From fancy dinners to bars to house parties, drinking alcohol is common in social situations. However, alcohol can severely impair our motor skills, memory, decision-making, and ability to determine whether or not we are in a dangerous situation. In addition, perpetrators of sexual violence can use alcohol to coerce or trap their victims. If you are drinking, follow these tips to stay safe throughout the night.
#1: Plan and Count Your Drinks
Alcohol affects all of our bodies in different ways. Before you go out to drink, it is important to know what your limits are and how many drinks you can consume safely before you become too intoxicated. Plan out what and how much you will drink before you go, and hold yourself to that limit during the night. Remember to count your drinks so that you do not lose track of what you have.
#2: Don’t Drink on an Empty Stomach
Many factors can influence how alcohol affects us — including what we eat before and after we drink. If we drink on an empty stomach, the alcohol can enter our bloodstream at a faster rate. This causes us to feel intoxicated more quickly. Even if we plan our drinks ahead of time and think we know our limits, drinking our usual amount on an empty stomach can be dangerous.
Before you go out to drink, make sure you enjoy a filling, nutrient-rich meal beforehand. Fill your plate with fruits, veggies, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates to fuel your body and slow down alcohol absorption.
#3: Stay Safe with Your Group
If you are drinking with a group of friends, go to the event together, keep an eye on each other during the night, and leave together as a group. Check in with each other throughout the event to ensure that no one is too intoxicated or in any danger. If you plan to leave early, make it a rule to check in with the group before you go.
In dangerous situations, create a code word that you can say or text each other to alert other group members to the emergency. If you see someone in your group in a risky situation, such as someone trying to lure him or her in another room while he or she is heavily intoxicated, don’t be afraid to step in and intervene.
#4: Plan a Safe Trip Home
If you are in a group of people, plan your trip home and hold each other accountable to that plan. Appoint one person as a sober monitor or designated driver, and have him or her drive you to the event and home afterwards.
Using a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft is also much safer in a group. Never ride in an Uber or Lyft by yourself while intoxicated and heading home after a long night — ask a friend to come with you and spend the night, or ride with the group you came to the event with.
If you have no other choice but to take a rideshare by yourself, act with extreme caution. Verify that you are entering the correct vehicle with the details in the app before you climb inside. Sit in the backseat of the vehicle to separate yourself from the driver. Share your trip details with a trusted loved one and let him or her know when you arrive home safely.
Alcohol is never the cause of sexual assault — but many perpetrators use it to their advantage, often by encouraging their victims to drink in excessive amounts or slipping dangerous drug into their drinks. If you are the survivor of sexual assault and alcohol was involved, you may need extra support to help prove your case and defend yourself against blame.
In these situations, hiring a sexual assault attorney can help. Your lawyer will understand the intricacies and complexities of assault, especially assault involving alcohol use, and can help guide you through your legal options depending on the circumstances of your case. Your Lyft sexual assault lawyer can also help you file necessary paperwork, direct you to resources for survivors, and guide you through the civil and criminal court processes.