my best friends, not my sister, not my boyfriend, who I love and trust with my life, nobody. What you need to understand here is that there are gaps between the lines, so to speak. I haven’t explicitly said what bothered me most about that episode. Because – guess what?! I’m still ashamed.
When it comes to this, I revert to blaming myself. I ask myself why the hell did I even give that guy a chance. I ask why, why I accepted those drinks, when I didn’t see them being poured, when I couldn’t be sure what was in them. I ask why I didn’t get the hell away from him after that first drink. So many questions, because hindsight is a bastard.
But actually, I don’t think it was my fault. And I don’t think that I was mistaken. I simply should not have responded in that manner to the number of drinks I thought I’d had. In fact, I shouldn’t have responded like that no matter how many drinks I’d had, if they were just alcohol.

But I wonder, I really do, what that study would have thought of me.

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2 Comments on “… And 35.4% of statistics are made up on the spot”

  1. Alan says:

    For what it’s worth the original BMJ article here is better written, has passed peer review and is less judgemental than the Daily Mail one.

  2. xxx r. says:

    Thank you 🙂
    I’m glad you’re still alive in blogland
    xxxxx


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