The ‘War Against Drugs’

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As a former police officer in Jersey, and, for several years, a member of the Drugs Squad, I was employed to assist in the detection of crime related to the use, dealing and financing of the illegal drugs trade.

At the beginning of the nineties there were a number of drugs already in use or finding their way onto the streets of our small but affluent island. These included Cannabis resin; Herbal Cannabis (and to a lesser extent, cannabis oil); LSD (Lysergic acid diethyl-amide), an hallucinogenic drug mainly found in paper form (absorbent paper that had been dipped in the drug), decorated with enticing and often amusing pictures and logos (one popular range had a caricature of Saddam Hussein at the time of Operation Desert Storm, the first Gulf War); Speed (amphetamine); Magic Mushrooms (psilocybin – hallucinogenic)  and Ecstasy (MDMA – methylene-dioxy-methamphetamine), the ever popular dance craze (rave) drug. On a smaller scale there were regular seizures of cocaine and heroin.

Then, as now, the street user was entering a lottery whenever they went to purchase from the dealers, especially in respect of Ecstasy, LSD, Cocaine and Heroin. Manufacturers of the illegal drugs would always ‘cut’ the drugs (mix with the pure element of the drug) in an effort to make the actual drug stretch further and thus increasing their profits and those of their backers and importers. This left the user to play Russian roulette with their lives as they were unable to guarantee the strength of the drug that they were taking (more of that later).

Drugs, however, were not a new thing in the nineties; in fact they have been used for millennia, originally legally and more recently, with certain drugs (since the turn of the 20th century), illegally.

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THE DIM AND DISTANT PAST – A POTTED HISTORY

Psilocybin, or ‘magic mushrooms’ were believed to have been found depicted on murals from the African continent, dating from 9,000BC.

Theophastus (371-287BC), the Greek scholar, wrote about the use of opium poppy juice as did the founding fathers of medicine, Hippocrates, Galen and Dioscorides, who claimed that opium (from where you get, among other things, heroin) was in use over 10,000 years ago and opium products were believed to have been modified and refined by the Sumarians in 3,400BC.

In 315AD, in Israel, remains of a pregnant teenage girl were discovered. The body and the ash from it were found to contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient that creates the ‘high’ in Cannabis and likely to have been given to her as a means of pain relief.

In Athens, Greece, the ‘birthplace of democracy’, liberty was valued above all else. Denying the freedom to pursue happiness via the ingestion of drugs would have been unthinkable. Opium was common in classical times and was literally called ‘the juice’. Usage and addiction to opium had no moral stigma. 

Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, brought to life in the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Gladiator’, was an opium addict. Greeks and Romans knew how to get high via countless plants, eg. ivy, daffoldils, mandrake and mushrooms.

marcusaurelius  (left) a likeness, as a bust, of Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius

Despite the dangers of overdose, people from all walks of life used psychoactive drugs. They induced dreams, visions and hallucinations and were seen as an avenue to self knowledge, discovery and creativity. These drugs may have enabled them to envision such radical, revolutionary concepts as democracy. The Greeks favourite method of ingesting drugs was by mixing them with wine.

Source: From ‘You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos’ by Robert Arthur (www.blog.subarra.com) – 16 November, 2009

Often, the above facts have been intentionally ignored and covered up by historians. Recreational drugs have been translated out of classical literature in the same manner as bawdy sexual references were until recent decades.

Sorcerers, witches and magicians’ powers mostly came from their expertise in drugs. They were the ‘classical’ drug dealers of their day. The effects of the drugs were seen as magical and not ‘of this world’. 

Ancient Greek Olympic Athletes took psychedelic mushrooms to give them a competitive edge in a manner that would have given Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics, countless sleepless nights.

 

START OF THE WAR ON DRUGS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ATLANTIC (USA & GB)

United States of America

Sources: The following extracts and information were taken from the book, ‘Chasing the Scream’ by Johann Hari (Bloomsbury Books) – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (available on Amazon)

The ‘war on drugs’ was a phrase coined in the 1930’s and came straight after ‘Prohibition’, the ‘war on alcohol’.

As a twelve year old boy in 1904, Harry Anslinger, believed that there were people who looked and sounded normal but could, at any time, become unhinged if introduced to drugs. Seeing his neighbour’s wife in pain and using the drugs that he had been asked to fetch from the dispensary by the husband, Harry had unwittingly entered his personal ‘war on drugs’. During this time, opiates were commonly used and legal in any American pharmacy including the ingredients for heroin and cocaine. Cough medicine and even the original ingredients for Coca-Cola were made from the coca plant and heroin tins were even sold to members of high society in department stores. (below) Harry Anslinger 

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To sate American society’s fear of countrywide anxiety, it looked for something real that it could destroy and it settled on drugs. In 1914, the resolve was to rid the country of all drugs.

