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Rape crisis?

By johnboy - 18 February 2007 60

The Rape Crisis Centre considers RiotACT’s young female readers to be scary.

We, in turn, find it a bit scary that the Sunday Times has discovered a crisis in the administration of the rape crisis centre.

“TEENAGE rape victims are being forced to wait months for professional counselling because of the growing number of sexual assaults in the ACT.

The Rape Crisis Centre’s five counsellors are overwhelmed by the number of young women seeking help.”

Just like that, without informing the Minister who funds them at any point, they’ve gone to the Canberra Times with this crisis which has seen young women left without counselling for months now?

And what is this human tsunami of rape victims?

“Statistics show up to six sexual assaults a week are reported to police”

Sooo… six cases a week are backlogging the five counsellors are they?

But wait, that quote was incomplete:

… and the Rape Crisis Centre has seen a 285 per cent increase in calls to its counselling service in the past five years


a) A little hard to see how this five year trend snuck up on them unawares.
b) Aggregate any growth rate over five years and you can come up with a scary sounding number.

It gets even better when the previously unheard of and totally new (not) phenomena of drink spiking gets blamed for the Rape Crisis Center’s administrative inability. To my knowledge the ACT awaits it’s first proven case of drink spiking (rather than getting pissed and wanting to blame something/one else) but when you’ve got your hand out for funding it helps to throw some bogeymen around.

UPDATED: The Register has some statistics on the very small number of “drink spikings” that are actually real.

What’s Your opinion?

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60 Responses to
Rape crisis?
schmerica_ 3:42 pm 18 Feb 07

I sometimes wonder how people get their drinks spiked. You stand at the bar and watch the bartender pour it, then you take it away and drink it before putting leaving the glass to be taken away. If you don’t leave your glass alone and buy your own drinks, you shouldn’t get it spiked… well, in theory anyway.

shauno 3:18 pm 18 Feb 07

I have to totally agree with vg on this issue of drink spiking. In my experience boozing and partying my way around the world the majority of these so called drink spiking incidents are simply a case of to much alcohol drunk. Different types of alcoholic drinks can effect you in different ways. Its not just the alcohol content that affects you its the different types of compounds that make up the drink as well. Just try getting pissed purely on Champagne as compared to Red wine which is different again from white wine or beer. Vodka and Gin have different effects as well.

I’m not saying spiking doesn’t happen because it does but I would say its been way over hyped.

Ive had the experience of waking up not knowing what country I was in hahaha And I didn’t blame that on drink spiking.

schmerica_ 3:11 pm 18 Feb 07

Re: The original article. How far are Schmerica’s comments from what Sheik Hilaly said about fresh meat?

I would say that my comments are quite far from what Sheik Hilaly said. As far as I’m aware, he was talking about women not covering up and not wearing the traditional hijab, whilst walking down the street on a daily basis. I was simply pointing out that Summernats really isn’t an appropriate place to be on a Saturday night, especially wearing little clothing and considering the circumstances and events that go on there.

Here I was thinking that a month down the track that the Summernats topics had faded.

vg 2:26 pm 18 Feb 07

Simmo grow the hell up. Go to Calvary and ask how many people actually get their drinks spiked. Every case is taken on its face value and is investigated appropriately until nothing further can be done. I can unequivocally say that there are significant numbers of matters that are reported as ‘spikings’ but are done moreso because someone is looking for an excuse for their behaviour to explain to someone else (parents, partners etc). Ask someone who actually works with these matters, rather than what the CT will tell you about the ‘epidemic’. Epidemic my ass.

As always this is my personal not professional opinion. If someone feels they have been mocked or not taken seriously they can complain. In 17 years I’ve never had someone accuse me of mocking them or not taking them seriously, and I have spent more time prosecuting offenders than I care to remember. If you are equating my comments with that of the said Sheik I’m sorry, but moronic isn’t a strong enough word to describe that logical leap.

“vg, an incidence of people convictd for an offence, or lack thereof, is in now way necessarily indicative of the incidence of the offence…”.

That may well be correct, but it is an idication of the veracity of someone’s complaint that they take it the whole 9 yards, rather than simply explain their behaviour away that way. It is not an epidemic as some people would care to have you believe.

astrojax 2:11 pm 18 Feb 07

vg, an incidence of people convictd for an offence, or lack thereof, is in now way necessarily indicative of the incidence of the offence…

i’m not purporting to comment on the actual incidence of drink spiking – i merely point to faulty reasoning…

and jb, a five year wait for increased funding is not prima facie a case of misadministration. many good projects across the public sector faulter due to lack of funding simply through maladministration at the government level.

don’t always shoot the messenger… maybe instead invite them in to participate in the discussion?

sim_m_o 2:08 pm 18 Feb 07

The fact that nobody has gone to court for it is entirely inconsequential. It happens, and that’s that. If you go to Calvary and say you have had your drink spiked, they will do tests and let you know if you are just pissed, or if you have unknowingly ingested horse tranquilisers or something.

