SAVANNAH, GA- New Year’s Eve means thousands of people are hitting the bars to celebrate. News 3 spoke with the Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire about the risk of someone letting their guard down.
“This is a time where individuals, inhibitions are lower, and they’re more vulnerable, and they become vulnerable to individuals who are looking for an opportunity to commit this crime,” said Kesha Gibson-Carter, Director of the Rape Crisis Center.
According to Carter, more than 50% of rape and sexual assault cases involve alcohol. On big party nights such as New Year’s Eve, the director advises people to stay hyper aware of their surroundings.
“We, of course, want individuals to enjoy themselves and have a great time, but we recommend that individuals will be cognizant of their environment. Know your environment, know where you are and who you’re with,” she said.
Bar and liquor establishments, such as Wet Willies on River Street, say they will be monitoring their environments as well.
“For those who think they can take advantage of people, not only are we watching to prevent it, but there are between 20 and 30 cameras in each of our locations, and you will be caught,” said William Dickinson, the CEO of Wet Willies.
Although Dickinson says bartenders will be keeping a lookout, he urges folks not to let their drinks out of their sight.
“A lot of times, [bartenders will] pull your drink away and set it aside until you come back, and people say, ‘why did you do that?’ ‘Because you shouldn’t leave your drink any more than your purse.'”
Dickinson also told News 3, “sometimes you have to cut people off, and they’re not happy, but better safe than happy.”
Here are some other safety tips from the RCC:
- Stick with your friends.
- Make a plan before you go out. Set up checkpoints or code words to make it easy for you and your friends to stay connected.
- Hold on to your drink—even when you go to the bathroom.
- If your drink is out of your sight, even for a few seconds, get a new one. Spiking a drink with a date rape drug can happen quickly.
- Don’t accept a drink from anyone—unless you can watch the bartender pour it.
- Don’t share drinks.
- Don’t drink from punch bowls or open containers.
- Don’t drink anything that tastes strange.
- Avoid clubs or parties that charge men but let women enter and drink for free.
- Always keep your cell phone charged and on you. You never know when you’ll need it.
- Make sure you always have a ride home or a plan to walk home with a friend or roommate.
- Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right to you, leave and get to a safe place immediately.
- Think twice about what you put on Facebook and other social media outlets—everyone does not need to know where you are or plan on going.
- If you plan on drinking, drink responsibly.