Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Problems in the Drunk Tank

This BBC report is about a centre in London that deals with people who've drunk too much in an attempt to ease the burden on hospitals. It's not entirely clear whether the point is that since symptoms are similar there's an efficiency improvement or whether it's just accepted these days that if you somehow "brought your illness on yourself"* you deserve substandard treatment. Looking at the "beds" - thin mattresses on the floor in mixed sex overcrowded rooms, I'd guess the latter.

In the video a male medic says that the women are "leaving themselves vulnerable to sexual or physical attack" and that such attacks "needn't have happened". He fails to use the phrase "men should stop attacking women who are drunk" or the phrase "we take all reports of sexual assault seriously regardless of how much the woman has drunk". Then a female medic says "they say 'I've been spiked' and I say - no, it's the alcohol". Surely what she should say is "we'll perform a full set of tests and store the results in case they're needed in a criminal prosecution"?

This is on Newsbeat by the way - aimed at young people. Hey kids! If you drink too much alcohol and get raped, it's your fault and if you don't drink too much (or even any) alcohol and get spiked and raped, we'll assume you drank too much alcohol and blame you anyway.

Talk about irresponsible journalism. Oh and irresponsible behaviour on the part of medical professionals too... Ugh.

*Footnote: not withstanding that alcohol addiction is an illness so it's not actually reasonable to blame people for suffering from it.


Kate Treacy said...

I had a horrible experience where my symptoms suggested my drink had been spiked but because I had been drinking a little, I was refused a test.

(I collapsed very suddenly at exactly the same time as a friend - we had both been served our final drink by the same guy; lost the use of my legs and speech; I have no recall of what happened to me)

Luckily, my boyfriend was also at the party. He found me and took me hospital. He begged the medical team to test for date rape drugs but they refused. I was denied the right to understand what exactly had happened to me because I was judged as an irresponsible young woman. And I suspect the reaction would have been no different if I hadn't come through the experience without harm.

I've also had to suffer years of hypocritical judgment from male friends who witnessed me being carried out of the building. Their remarks are cruel and infuriating but I have been denied the right of a proper explanation.

Cruella said...

How awful Kate. And a very interesting point about the reaction from your male "friends" - something really creepy about them delighting in you being unwell. I mean even if you had drunk 19 pints - so what - you're ill, they should be sympathetic...