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Party-Safety-art - 12/6/17


"Party Safety in the SCA" by Briatiz D'Andrade, O.L., O.P.


NOTE: See also the files: Hospitality-art, non-SCA-part-msg, SCA-children-msg, A-Study-o-SCA-art, Concnsus-Mkng-art, Criticism-art, Dble-Stndards-art.





This article was added to this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium, with the permission of the author.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


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While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



Party Safety in the SCA

by Briatiz D'Andrade, O.L., O.P.,

Kingdom of the Outlands


Preface: I am not a member of law enforcement, a licensed medical professional, or an officer of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. I am speaking as a concerned member of the populace. This is opinion on my part, garnered from over thirty years' experience in this organization. For more information that might help you, please check the references at the bottom of this article. Thanks, Bri


So—let's talk frankly about going to parties in the SCA. EPIC!!!!! They are awesome, fun, colorful, chaotic, and are the magical stuff that stories are made of for years to come. In addition, nearly everyone wants to go to them. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they are safe.


What I am talking about is that other ONE PERCENT—the times we hope never happen. Alcohol poisoning is the least of it—this one percent also includes assault, sexual assault, rape of various sorts, visits from local law enforcement, and people landing in the hospital with life-threatening physical reactions.


We need to know how to create environments where it is impossible for this to happen.

We need to know how to spot potential trouble and head it off.

We need to know what to do if something goes wrong.


In any case, the first and foremost thing that we should be doing is being safe—being a safe partier, a safe host, and a safe friend/wingman.


How can we ourselves stay safe at parties?


·                    If you are underage, do not drink. It is illegal.

·                    Use the buddy system or go in a group. Make an agreement that you will keep an eye on each other during the night and do not enter or leave a party without them. Check on each other!!!!

·                    Make sure your phone is charged and ON YOU, and on your friends. There are rescue apps and texting that can get you out of a weird situation.

·                    Make sure you have an address of where you are going, or the name of the camp that you are going to.

·                    If someone feels "wrong" to you, trust your instincts. Do not take drinks from people you do not know.

·                    Have a "code word" between you and your friends, that is a "rescue me" signal.

·                    Do not let go of your drink, or let it out of your sight. If you lose track of it, get a new one, and watch them pour it.

·                    Eat before you go out partying.

·                    Drink as much water as you do alcohol—you will feel better in the morning.

·                    Do not mix types of alcohols—stick to one type for the evening.

·                    Know how much you can have before your judgement is impaired. This includes alcohol use with whatever medications you are taking—sometimes it has an adverse reaction.

·                    Keep track of how much you have had to drink, and pace yourself. Set limits on the number of drinks you are going to have, if you need to.

·                    Have a plan for the evening and a backup plan in case that falls through. Do not get stuck.

·                    Be aware, and stay aware of your surroundings.

·                    Ask for help if you need it.

·                    Do not do anything you do not want to show up on social media.

·                    If you feel "weird", "Off", "strange", or more drunk than you think you should be considering how much you have had to drink, GET HELP IMMEDIATELY. You may require medical attention.

·                    If you have an incident with someone being predatory, go to the proper authorities.

What does this mean?


How can we host a safe party? By being a responsible host to ensures that your guests are safe. Here are some suggestions:


·                    Stay legal. Do not serve alcohol to underage people. Carding is a safe way to make this happen. No ID, no drink.

·                    Serve food.

·                    Make sure you have non-alcoholic drinks available for those who cannot/are not drinking, as well as those who probably have had enough and need to be hydrated to avoid getting sick.

·                    Have one main entrance to the party – it keeps people corralled and keeps intoxicated folks from wandering off into unsafe areas.

·                    Have someone behind your bar who is committed to staying sober for the evening. They should be prepared to stop serving someone who is overly intoxicated, and should be watching for people who may be wanting to dose drinks in the bar area.

·                    Likewise, you should have someone appointed for the party whose responsibility is to stay sober in case things go sideways. They should be checking on all the areas where people are likely to go, watching for folks in need of rescue, and calling for rides/escorts for those who are stuck and/or too intoxicated to drive/walk home.

·                    Let the event security know that you are doing a party in your camp/town square on a certain night. This way they know to watch for it.

·                    Set up a safe space inside the party. Block off areas (bedrooms, private tents, unused areas) that might be places where someone could be trapped.

·                    Make your party well lit. You can see if someone is in trouble much better with adequate light.

·                    Tour all the areas of your party regularly and know what is going on. Do not get surprised.

·                    Keep the drinking games to a minimum, and try to serve individual drinks rather than punch/jungle juice.

·                    Close down your "bar" 30-45 minutes before the end of your party—that way it gives people time to sober up and walk home.

·                    If you have an incident with someone being predatory, go to the proper authorities.

What does this mean?


How can we be a safe friend/wingman?


·                    Use the buddy system or go in a group. Make an agreement that you will keep an eye on each other during the night and do not enter or leave a party without them.

·                    One person in the group should not be drinking—the designated driver/walker/responsible human. That person does not need to be a babysitter, but should check on everyone and make sure that each person gets home safely.

·                    Leave with the people you came with. If you were really attracted to someone, you can arrange to see him or her later when everyone is sober.