As an adult, Harry Anslinger rose through federal officer ranks to become head of the then, newly formed, Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), based at the Treasury Department in Washington D.C. Anslinger and his squad had been in the thick of policing Prohibition and when that finished and the US had lost that fourteen year battle, he needed a new direction. The emphasis of the squad was now directed at Drug Prohibition. At the time however, many drugs were still legal eg. marijuana. Harry pledged to eradicate all drugs and in the next thirty years, turned the FBN into the global headquarters for a ‘war on drugs’, which is still being waged throughout the world today.

The early years for Anslinger and his team were aimed at dealing with rooting out opiate users, but that brought limited success, so he turned his attention to marijuana.

The Harrison Act of 1914 sought to ban heroin and cocaine but did allow a loophole; that Doctors could legally prescribe those drugs to addicts.

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Many Doctors tried to prove to Anslinger that he was wrong about marijuana and that it had medical properties. However, evidence that ran contrary to Anslinger’s beliefs were disregarded. The spotlight was also pointed firmly at the Jazz scene, where marijuana was a regular bed-fellow among musicians, mainly black, and the people that followed the music.

The main reason for the United States authorities banning drugs was because, in their opinion, “blacks, Mexicans and Chinese were using these chemicals and forgetting ‘their place’ and ‘menacing’ white people.” 

Below is an extract explaining the idea behind the Harrison Act, taken from the website http://www.historyplex.com.

“Passed by Congress in 1914, the Harrison Act, also known as the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, was the first instance to apply criminal laws to the non-medical use of drugs. Its primary purpose was not only to tax and regulate the sale and distribution of drugs, but also their import and production. Under the Act, any person who was related to the production, import, and distribution of opiates and coca products within the United States was liable to be taxed, and had to register themselves with the IRS. It was intended that the records of such transactions would make it easy for the government to monitor the movement of drugs across the country, and confine the use of such substances only to medical uses. It was stated that anyone breaking the law could face fines up to USD 2,000, and an imprisonment of up to 5 years.”

Did You Know?

The applicability of the Harrison Act in prosecuting doctors for prescribing narcotics to addicts was challenged successfully in 1925, in which Justice McReynolds stated that the state has no power to regulate the practice of medicine.

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Once the drugs trade had effectively been criminalised, it was blatantly obvious that criminals were going to step in; people such as Arnold Rothstein, who was a Jewish-American racketeer,businessman and gambler and who became Head of the Jewish mob in New York City, controlled the entire heroin and cocaine trade across the Eastern Seaboard of the USA. As the FBN were harassing and prosecuting Doctors, prescribing legally to addicts, drug distribution was passing from Doctors to criminal like Rothstein. A quote by Johann Hari in the book, ‘Chasing the Scream’ noted that,

“It wasn’t by the Law of nature; it was by political decree” when describing the passing of the drug distribution baton from legal to illegal sources.

rothstein  (left) Arnold Rothstein

Great Britain

The following extract is taken from the Wikipedia page entitled, “Drug Policy of the United Kingdom.”

“Until 1916 drug use was hardly controlled, and widely available opium and coca preparations commonplace.

Between 1916 and 1928 concerns about the use of these drugs by troops on leave from the First World War and then by people associated with the London underworld gave rise to some controls being implemented. The distribution and use of morphine and cocaine, and later cannabis, were criminalised, but these drugs were available to addicts through doctors; this arrangement became known as the “British system” and was confirmed by the report of the Departmental Committee on Morphine and Heroin Addiction (Rolleston Committee) in 1926. The Rolleston Report was followed by “a period of nearly forty years of tranquillity in Britain, known as the Rolleston Era. During this period the medical profession regulated the distribution of licit opioid supplies and the provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Acts of 1920 and 1923 controlled illicit supplies. The medical treatment of dependent drug users was separated from the punishment of unregulated use and supply. This policy on drugs was maintained in Britain, and nowhere else, until the 1960s. Under this policy drug use remained low; there was relatively little recreational use and few dependent users, who were prescribed drugs by their doctors as part of their treatment.

It has been argued that the main legal innovations between 1925 and 1964 were in response to international pressures, not domestic problems.

In the 1960s a few doctors prescribed large amounts of heroin, some of which was diverted into the illegal market. Also substances such as cannabis, amphetamines and LSD started to become significant in the UK.

In 1961 the international Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was introduced. To control global drug trading and use, it banned countries from treating addicts by prescribing illegal substances, allowing only scientific and medical uses of drugs. It was not itself binding on countries, which had to pass their own legislation.

Following pressure from the US, the UK implemented the Drugs (Regulation of Misuse) Act in 1964. Although the Convention dealt with the problems of drug production and trafficking, rather than the punishment of drug users, the 1964 Act introduced criminal penalties for possession by individuals of small amounts of drugs, as well as possession with intent to traffic or deal in drugs. The police were soon given the power to stop and search people for illegal drugs.

In 1971 the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) was passed, continuing measures in previous legislation, and classifying drugs into classes A (the most highly regulated), B, and C. Penalties for trafficking and supply were increased in the 1980s.

In 1991 a new phase of UK drug legislation started with an attempt to integrate health and criminal justice responses via Schedule 1A6 Probation Orders. This reduced the separation between medical and punitive responses that had characterised the British system in the past.”

