Officials, even police departments, find them troubling, a new trend in which young men spiking women’s drinks at nightclubs and bars before going home with them and raping them.
The Dallas City Council meets this week to decide whether to pass a city ordinance to protect victims of sexual assault at such locations.
Dallas City Council Member Lee Kleinman’s committee introduced the measure for the Dallas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to review.
“In conversations that I’ve had with stakeholders, they have a laundry list of things that they say they want to take a look at,” City Council Member Lee Kleinman, chairman of the streets, sanitation and tourism committee, told FOX 4.
Kleinman says he believes consent is always the only option when it comes to an intimate relationship.
“It’s not like an underage skater, like I’m playing with a 12-year-old. It’s not like an adult child, who’s quite many years removed from the situation. That’s not the equation we’re talking about here,” Kleinman said.
Susan Walk, who works at a Dallas counseling center for sexual assault victims, says she’s worried this new rise in sexual assaults is already happening in Dallas, but the public is not aware of it.
“The women didn’t come forward with information. They tried a couple of different ways before they went to a doctor,” Walk said.
She says there are valid reasons for a victim to go the doctor in the weeks after a sexual assault. “If you’re sexually assaulted, you’re likely at risk of several other kinds of health care issues,” Walk said.
The Alcoholic Beverage Commission says it’s committed to protecting the public and making sure anyone caught making an illegal sexual assault is held accountable.
“Regardless of whether somebody’s a legal suspect, whether they’re an employee of a bar or a patron of a bar, there needs to be a comprehensive awareness of these types of issues,” said Jay Smiley, interim executive director of the Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
If passed, the ordinance would require a person caught spiking or giving a person drugs at a city establishment to keep their identification up to date. The person would also have to report the incident to local police.
Since the ordinance is a new provision, it won’t go into effect until January 2021.
Scott Schenck has four grandchildren under the age of 21. He says having this ordinance passed would make him more comfortable to bring them to downtown Dallas where the ABA already operates.
“It wouldn’t scare me to bring my grandkids downtown if they were going to have one of these kinds of people working down there, because we have a history of ensuring that the ABA can protect the people going through there,” Schenck said.
Some concerns over the ordinance are that it could hinder good restaurants and bars in the area, when owners need to choose from between all the potential customers to bring in.
Some also say those accused of sexual assault will wait to report it until after the fact to avoid being locked up.
“How can you protect everyone if you’re going to be hiring someone that has left the scene of the crime and hasn’t talked to anybody and hasn’t turned themselves in.” said Schenck.
Fox 4 reached out to the Dallas City Council Member for a response to those concerns, but have not heard back.