Drugged Overseas? Don't Blame the Country

Drugged Overseas? Don’t Blame the Country

A few days ago, an American tourist collapsed outside of a bar in south Bali, claiming she had overdosed on Rohypnol after getting her drink spiked. Her condition allegedly became so critical that she nearly died.

“Fuck you Bali,” the woman declared in an aggressive Facebook post that shifted the blame onto the staff mixing her drinks behind a bar that was under CCTV surveillance. According to her post, she waited the ordeal out with a friend at home, dismissing Balinese hospitals as being incapable of dealing with benzodiazepine poisoning despite the fact that many of them are renowned. The post received a shitload of attention and over 20,000 shares, but has since been removed from Facebook.

Though experiencing such trauma is indeed a travesty and it is outrageous that women continue to be the target of sexual violence, condemning an entire island and making an unsubstantiated supposition against Balinese staff in such a public manner is not cool. Despite the absence of police or medical reports and prior to the release of the CCTV footage, the business’s reputation has been pummelled by vicious verbal bashings from the public, when really, it might easily have been a tourist who spiked the woman’s drink when she left it unattended at the bar.

Several years ago, my sister was drugged in Thailand. Luckily, whoever drugged her did not lay a hand on her, but she suffered an extremely hallucinogenic experience where she almost walked off a cliff. In spite of this incident, she has only ever uttered words of adoration about Thailand and its people, and is aware she could have been drugged anywhere in the world.

In light of a horrific encounter, jumping to conclusions may be justifiable, but attacking a nation or race and pigeonholing it is not. Making gross generalisations in response to the actions of a perverted individual is xenophobic, racist and irrational. Incidents like drink spiking are a sad reality, but they happen everywhere. In fact, the woman’s home country has one of the highest rates of rape crime in the world, whereas Indonesia does not even come close to being in the top 10. Though it’s never the victim’s fault if their drink is spiked, it’s common sense to be watchful of your drinks when you’re out, irrespective of your gender and irrespective of what country you’re in.

Cover by Lee Shaw

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