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MODERN DAY DRUG USE IN JERSEY

It has been twenty-five years since I was medically retired from the Police Force and one year ago, I found myself back in the thick of drug users and dealers as I embarked on a career in the security industry, as a door security supervisor, working in pubs, clubs and at festivals.

I have found that the likes of Heroin and Cocaine are now used by a much wider demographic. Ecstasy has continued to evolve and, while the price of drugs has reduced, the dangers have seemingly increased as manufacturers and dealers look for ever more alarming ways to make a drug go further. The agents that are used to cut the pure drugs are becoming as dangerous as the pure drug itself.  

For example, a popular cutting agent for Cocaine is Benzocaine, a pharmaceutical drug used in dental anaesthetic and throat sprays. It is often used to mask the fact that the ‘cocaine’ sometimes contains little or no actual cocaine. Benzocaine numbs the area, such as when rubbing the drug back and forth over one’s gums, to simulate the effect when done with actual cocaine. Some cocaine is also cut with Levamisole and in 2014, a Government Minister in England claimed that up to 4/5th’s of cocaine in the United Kingdom was cut with what is, in effect, veterinary medicine used to de-worm livestock such as horses and cows. Lidocaine is another cutting agent used because of its numbing qualities.

Benzocaine and Lidocaine can be purchased for as little as £10 per kilo with the resale value of up to £50,000 when cocaine is cut with them.

The strength of Ecstasy tablets can vary greatly. There are lots of strong drugs as well as many fakes out there; everything from high levels of purity down to placebos (none or insignificant amounts of the drug).

Source: Quotes taken from VICEonline – Author: Mike Segalov – http://www.vice.com – 16/09/2015

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(Ecstasy tablets come in many shapes, sizes and colours as well as in any strength)

There is one certainty that cannot be disputed –

You will never be able to prevent drugs from getting into pubs, clubs and festivals as security staff are extremely limited as to how far they can search an individual. While police officers can detain a person for search under the Misuse of Drugs (Jersey) Law and arrest them if found to be in possession for personal use, or in possession with intent to supply (dealer), a registered door security supervisor can only search with the permission of the punter. Obviously if they refuse to be search they are unlikely to gain entry however, if searched, all one can do is search the outer clothing and pockets along with the hair, hands, shoes, and whatever they are carrying eg a bag, handbag, rucksack etc. Pat downs are fine but one must take great care not to touch vulnerable areas like the groin or buttocks. A favourite place to hide drugs, with a view to gaining entry, will be the underwear, as they know we cannot search there. or by stuffing*, plugging* or swallowing* the drugs.

*stuffing relates to females inserting drugs into their vagina; plugging is when drugs are inserted into the anal cavity. Swallowing is self explanatory ie. when small packages of a drug are swallowed and then retrieved when the swallower goes to the toilet. Drugs are normally packed into pellets/bullets made out of condoms or similar. 

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The following stories come from the website http://www.inthemix-junkie.com, in an article written by Jules Lefevre on 26.09.2017

These are some of the dumbest ways that people have tried to bring drugs into festivals.

  • While conducting drug operations at Melbourne’s (Australia) Listen Out Festival in September 2017, Police busted a punter who had allegedly covered his ecstasy tablets in vegemite and cling wrapped them around his penis. He was trying to avoid detection by sniffer dogs but to no avail. Cling wrapping them to your member is increasingly popular, as the user/dealer knows that security staff do not have the right to forage in their underwear.
  • There was a guy who wrote his name and telephone number on his little baggies (small clip top clear bag used for holding drugs) in case someone found it. Doh!
  • There was the man who had every detail of his drug deals written in his phone. When the unfortunate guy’s phone was checked, it was revealed he was in the process of setting up another deal while describing the state of the drugs.
  • Two men were arrested two weeks prior to a festival in Sydney, for allegedly trying to hide drugs on the festival grounds in Olympic Park. They attempted to drill holes in the building so that they could stash them, then collect them when the festival was open.
  • There was a girl who put coffee and pepper up her vagina.  She secreted thirty-seven ecstasy tablets, in a ziplock bag, cling wrapped them and, between each layer, she sprinkled copious amounts of coffee grounds and pepper. She then inserted them. However, all her efforts were in vain as the sniffer dogs still located her stash. 

 

DRUGS AND THEIR EFFECTS

This section will list the drugs available on the open market and the likely symptoms one may experience after taking it/them. It is not an exhaustive list as there are many more illegal drugs out there:

ALCOHOL

The symptoms of alcohol poisoning can be confusion, vomiting, breathing difficulties, irregular or slow heart rate, clammy pale skin, lack of consciousness and a low body temperature.

ECSTASY / XTC / MDMA / MOLLY

A high or extra strong dose can cause high temperature, high blood pressure, faintness, panic attacks, unconsciousness and seizures.

CANNABIS / POT / WEED / HERBAL / SKUNK

High doses or use of Skunk (particularly strong version of cannabis) can cause psychological and mental issues. Problematic people already suffering mental issues. Symptoms of overdose can be panic, extreme anxiety, paranoia, acute psychosis or hallucinations.

