We’ve been dorm shopping for about six months now.
My daughter has had a thorough list that we have methodically gone through, purchasing the items and crossing them off, one by one.
But there’s one item we didn’t put on our list:
A little gadget to test if your drink has been roofied.
It can even interface with a smartphone and sometimes identify the exact drug that has been used.
It sounds like a great idea, right?
In theory, it absolutely does. But I don’t know. There’s just something wrong with it.
It’s nice that there’s a tool available to try and keep my daughter safe. But it also sucks that such a thing even needed to be invented. It’s kind of how my youngest daughter feels about feminism. Sure she’s glad it exists but hates that it even needs to.
But we are living in the culture we are living in and apparently it’s a culture where girls are routinely drugged and sexually assaulted—especially on college campuses.
I’ve talked to both of my daughters about this. Given them instructions to never ever leave drinks unattended, to get their own drinks, avoid punchbowls, never leave a friend behind at a party or get left behind themselves. Even needing to give them those kinds of rules left me frustrated—frustrated that I basically need to teach my daughters how to hopefully avoid being raped.
So, now there’s this little gadget that looks like a slim flash drive that she can dip into her drink and it will scan the contents, alerting her if it’s been drugged.
Perfect, right? Handy. Reliable. A little extra security as I send her off into the world.
When exactly does she whip it out?
Only when she suspects a boy has tampered with her drink? It’s rarely the boys we suspect so does that mean she must be suspicious of all boys?
Only when she accidentally leaves her drink unattended?
Does she test the drink in front of the boy? (If she’s genuinely concerned then she absolutely should go ahead and have that awkward moment of saying, “Excuse me just a sec whiIe I check to see if you’ve drugged me in order to rape me later.” She should, but would she?)
And if it tests positive, then what? She calls the police? Alerts school officials?
So many logistical questions come up.
But not only that.
There’s a fine balance between being safe and being paranoid.
Do I want her to careful as she ventures out into a world that is legitimately fraught with dangers especially for young women? Of course I do.
But do I want her to be afraid each time she meets a new boy or goes to a party? No.
Careful and vigilant, yes. Fearful and paranoid, not so much.
And I’m still not sure on which side this little gadget falls.
Maybe I’m being naive or in some sort of denial along the lines of “Not my daughter.”
I haven’t bought one yet. But that’s not to say that I won’t in the future.
Hopefully, it won’t be too late.
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Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Jason Scragz via Flickr