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Rapture Nightclub’s Treatment Of Women Just Proves Rape Culture Is Still Alive And Kicking

Shantel Smith said her drink had been spiked, and Rapture nightclub asked if she was worth such a waste of drugs.

Rapture nightclub from Perth has been outed after their appalling response to a woman’s request for stronger security.

19-year-old Shantel Smith was enjoying a night out at Rapture nightclub when she started to have symptoms commonly associated with date rape drugs. This led her to believe her drink must have been spiked, which was consolidated after she spoke to other friends who had attended the nightclub and had the same issue.

The next day, she messaged Rapture nightclub on Facebook to let them know what had happened, and requested that they tighten security so that other women like her would feel more comfortable returning to the nightclub.

Shantel Smith’s messages with Rapture nightclub.

Rapture’s response, teeming with derision and mockery, is just a testament to a tale as old as time: victim blaming. Instead of offering an apology or concern for a spiked drink, something which unfortunately women experience fairly often in the clubbing culture of Australia, Rapture attacked Shantel and asked “why would anyone want to spike your drink?”

The response garnered online outrage as it went viral. People condemned the victim blaming and misogynistic nature of the messages that implied women had to be “worth” spiking.

We spoke to Mikki Jade Finn, a friend of Shantel Smith who publicly shared the incident on Facebook and called for others to avoid Rapture nightclub. Her post received hundreds of shares and thousands of comments before Facebook took it down for “violating community standards.”

“It’s disappointing we have to flag a place as safe or not safe for women, but that’s what it’s coming to.”

“Women deserve to be believed and taken seriously. I am appalled that the management took such a defensive stance against the request of a customer suggesting more security for the venue.” she said.

How Rapture’s Response Promotes Rape Culture

With questions like “does this happen to you and your friends regularly” and “are you worth someone trying to spike your drink”, the shock of Rapture’s blatant victim blaming is hard to believe. But the truth is, rape culture is alive and well in Australia, and this is one example.

A screenshot from Rapture nightclub’s comment section on Facebook, posted by Azra Iris on Facebook.

The implications of such disgusting questions are clear: you are not worthy of being given date rape drugs, and by extension you are not worthy of being raped. The fact that women might not even be worth that is depolorable – in what world are we measuring a woman’s worth by how likely she is to be raped? In what world is it supposed to be a compliment?

The owner of Rapture, Neil Scott, has doubled down on his response despite widespread backlash.

“Lets face it, why would somebody spike her drink? Why would they do that? What are they hoping to get? What is she hoping to get from it? I don’t know if she thinks she’s special enough to be spiked, I don’t know if that’s how it works,” he said, reported by Yahoo News.

The idea that Shantel might not be “special enough to be spiked” is an indictment on the rape culture this response facilitates.  That women are special, lucky even to get their drink spiked and consequently be raped – that they should be grateful that someone found them so attractive as to assault them. 

This is why so many victims don’t report sexual assault. This is why Australia has such high domestic violence rates. Because when victims do come out with what has happened to them, they are mocked and ridiculed and blamed for the very situation that they are seeking help for.

Rapture Nightclub Condemned By Previous Staff

Interestingly, after Shantel Smith’s post went viral, many others who had previously worked with Neil Scott  came out with further indictments of his business.

Ben Sigle, who previously  was a DJ for Rapture nightclub, shared a screenshot of an abusive message sent to him by Neil Scott on Facebook. Scott called him a “sneaky c*nt” and threatened to publicly defame him to Rapture’s followers.

Ben Sigle’s interactions with Rapture nightclub owner Neil Scott.

Another woman on Facebook, Tutu Solomon-TeWhaiti, claimed to be a former staff member of Neil Scott and wrote a scathing comment on the maltreatment she said she endured there.

A former staff member of Rapture accuses the business of underpaying and mistreating her.

As the nightclub went viral so did Neil Scott and soon screenshots from his social media began circulating. Images popped up of him in Blackface, of extremely homophobic posts calling gay people “vociferous”, and of an image Scott shared on Facebook of an Islamophobic depiction of Muslim women.

The fact that Neil Scott can be so unapologetic about his comments is an indictment of how much Australia has created a rape culture that empowers men like this. We need to do better. And it starts by believing women.

Image Sources: Facebook

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