COCAINE / CRACK / ICE

Cocaine or Crack Cocaine overdose symptoms are directly related to the drug’s effects on the cardio-vascular system, irregular heart rythym, heart attack, stroke or seizure.

OPIOIDS / HEROIN

An overdose on an opioid drug can be fatal because it can dramatically slow breathing; combining opioids with other drugs such as alcohol or benzodiazapines can put you at an even higher risk of fatal overdose. Look for slowed or stopped breathing, unconsciousness and pinpoint pupils.

LSD / ACID

An overdose of LSD is very rare but a user can still have a bad experience, called a ‘bad trip’. Sometimes a user may end up harming themselves or others. LSD may also trigger mental illness in people that have that predisposition. Symptoms include: sense of extreme panic, feeling detached from one’s body or thoughts, anxiety or combativeness.

MAGIC MUSHROOMS / PSILOCYBIN

Adverse effects from a high dose can cause anxiety, nausea, abnormally high heart rate, high blood pressure, extreme weakness or vertigo as well as a bad trip, similar to LSD.

NEW PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES (NPS) / formerly known as LEGAL HIGHS

Users often have a lack of knowledge of the composition of these substances as there are countless variations of the same branded drug. Many NPS are sold as LSD. The signs and symptoms include agitation, delirium, aggression, paranoia, violence, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, extremely high body temperature.

NOTE:   Some festival goers unknowingly take ‘bath salts’, believing that they are taking MDMA (Ecstasy). Bath Salts are synthetic designer drugs that can be more harmful than MDMA (Methylene-Dioxy-Methamphetamine). The symptoms of Bath Salt overdose can be abnormal heart rate, heart palpitations, muscle spasms/tension, kidney failure, agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, severe sweating. Recent NPS include Mephadrone, Methylone and Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (bath salts), synthetic cannabinoids such as Spice and synthetic hallucinogens such as 251-NBOMe or N-bomb, Salvia, Nitrous Oxide, M-cat, Meow Meow.

Former legal highs (NPS) were made illegal in Jersey on 21st December 2009. They were only made illegal in the United Kingdom on 26th May 2016 under the new Psychoactive Substances Act.

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PHENTANYL / DUROGESIC

This drug is a very strong pain relief substance that usually comes in patch form and is used to reduce chronic pain. Users/Addicts find ways to extract the drug from the patch, often with fatal consequences.

On 1st March 2007, a news release was published by Jersey’s Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Susan Turnbull. `it was a public health alert issued to Jersey Doctors and Pharmacists following the death of up to five people who were believed to have misused the painkilling medicine. Most of the Jersey deaths appear to have been associated with injecting a phentanyl solution using vinegar to extract the active drug from the patches. As well as being potentially lethal, injecting extracted phentanyl can cause abscesses and thrombosis.

 

HOW DO WE WIN THE WAR ON DRUGS?

Governments and Law Enforcement organisations have been fighting the war on drugs, all over the world, since the beginning of the 20th Century. 

Are we close to winning it ?

In my humble opinion; NO, not even close.

In many cases, drugs financiers and top level dealers do not take drugs themselves. They are in it for the riches that the sale of drugs will bring them. They are all preying on the ‘needs’ of the user and addict and the street level dealers that sell to fund their own habit. 

What if there was another way to tackle this ‘WAR’? 

At this juncture, I would like to recommend that people read a book which explains the drugs culture in the UK, the policing of it and how one person’s views were turned on their head after working as an undercover drugs officer for fourteen years. I found this book extremely insightful and had the pleasure to speak to its author Neil Woods (co-written with JS Rafaeli). 

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Neil Woods is not alone in his views on the so called ‘war on drugs’. He is joined by other former and current police officers, medical professionals, prison officers, military personnel and intelligence service operatives among many groups; some of these people are or were high ranking.

Neil is the current Chairman of LEAP UK; LEAP standing for LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTION PARTNERSHIP. On their website www.ukleap.org the Introduction in their press pack states that:

“LEAP UK (Law Enforcement Action Partnership) is the British Branch of the 501(c)3 non-profit, international educational organisation, comprising former and current police officers, members of the intelligence services, military and a range of figures from the criminal justice system who have joined together with civilians to raise awareness to the failed, dangerous and expensive pursuit of a punitive drugs policy.

Our mission is to reduce the multitude of unintended, harmful consequences resulting from fighting the ‘War on Drugs’ and to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime and addiction by ultimately ending drug prohibition. We advocate reform and an evidence based policy with a public health focus, including decriminalisation and nuanced regulatory models for all drugs.”

