Sexual assault has been spiking since the reopening of bars. An interview with Amaryllis De Bast shows how common people deal with these kinds of incidents. She talks about being drugged at a student party. On the 7th of November, the Vrijdagsmarkt in Ghent was filled with people protesting about rape culture.
After the two incidents in Ghent, around 600 people walked the street to speak up about sexual assault. The first incident happened on the 24th of October but both the incidents are being investigated by the prosecutor of East Flanders. With a possible numbing drug her drink, a woman was in the Coyendanspark. She was most likely raped. The other woman had been sexually assaulted at the café Elixir. The two events caused an uproar in Ghent and got people to raise their voices about rape culture.
On the 8th, the city of Ghent announced that they will be speaking to police, the bars, and the organisation behind the Ghent contact point for sexual violence. However, the issue is not only confined to Ghent. Since the first of October clubs have reopened and sexual assault has spiked once again. Amaryllis De Bast talks about one of her experiences of being drugged in Mechelen.
A terrifying experience
On Monday the 25th, student organization Intermedia threw a party. With her class, she went to the TD before the holiday break. She talks about how it was fun at first, cozy, and not too big. ‘Around three, I couldn’t get a sip down. Which isn’t normal for me. I really know my limits with drinking. I wasn’t even drunk. We went to sit outside so we could smoke. My friends were asking me if I was fine because I looked really pale. I told them I feeling very nauseous’, says Amaryllis. ‘My friends took me to the bushes so I had an opportunity to throw up, even though I had never thrown up from alcohol. Before I knew it, I tried to double over to throw up but fell face down. My legs could not hold me anymore. I never felt like this before.’ Amaryllis mentions how the experience was very odd.
‘I couldn’t move my legs. My head wanted me to move, but my body wouldn’t work’
Her friends were also confused as she never behaved like this, even with alcohol in her system. After that, Amaryllis and her friends tried to go to their dorms, however, she could not even stand straight without collapsing. She kept losing consciousness while vomiting. ‘I couldn’t move my legs. My head wanted me to move, but my body wouldn’t work. My friends basically dragged me to my dorm.’
The next day she woke up still feeling nauseous even after sleeping for twelve hours straight. When her friends mentioned being drugged, she first laughed it off because she could not imagine it happening to her. She’s always very careful and it being a student café she never thought it would be possible. The next day, Intermedia reached out to her, telling her that a couple of other girls had the same symptoms as her after being drugged. It was then that she realised what had happened. Besides her anxiety about drinking at a party now, her anger behind the situation is clear. ‘Why should we, as women, feel unsafe during partying? Why do we need to look out more just because we are female? Why should a homosexual man look out more just because he’s into men? Why is all of this necessary.’
Not an isolated case
In a matter of hours, 21bis got multiple confessions from girls having similar experiences. Read these confessions on our Instagram page.
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Text: Anke Vandeweyer, final editor: Leilani Duroyaume
Photo: ©Mika Baumeister via Unsplash