Week 2: Gender and Social Control
Weiss and Coyler: R oofies, Mickies and Cautionary Tales- Examining
the Persistence of the “Date-Rape Drug” Crime Narrative.
- This article examines the origins and persistence of the ‘‘roofies’’ story, a crime narrative that emerged
during the mid 1990s, warning women to guard their drinks against lurking predators seeking to
incapacitate and rape them.
- Such DFSA incidents were relatively unknown before the 1990s. This is not to suggest that intentional
drugging of persons for the intent to commit sexual crime never occurred prior to 1990.
- Yet, despite the story’s ubi- quity, there has been little empirical evidence to suggest that drug-induced
sexual assault, as embodied in the roofies narrative, is anything more than a rare but tragic occurrence.
- when drugs are involved in the crime of rape, it is almost always as a result of victims voluntarily drinking
alcohol, using drugs (most often cocaine and marijuana), or mixing drugs with alcohol
- forensic studies tend to conclude that victims’ voluntary drinking and drug use is much more likely a
factor in facilitating sexual assault than surreptitious drugging.
- This article investigates why, despite little empirical evidence to suggest that roofies-induced sexual
assault is anything more than a rare tragedy, has become an oft-repeated crime narrative that has come to
- Social constructionist theorists (Best 1990, 1999; Cohen 1972; DeYoung 1998; Goode 2008; Goode and
Ben Yehuda 1994; Hilgartner and Bosk 1988; Reinarmen 2006) suggest that crimes and social problems are
brought to the public’s attention through a process of claimsmaking activities that include problematizing
issues in ways that are salient and significant to the consuming public. One way in which a problem can
gain traction and rally public support is the tell- ing of a ‘‘good story.’’
- It is important to note that moral panics and their accom- panying stories tend to be short-lived. As soon
as the media and interest groups have shifted their focus elsewhere, the public interest wanes, and the
stories that began it all fade away as well.