VOLUNTARY DRUG TESTING – MUSIC FESTIVALS

In 2017 after a trial period the year before, an organisation called THE LOOP, “which provides drug safety testing, welfare and harm reduction services at nightclubs, festivals and other leisure events” were going live on at least six major music festivals offering that “festival-goers will be able to take their drugs to a testing tent run by The Loop, an organisation which usually conducts forensic testing of drugs seized by police. They’ll then tell them what’s in the drugs before destroying whatever was handed over.”  (source: www.wearetheloop.org)

The user is told, when they return after handing over a small sample of their stash, what the strength is (if any) and what’s in it. After that, the ‘user’ will be given a short supportive, non judgemental talk with a drugs counsellor and then they will be fully equipped to make an informed choice as to whether they take those ‘drugs’ or dispose of them. 

Ultimately we are all responsible for what we put into our bodies, but having all the available information out there for people to digest, gives a much more informed view and allows individuals to make personal choices.

 

Websites of Interest

The Loop

LEAP UK

Recommended Reading

GOOD COP, BAD WAR by Neil Woods and JS Rafaeli

DRUG WARS by Neil Woods and JS Rafaeli (JUST RELEASED)

CHASING THE SCREAM by Johann Hari

Introducing ‘Xena’

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Hi, My name is Róisín ‘Xena’ Pitman, a retired police officer from the British Crown Dependency of Jersey.

I am currently the owner/director of Red Zen C.I. Ltd., a security business specialising in door security for public houses, nightclub venues and festivals; private investigations; self protection and awareness courses for women and vulnerable adults, and will soon be offering national qualifications in a number of security based subjects including, door security supervisor, conflict management, physical intervention in the security industry, control and restraint and a number of similar subjects through my affiliation to a well respected security training academy based in the United Kingdom.

During my Police career I spent nearly three years as a member of the Police Drug Squad and also part of a joint DIEU (Drugs Intelligence and Enforcement Unit) with the States of Jersey Customs and Excise department.

Since February 1980, I had been a student of the traditional Japanese martial art of Aikido. As I enter my thirty-ninth year of study, I am the current holder of 6th Dan in Aikido awarded in 2014 by Master Yasuhisa Shioda, Headmaster of the Shioda International Aikido Federation, Japan, son of the founder of Yoshinkan Aikido, Kaiso Gozo Shioda, a style still used today by the Japanese police and many police forces throughout the world. I also hold a Level 6 Instructor’s certificate under Master Shioda. I also hold a 4th Dan in Mushin-Do (Mushinkan Aikido) under the late Master, A. Francis Ramasamy aka Samy, of Pilau Penang, Malaysia.

In 1984, I assisted in the introduction of arrest and restraint classes to the Jersey Police under the late William (Bill) Nelson. In 1987 and for the next twenty years I regularly ran arrest and restraint courses for the Jersey Honorary Police (elected officials in each of the twelve Jersey Parishes – similar to Special Constables but with more power).

In 1987 I started my own Aikido club which is still running today and have taught in Jersey for over thirty years. I have also taught in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia and, as well as specialising in Aikido for the able bodied and disabled, I also specialise in self protection and awareness for women and vulnerable adults.

In 2011 I launched Mukyokan International to oversee the Aikido Clubs that I am associated with in the Channel Islands, United Kingdom, France and Italy.

More recently I have been up-skilling and taking various courses and CPDs (continuing professional development) and now currently have Level 3 in Education and Training, Physical Intervention in the Security Industry, Conflict Management, Control and Restraint and Handcuffing. My training is ongoing as I further my portfolio in the security industry with the aim of completing Level 3 Professional Security Instructor.

I continue to work in door security every weekend.

NB. Why ‘Xena?’

A nickname given to me by the instructor and students in Penang, Malaysia in 2015. Seeing a confident, high ranking martial arts female, someone said that I must be a ‘warrior princess’, then another shouted out, “Yes, like Xena” and the name stuck.

 

Being advised to take personal responsibility for your safety is NOT victim-blaming!

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Being advised to take personal responsibility for your safety is not victim-blaming.

Thirteen months ago a judge in the UK, Lindsey Kushner QC, was castigated for stating the obvious, that “women were entitled to drink themselves into the ground, but their disinhibited behaviour could put them in danger.” (Source – BBC News Online – 11th March 2017)

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, a QC (Queen’s Counsel) herself, countered that, “the female judge’s warning that drunk women were putting themselves at greater risk of rape was victim-blaming.”

Judge Kushner hit back, “I do not think it wrong for a judge to beg women to take actions to protect themselves”. In my view the judge was right, although to some, they insist that this view instantly blames the victim and not perpetrator. This is not true.  I am sure that many of us have drunk too much alcohol on occasions and have little recollection of some events that occurred the previous evening. I know that feeling well. In my case, it happened again recently as I come to the realisation that, as I advance in age, my capacity to consume large amounts of alcohol has seriously diminished. This is no bad thing.

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(Judge Lindsey Kushner QC)

Let us get one thing straight; nobody, male or female, deserves to get attacked and/or raped or sexually assaulted. NO ALWAYS MEANS NO. There are NO excuses. The only person at fault here is the ATTACKER / RAPIST, NOT THE VICTIM.

