Drink spiking in gay venues on Oxford Street appears to be on the rise, with an increase in reports of gay men being drugged, then sexually assaulted or robbed.
Somali Cerise from the Lesbian And Gay Anti-Violence Project (AVP) said that in the past few months she has seen a couple of cases of drug-assisted sexual assault or robbery each week.
Some victims reported they had their drinks spiked without their knowledge, then were taken back to their own house and sexually assaulted or robbed, Cerise said. In other cases victims have accepted unknown drugs from someone they had just met before being assaulted.
And it isn’t always gay men who are administering the drugs. We’ve heard of cases where straight men have gone into gay bars and said they’re gay, then drugged someone and stolen their stuff, Cerise said.
Annie Crowe, from the Eastern and Central Sexual Assault Service at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, said there had been an increase in the number of gay male victims coming forward. She said in the past year the service had seen approximately 40 gay men who had been sexually assaulted after having their drinks spiked.
Crowe said the drugs used were usually Rohypnol, GHB and K. These drugs are chosen because they have an anaesthetic effect. The person under the influence of these drugs feels very uninhibited and may leave with the person and wake up the next morning and not remember anything, but feeling they’ve been sexually assaulted, she said.
Crowe said she had also seen an increase in men being drugged and sexually assaulted after meeting on internet chat rooms.
The AVP advises people to make sure their drinks aren’t left unattended, and if you do pick someone up tell them you have a flatmate even if you don’t. Tell your friends if you’ve taken something and who you’re going home with.
Contact the AVP on 9206 2116, the Eastern And Central Sexual Assault Service at RPA on 9515 3680, or the Surry Hills Police Gay And Lesbian Liaison Officer on 9285 3827.