'Real Housewives' Roofie Jokes Aren't Fair to Women

Jeanne Sager

Tamra Barney Real HousewivesPeople aren't used to taking the Real Housewives seriously. That's the fun part of the show! But the catty reactions this week to Tamra Barney, Ramona Singer, Vicki Gunvalson, and Peggy Tanous having the date rape drug slipped in their drinks isn't just hurting the Housewives. It's bad for women in general.

Because whatever you think of them, their story rings pretty true of a roofie incident. And both rohypnol and GHB, the two most common "date rape drugs" are illegal in New York State for a reason: because they've been directly linked to sexual assault. Stopped laughing yet?

According to an account on Radar, the ladies claim they were out at a New York City bar when a middle-aged man came up with two drinks in hand, claiming to be fan. Peggy slammed hers back, Tamra drank it halfway through, then the three Orange County Housewives left for their hotel. Singer says the two who drank the spiked liquor were showing the affects as they got to the hotel, and Vikki ended up taking care of them.

It sounds about right -- rohypnol works a lot like a tranquilizer, sedating a victim in 15 to 20 minutes, making them weak, fatigued and making them forget what's going on. It can last anywhere from four to 12 hours, and the amnesia from the lost time can last even longer. GHB is considered a "central nervous system depressant," and it has similar affects -- drowsiness, headaches. Rohyponol, the traditional "roofie" looks like an aspirin, but it easily dissolves into a drink, where it's colorless and flavorless. GHB often comes as a liquid, but it can also be a dissoluble powder.

Unfortunately, the affects of both drugs mocking extreme intoxication: the slurred speech, the drowsiness. It's also hard to prove, unless your urine is tested soon after waking from the drug-induced state (the New York State Police advocate victims pee in a cup with a lid immediately, to preserve the evidence).

So the Housewives are facing a lot of mockery. People are joking they were simply drunk. People are questioning why -- if it truly happened -- they aren't pursuing criminal charges. The fact is they got lucky; they were at their hotel by the time they started to feel the affects, and they weren't in real danger.

But those are the same mocking questions that keep countless women from coming forward when they're roofied. As the officials of the Roofie Foundation note, "Drug related rape and sexual abuse achieved through drink spiking is forever in the news, and the question as to whether it is really happening or whether it is an urban myth seems to crop up more and more frequently."

There are no real solid statistics on how many women are roofied and sexually assaulted because the drug is good at the job. But there are also no good statistics because this is how we treat women. We laugh at them. We mock them. We doubt them.

Do the Real Housewives jokes still sound funny?


Image via Bravo

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