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The victim of the crime that Judge Kushner was commenting about, Megan Clark, 19 of Manchester, bravely waived her right to anonymity to back the comments made by the trial judge. She had been attacked by a man that she had met in a city-centre Burger King after getting drunk on beer and vodka during a night out. While nobody has the right to violate you in any way, we can all take common sense steps to reduce the chances of being taken advantage of in these circumstances. In a Utopian world, every woman will be able to dress and behave as they wish while every man will be a complete gentleman and would never ‘take advantage’ of someone who is vulnerable or not able to protect themselves due to a number of factors, eg. isolation, drunkenness, under the influence of illegal substances etc.

Reality check: WE DON’T LIVE IN UTOPIA – It doesn’t exist, and some predators will seek to use any weakness or vulnerability to take an advantage. While there are many more decent members of society, this type of predator exists in every town, city and village. They seek out women who have been separated from their peer group, appear extremely unsteady on their feet, walking home alone or distracted. It is difficult, when you do not possess your full coherent faculties, to assess whether the person approaching you and trying to engage, is someone genuinely looking out for you as a good samaritan or is seeking to take advantage of your vulnerability. In a state of heightened intoxication, it will be nigh on impossible to make a rational assessment of what is happening to you and that may lead to bad choices.

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(Megan Clark, aged 19, Manchester – victim of a serious sexual assault in the city-centre)


 

Statistics: In the United Kingdom in 2015-16 there were 33,798 complaints of rape. Just 2,689 of those resulted in convictions. That is a mere 7.5% of reported rape crime. The majority were women.

Unfortunately, in Court, alleged victims can be subjected to humiliating questions about their clothing, sexual history and even whether the victim owns and/or uses sex toys. While defence lawyers have to represent their clients to the best of their ability, this verbal violence against a vulnerable victim can result in that victim reliving the terrors of the attack as if it was happening all over again.


 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn 2011 a Toronto (Canada) police officer became infamous for comments he made, while another officer was giving a talk to law students at the Toronto York University. 

While a more senior officer was giving the talk, Officer Michael Sanguinetti interrupted him and was reported to have started by saying,

“You know, I think we are beating around the bush here. I have been told that I am not supposed to say this……”

Anyone who starts a sentence with that, or with, “I don’t mean any disrespect but..” MEANS EXACTLY THAT! They are telling you that they are about to disrespect you or tell you something that they shouldn’t and try to condone it with the faux apology prefix.

Sanguinetti said, “You know, I think we are beating around the bush here. I have been told that I am not supposed to say this, however, women should AVOID DRESSING LIKE SLUTS in order not to be victimised.” 

During an interview, after the unfortunate officer opened his mouth, student leader Darshika Selvasivam said,

“Linking clothing to sexual assaults blames the victim while taking the onus away from the perpetrator”

Sanguinetti has since apologised for his comments and added that, 

“assaulted women are not victims by choice. I made a comment which was poorly thought out and did not reflect the commitment of the Toronto Police Service to the victims of sexual assaults. Violent crimes, such as sexual assaults, can have a traumatising effect on their victims. My comment was hurtful in this respect.”   (source – Mailonline.com 18.02.17)

Officer Sanguinetti became the catalyst for the movement known as the ‘SlutWalk’ which was born in Toronto on 3rd April, 2011 and spread throughout the world’s cities. DE5747A8-7723-4D93-801B-7C949AEB8C6B

(photo taken at the first SlutWalk on 3rd April, 2011, in Toronto, Canada)


In a January 2017 report by the UK Fawcett Society, while researching ‘hostility and blame culture against women’, they found that over a third of people believed a victim is to blame if they are sexually assaulted.

The report surveyed over 8,000 people with the question:

“If a woman goes out late at night, wearing a short skirt, gets drunk and is then the victim of a sexual assault, is she totally or partly to blame?”

Results showed that 38% of men and 34% of women believed that a female victim is wholly or in part to blame for being sexually assaulted. 

(source – The Independent – 08.02.17)

LET THAT SINK IN FOR A SECOND.


Should we not be teaching people that the right way to interact with others is to respect one’s personal space and sexual boundaries? There is a huge difference between a young man fluffing his lines and boundaries when shyly approaching a female with the intent to engage in innocent conversation than with a man, who persistently pesters a female, despite her rebuffing of his advances, and ignores all social etiquette, thus becoming a physical and sexual threat. 

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There are many trains of thought on the mechanics of the act of rape. One side suggest that it has nothing to do with sex and more to do with power, control and humiliation of another human being. The other suggestion is that it has to have something to do with sex, as the mere act of rape includes arousal, erection and penetration of another ie. the desire to have sex going back to our procreational roots from past millennia. 

The one thing that we can be clear about is that the way that a person was dressed was not the reason that they were raped. Otherwise, how can one explain the pensioner, modestly clothed, being raped in her own home or the baby in a crib being sexually assaulted? This may be some sort of sick and perverted sexual desire but ultimately these predators have controlled, terrified and humiliated the victim and made them feel worthless.rapevictim

A HIGH PERCENTAGE OF RAPE VICTIMS ARE KNOWN TO THEIR ATTACKER

On the website run by the Valley Crisis Center in Merced, California (www.valleycrisiscenter.org), there is a section titled, ‘Myths about sexual assault’. In it is quoted:

MYTH – Rape is about sex. People who rape, do it because they cannot control their sexual desire.