The reaction to drink spiking, the use of inverted commas suggesting it is all made up is quite interesting. Reassuring to know if vg’s opinions are indicative of the police’s, nothing makes a person feel more comfortable in going to the police than knowing they will be mocked and not taken seriously. Perhaps the “uncovered meat” train of thought, famoulsy used in assigning blame by Taj el-Din al-Hilali has a western equivalent. It seems people think who is to blame for drink spiking, the person who spikes the drink, or the person who leaves the drink uncovered?

johnboy 1:50 pm 18 Feb 07

the girl last year was drugged by a person she knew as I recall it.

I’m not questioning the need for a rape crisis centre, not questioning that it needs to be properly funded. I have no personal knowledge of the quality of the work they do.

But if it is true that rape victims are waiting months to receive any counselling at all, and if that is the result of a five year trend, then that’s a problem with the centre’s administration.

Similarly our own experience of their media tactics combined with the distorted statistics used here (note: no mention of the actual hard numbers of calls being made on the counselling service, curious no?), and the canard of drink spiking being raised, makes me deeply suspicious of what they’re up to.

Surely no-one is suggesting that simply because a service is crucial its administration will at all times be beyond reproach?

Therefore it is crucial for discussion of that administration to remain within the pale, or as sure as night follows day it will get rotten and won’t get fixed.

If the paid administration of the centre can’t fill in the right paperwork to get into the Minister’s statistics then surely it’s time for new administration?

vg 1:21 pm 18 Feb 07

And I’m not being insensitive. The RCC provides a vital service. I’m only talking about the ‘epidemic’ of drink spiking

vg 1:09 pm 18 Feb 07

When was the last time you saw or heard of anyone going to Court in the ACT for ‘spiking’ someone’s drink. I can’t recall any

emd 1:06 pm 18 Feb 07

a) Wasn’t there a big story last year about a 16 year old girl who was raped after a drink spiking incident, and then locked up in the same police centre as the offender (because she had outstanding warrants)? Can’t remember when it was, but I would be truly shocked if there were NO verified cases of drink spiking in this town.

b) It is entirely possible that one RCC counsellor spoke out of turn to a journalist, and CT decided it was just too easy NOT to print a story based on it.

c) Just because Katy says nobody’s complained, doesn’t mean nobody’s complained. I can give you plenty of examples of “nobody’s complained” meaning “nobody’s filled in the official complaint form and lodged it at the designated office”.

d) The numbers in CT’s story make no sense to me. That doesn’t mean RCC are administratively incompetent, it more likely means CT journalists can’t count or be bothered doing proper research.

e) loadedog is right, you’re picking on RCC unjustly based on one CT article that’s obviously poorly written. And it really does come across as being driven by spite on your part.

seepi 12:45 pm 18 Feb 07

i support any funding increase required, theseervices are

johnboy 12:23 pm 18 Feb 07

Anyone using dubious media tactics to engender a sense of crisis is fair game IMHO.

If they had previously informed the minister of the problem then we assume they’ll now release that correspondence and I will happily apologise.

But I very much doubt even Katy is silly enough to lie about something that can so easily be checked up on.

Experience teaches us that featuring as the Sunday Times lead beat up is indicative of being bullshit, if not conclusive.

astrojax 12:15 pm 18 Feb 07

sorry jb, but loadedog has rightly taken you to task; the rcc may be ‘a group seeking a funding hike’ and they may or may not have reasons to pursue what you take to be something you call a ‘media ambush’ [what exactly is this?] but rcc isn’t a target for such lowest common demoninator venting, old chap.

sugggest you call a counsellor… ; )

johnboy 11:39 am 18 Feb 07

heaven forfend anyone ever questions a media ambush by a group seeking a funding hike.

loadedog 11:36 am 18 Feb 07

Re: The original article. How far are Schmerica’s comments from what Sheik Hilaly said about fresh meat? Debate?

Re: The above. How long do you think it takes to counsel a woman who has been raped, John? A week? Six new cases are added to an ongoing case load.

I find this attack of yours on the RCC one of your lowest acts so far my friend, full of assumptions (including taking a Minister’s words as gospel) and apparently motivated by spite.


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