·                    Be aware of your surroundings.

·                    Check on your friends regularly. If they look uncomfortable or threatened, make an effort to get them out of the situation.

·                    If you find someone that you did not come with that looks like they are in distress, ask if they need help.

·                    Listen for the "rescue me" code word you have agreed upon.

·                    If they look like they are VERY intoxicated or possibly under the influence of a drug, get them to a safe place and get them help immediately.

·                    If you have an incident with someone being predatory, go to the proper authorities.

What does this mean?




Everyone has had too much to drink at one point or another and we've all been grateful to our friends who have pulled us out of ditches, carried us home, or tucked us into bed so that we don't go trying to light a propane torch with a cigarette lighter when we are truly too short to reach it. This is not what I am talking about. What I mean about alcohol poisoning is when someone has had so much to drink that he/she is no longer in command of their facilities and their health is in danger. Keep in mind that I am not a medical professional—but these are common symptoms that I found with a just a little bit of web research:


Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

·                    Cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin

·                    Loss of motor control

·                    Confusion

·                    Low body temperature

·                    Dizziness

·                    Vomiting

·                    Unconsciousness/nonresponsive to attempts to wake them up.

·                    Irregular/Slow breathing

·                    Irregular heartbeat


What should you do if you suspect alcohol poisoning?

• Do NOT leave them alone.

• Keep them awake, if you can.

• Roll them to their side with the knees bent, so that they will not choke if they vomit.

• Monitor their breathing. NOTE: Irregular breathing or not breathing at all (13 or fewer breaths per minute or more than 10 seconds between breaths): Call 911. This is an extreme case.

• If they are unconscious and cannot be awakened, or cannot stop vomiting, get medical attention as soon as possible.




There is a variety of drugs that could be slipped into someone's glass; among them are Rohypnol, GHB, Ketamine, Ambien, Xanax, Ativan, Ecstasy, and LSD. I am going to discuss the three most common ones used to dose someone's drink; namely Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine.


Rohypnol, or Flunitrazepam ("Roofie"): A powerful sedative, and illegal in the US. Usually odorless and tasteless white pill that dissolves quickly in a drink. Some forms of this drug are bluish in cast and may show up in a clear drink. People under the influence of this drug typically show symptoms 20-30 minutes after ingestion, peak within a couple of hours, and the effects last between 8-12 hours. Generally, people who have been under the influence of this drug will have no recollection of what happened to them while they were under its influence. Symptoms include:

·                    Drowsiness

·                    Dizziness/trouble standing

·                    Nausea

·                    Disorientation

·                    Paralysis

·                    Difficulty with motor functions/speech/vision

·                    Being MUCH more intoxicated than you think you should be

·                    Unconsciousness


GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate): A clear liquid that may have a slightly salty taste but will more likely be undetectable in a cocktail. GHB usually begins working in about 15 minutes after ingestion and will last for 3-4 hours. Symptoms include:

·                    Euphoria

·                    Sedation and Dizziness

·                    Slow breathing/problems breathing

·                    Sweating

·                    Tremors

·                    Blackouts/amnesia

·                    Slowed heart rate

·                    Low Body Temperature

·                    Nausea and Vomiting

·                    Dehydration

·                    Coma and Death


Ketamine: Ketamine is a powerful sedative and paralytic, and comes in either liquid or a white powder. It starts acting within 1-2 minutes of ingestion and will last for 1-3 hours. People under the influence of Ketamine may be aware of what is going on around them but will not be able to move or speak; and it is possible that they will not be able to remember what happened to them during the period of time they were under its influence. Symptoms include:

·                    Hazy or fuzzy view of sight/sound

·                    The feeling of an "out of body" experience

·                    Loss of time

·                    Disorientation of reality (time, place, dream-like quality)

·                    Problems breathing

·                    Impaired motor functions

·                    Nausea/Vomiting

·                    Slurred speech

·                    Memory problems

·                    Numbness


What should you do if you suspect someone has been dosed without his or her knowledge?

• Do NOT leave them alone.

• Keep them awake, if you can.

• Roll them to their side with the knees bent, so that they will not choke if they vomit.

• Get them to a medical facility as soon as possible, or call 911 to get EMS on site. Let the medical professionals know that you suspect that they were slipped something in their drink so that they can treat the person appropriately.


Some folks who do these kinds of things will either brag about having done it or talk about their intent to do it to someone in the future. What should you do if you hear it?


·                    THIS IS NOT FUNNY.  IT IS NOT A JOKE.  IT IS A CRIME.

·                    Have as many facts as you can—names, dates, type of drug, targeted person, etc.

·                    Talk to the police, and let them handle it depending on the local laws.  If the incident has happened at an SCA event or an SCA-sponsored activity, request that they talk to the seneschal/autocrat so that they are able to document the issue for the SCA—provide that contact information if you can.  


Parties are fun, and they can be safe. Just be watchful, proactive, and aware of your surroundings. Take care of your friends, and those that need assistance. Have a fantastic, safe, and fun time!




Staying Safe at parties:





Hosting Safe Parties:







Signs of Alcohol Poisoning:



Signs of Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine:  







Copyright 2017 by Kathryn Michel. <Kathryn.Michel at Colorado.EDU>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, please place a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org