REALITY – Rape is not about sex. Rape is about having power and control over another person. Three out of five rapists are also in consenting sexual relationships. This myth takes the blame off the rapist and does not hold them accountable for their actions.

On the States of Jersey Police website (www.jersey.police.uk), if you ‘search’ under the word ‘rape’, they list the following, as types of sexual assault/rape:

Domestic rape / spousal rape – a spouse can still be convicted of raping their partner while in a relationship.

Date / Acquaintance rape – where non-consensual sex occurs during or after a date by someone known to the victim.

Stranger rape – the rape that strikes fear into the population, committed by a total stranger. It is the one type of rape that gets the biggest headlines in the papers.

Drug / alcohol assisted rape – either deliberate ‘spiking’ of drinks or an over-indulgence of alcohol on one or both parties, so that informed consent cannot be made due to the condition of the victim.

In 2014 Detective Sergeant (now Acting Inspector) Louise Clayson stated that:

“One of the most common myths surrounding rape is that it is an act committed randomly by a stranger who is lurking in the bushes or in a dark alley. Statistically however, most victims are raped by people they know. The stranger rape myth is based on our societal need to distance ourselves from rapists. It is much more comfortable for us to call them strangers than (accept) the darker truth of sexual violence; that the rapists are often people we trust – our friends, acquaintances or family.”

She continued:

“To try and prevent rape, we need to be honest about the realities of it. Many of us have created a cloud of myth surrounding rape to protect ourselves from some uncomfortable truths. Throughout the year we will continue our work to challenge these age-old taboos and get people talking about the subject which, in the past, has been difficult to discuss.” 

(source – DS L. Clayson – States of Jersey Police website)statesofjerseylogo

Under the headline, ‘Rape Law change will have an impact on detection rates’, the Jersey Evening Post (JEP), 9th December 2017 edition, reported that the States of Jersey will have a new draft Sexual Offences (Jersey) Law presented for consideration this year, by current Home Affairs Minister, Deputy Kristina Moore.

This is intended to widen the definition of what can be considered ‘rape’ under the Law. The JEP stated:

“At present, rape is defined as penile penetration of the vagina. The proposed changes would mean that any forcible sexual act involving a penis, whether oral or anal penetration, would be classed as rape. Rape victims would also be able to give their evidence via a video link in court.” (source – Jersey Evening Post – 09.12.17)

The Law will also, for the first time, allow for males to be considered victims of rape and there will be clarification of the terms surrounding ‘consent’.jep

As a woman, there are many things that you can do, while you are planning and executing a night out, either on your own, or with friends, that will decrease the chances of falling pray to predatory people. While Jersey is a relatively safe place, one still has to have their wits about them.

In December last year, I wrote an article for the St. Saviour’s Parish magazine, La Cloche, in relation to staying safe during the party season over the Christmas period. Delving into ‘Xena’s handbook of awareness and safety tips’ I wrote:

• Keep your wits about you while on licensed premises –  If you are being harassed or need assistance please do not hesitate to make a door security supervisor, or other member of staff, aware of your concerns. We are there to help you; keep your drink on you at all times, even if that means taking it to the toilet or leaving it in the care of a trusted friend while you are elsewhere. While instances of drink ‘spiking’ are rare, they do happen. Don’t feel obliged to accept drinks from a stranger just because they are offered, a polite refusal should not offend.

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• Do not, under any circumstances accept what appears to be illicit substances from a third party – Currently, there are many drugs circulating the party scene, including Ecstasy, Amphetamines, Cocaine, Heroin and other opiates, Ketamine and so-called ‘Legal’ (now illegal) Highs. You will not know the strengths of these drugs as they vary greatly in purity and, in recent times, certain super strength ecstasy tablets have been responsible for multiple hospitalisations. Do not spend your Christmas hooked up to a drip on a hospital ward.

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• Pace your drinking; if you know that you are going out for an evening, pace your intake of alcohol – Try drinking soft drinks in between your alcoholic ones and try to eat something before and during your night out. Getting a greasy kebab after you have left a pub or club might help to mop up some of the alcohol but it is better to have a drink on a full stomach rather than an empty one. Be aware that if you pre-load your alcohol before you go out, and then continue to drink when you are on licensed premises, you may not last very long before you are drunk and you are being asked to leave the premises by one of us. Pre-loading is the drinking of alcohol, often purchased from a supermarket at a cheaper rate, at home with friends before venturing into town.

