Police, NOW warn women about possible date rape

Barbados Today:-The Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) has joined the woman’s advocacy group, the National Organization of Women (NOW), in issuing a strong warning to women and girls who take to the party scenes or entertainment events across the island to be on the lookout for potential rapists.

The warnings came in the wake of reports of date rapes and sexual assaults of young women who have been served with a drug-laced ice, which is undetectable when placed in drinks.

A voice note which is making the rounds on social media claims that some bartenders either put this special ice in women’s drinks or men pay lots of money to do so themselves.

Clearly recorded by a female, the note claimed it was impossible to spot ice laced with drugs.

In light of this report, NOW today issued a statement – which police spokesman Acting Inspector Roland Cobbler endorsed – urging women to be extremely vigilant.

“The National Organization of Women, in light of unreported, but verifiable accounts of exploitation of young women around party scenes, is urging women to be extremely vigilant. The National Organization of Women decries the use of any, and all date rape and other types of drugs to coerce women into sexual activity,” NOW’s Pubic Relations Officer Marsha Hinds-Layne said in the statement.

Hinds-Layne said because of the “totally reprehensible” nature of these crimes her organization was compelled to encourage women “to lime or party in groups, to consume only self-approved drinks and to always travel with at least one group member” as a designated as driver.

“We encourage women to create code words or phrases and establish plans with significant others, or a trusted relative so that, should they feel endangered in any way, they can reach out easily via a prearranged rescue plan,” she continued.

The NOW official also pleaded with underage girls not to force entry into adult clubs, “as this environment could prove a very unsafe and dangerous” one for inexperienced girls.

“We also ask women to be wary of persons who contact them via social media to meet at clubs or entertainment venues.  Be cautious of offers to buy drinks or offers to provide rides homes,” the women’s rights activist said.

NOW is also urging owners of establishments where alcohol is sold and/or consumed to see the protection of women and girls as part of their service.

“The care and protection of women and girls is always best done in partnership,” NOW added.

The RBPR tonight said the Force had yet to receive any official reports on the claims.

However, Cobbler told Barbados TODAY he endorsed all the comments and warnings from the women’s organization.

Emphasizing that rape is a crime, Cobbler said if any reports were made police would immediately launch an investigation.

However, he admitted that the NOW public relations officer had reached out to him asking that lines of communication be opened to discuss such matters.

“We don’t have any official report that has been made to the police about anybody who has reported being raped as a result of date rape drugs. The fact is, persons must take the warning that have been given by the PRO of that organization and be mindful who they go out with and who they take drinks from because at the end of the day there may be persons who might have access to these drugs which can be used to take advantage of persons who might not be aware of what is happening,” Cobbler said.

The police spokesman also made it clear that the women’s advocate did not make any official report about anyone being rape, but had simply issued a warning for women to be careful.

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