January 2023
Sexual Health
Hedda Fay

Dangers of Stepping Out

You Want a Designated Sober Person in Your Squad

We do a lot of outreach events here at Northland Cares. We get asked all sorts of questions and hear what’s happening locally.

Sadly, we’ve heard that people are being drugged against their will at local establishments. Recently we were testing some younger people, and one told us that she and some friends had gone out and one of them was injected with an unknown substance, from behind. They had to take her out of the place as she had begun to lose consciousness and her ability to function independently.

Please understand there are predatory people in our community. Some of them will ask you out for a date, try to engage you in a rapport, and have a nefarious agenda simultaneously. People are still drugging beverages, food and now, apparently, injecting people from behind with foreign substances to take control.

When going out for a night, have a designated sober person. You know a friend who can keep an eye on your group. With the rise of Uber there are not as many designated drivers available, who traditionally filled the group’s “sober one” role. It’s still imperative to have someone in your group maintain all their faculties on a night out. They can be your sentry to monitor what’s happening, watch the drinks and people around you.

This is a crime. If you are drugged without consent or prior knowledge, or injected with anything, it is a crime and you are not at fault! I repeat: you are not at fault! Imagine that I’m yelling this to you in all caps. I wish I could scream it from the rooftops.

Having a designated sober person is not the only answer. This is not just happening to females in our community, it’s happening to males, too. For you men out there, if this happens to you, it is also a crime and not your fault! I understand that after waking up foggy-headed, unsure of what transpired the previous evening and suspecting that they may have been violated, many people don’t want to say anything.

Do you need to have genital, rectal or other bodily trauma to have been violated? No. You may have been in such a relaxed state that your own inability to physically react made it less likely for you to have injuries.

The substances used to gain control of a person’s body can be odorless, colorless and tasteless. Some may change the color of a light-colored drink to a light-blue hue, others act quickly and the person drinking will most likely not know.

If something like this happens to you or a friend, it’s important to get help immediately after the incident. Do not sit and negotiate with yourself if something transpires, what happened, etc. You woke up with little or no recollection of the previous evening, and did not consume that much alcohol.

There are many resources to address this situation. The people at the Yavapai Family Advocacy Center have counselors and medical staff who can perform a Sexual Assault Nurses Examination (SANE). These can take an hour or more depending on what they find. The nurses are trained to collect DNA evidence to help in the prosecution of people who commit these crimes. The people at YFAC can assist you in filing a police report. These officers understand that you may have little or fragmented information. They are also interested in removing these predatory people from the public sphere.

You can also call us here at Northland Cares. We can get you started immediately on PEP medications. Post-exposure prophylaxis will prevent you from becoming HIV-positive following direct or potential exposure to HIV.  We can also assist you in filing a report with law enforcement and getting services scheduled at YFAC. SANE exams can be conducted several days after the incident.

If in doubt, call for help. You will not be judged or discriminated against. If you are a sex worker, or by necessity you trade intimacy for money or a place to stay, and something like this happens to you, understand that it is a crime. You have the right to have control your own body. You have the right to decide what form of intimacy you are willing to exchange. I am not advocating for sex work; it is a dangerous job that is presently criminalized. Sex workers can be victims of drugging and abuse as well.

If something like this happens, please call:

YFAC: 928-775-0669.

Northland Cares: Prescott 928-776-4612, Cottonwood 928-649-0833

Be careful out there. When going out, take a friend, or two.

This is Hedda Fay telling you that we have predators in our community, so be careful in public.

Hedda Fay, the Community Outreach and Program Manager of Northland Cares, answers your questions about sex and sexual health.