Girls in Bar/Nightclub having fun

• Always have your mobile phone fully charged and on your person at all times – Your phone can often be your lifeline in an emergency. You can make any emergency call (999 or 112) without having to first unlock your phone.

mobilephone

and a tip given, specifically for the Jersey population – 

• Jersey Lifts – many of you will use, or have used, Jersey Lifts. I am not here to tell you not to use them as many people will attest to having successfully used drivers from this group. However, please remember that although the Law states that a driver can only take money that is reasonable as a contribution towards the vehicle’s petrol/maintenance (which Jersey Lifts states is approximately 60-70 pence per mile), it is blatantly obvious that the amounts asked or offered greatly exceed these guidelines, therefore, rendering the service illegal. Should a serious accident or sexual assault happen while you are a passenger in a Jersey Lifts vehicle, please be aware that the driver will not be insured for carrying passengers for ‘hire or reward’, will not be registered with the Driver and Vehicles Standards Department, will not be DBS checked (formerly CRB), will not hold a PSV licence as a professional driver, will not have had their vehicle checked for road worthiness and you will have no knowledge as to whether that person even has a driving licence.

(source – ‘Have a happy and safe Christmas party season’ – by Xena; La Cloche Parish magazine, St. Saviour, Jersey – Winter 2017 edition)

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RAPE IS NOT THE SOLE DOMAIN OF MEN

The article writes about rape and its causes, with woman as the primary victim, but it is to be understood that men also can be raped and women can be the rapists. A woman can be the predator, either as a material part of male on male, or male on female rape by taking an active part in the assault by, for example, holding the victim down or helping to facilitate the primary rapist in some other way. The woman, in those circumstances, can be charged, as a principal defendant, with the offence of rape.

A woman can also be a rapist if she forces a male to have sex with her against his will. Many have asked me how it is possible that a man would feel sexually aroused if he were the subject of an horrific sexual assault. Unfortunately, we are not always in direct control of our bodily responses to certain stimuli (eg. adrenaline) and it is quite possible that a male can become aroused without wishing to. An example of this was a famous case from the nineteen-seventies when an American former beauty queen, Joyce McKinney, was involved in the abduction and serial rape, in the UK, of Mormon missionary (and her former boyfriend) Kirk Anderson.   

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Female ‘rapist’ Joyce McKinney (above) fled the UK for America before her case came to trial. With no extradition proceedings instituted by Britain, McKinney was sentenced, in absentia, to one year in prison. However, at the time there was no crime of rape committed, due to the victim’s gender and so the offence was the ‘indecent assault of a man.’

More recently, the Daily Express (on 3rd April 2018) had the front page headline, ‘Nun raped me and had my baby – torment of schoolboy victim.’

This was the reporting of the victim, seventy-six year old Edward Hayes, who has finally spoken out about being raped by a then twenty-seven year old nun when he was only twelve and a resident of a children’s home in England. The nun, Sister Mary Conleth, (birth name – Bessie Veronica Lawler) allegedly became pregnant by him and was sent back to Ireland in disgrace, while Edward was shipped out to another home.

(source – Daily Express – Nun raped me and had my baby – front page 3rd April 2018)

IN CONCLUSION

NO MEANS NO. Nobody has the right to invade your personal space unless you invite them into it. We are all entitled to wear any style of clothes that we choose, as long as we do not break any indecency laws. The clothes we wear should never be used as an excuse by a perpetrator or defence lawyer to suggest that we are open to be molested and are effectively ‘asking for it’. 

A rapist will not care how you are dressed; that is not their objective. A large proportion of victims are attacked wearing modest, everyday clothing and are in a very wide age range, from young children to elderly pensioners.

You are in sole charge of your own body. A person’s percentage chance of being a rape victim is very small but by taking sensible steps to ensure your own personal safety, you are doing as much as you can to reduce the chances even further.

 

USEFUL CONTACTS IN JERSEY FOR VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT / RAPE

States of Jersey Police – Emergency telephone 999 (or 112). Landline: 612612. Police Headquarters, La Route du Fort, St. Helier, JERSEY, JE2 4HQ. Website: www.jersey.police.uk.  Email: sojp@jersey.pnn.police.uk.

SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) – Dewberry House – Telephone: (01534) 888222 – 6 Plaisance Terrace, La Route du Fort, St. Saviour. website: www.dewberryhouse.je.  Email: dewberryhouse@gov.je. The centre staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

J.A.A.R (Jersey Action Against Rape) – Telephone: (01534) 482800. Website: www.jaar.je.  Email: help@jaar.je. 

Jersey Samaritans – Telephone: 0845-7-90-90-90. No.30 Hue Street, St. Helier, Jersey. Website: www.samaritans.org. Email: jo@samaritans.org.

Welcome to my Blog

The ‘Urban Warrior Princess’ blog aims to educate and inform on many aspects of personal safety and security. I am Red Zen C.I. Ltd’s principal owner, Roisin ‘Xena’ Pitman, and I will be gathering together personal experiences from over thirty-eight years in the law enforcement and personal safety and security business as well as articles and tips from around the globe.

I deal in cold hard facts using tried and tested awareness education and do not rely on sensationalist rhetoric to get the message across.

I hope that you will enjoy my blog and participate if you wish.

If you have any subjects that you would like me to cover, I can be contacted through the Red Zen website at http://www.redzenpps.com or contact me here on the Contacts Page.

Róisín ‘Xena’ Pitman