I’m sure the phrase “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is one you have heard before. In fact, the city name is often amended to include most holiday destinations where people take fun to a new level. However, with mobile phone cameras capable of capturing images and video and uploading to the web almost instantly, that old saying is no longer true.

Of course it’s not just the technology which has changed over the years, but the behaviour of our young people when they go abroad.Much has been made of the binge drinking culture that saw groups of lads, then latterly, groups of girls getting too drunk to walk, or even stand. This was not helped by pubs having 5 hour long happy hours, cheap drinks promotions or a buy one, get one free offer.

However, when that kind of drinking culture goes abroad, the game changes dramatically and inevitably gets out of control. There are simply too many bars, offering too many promotions to people who do it every night of their holiday. There is little or no policing within the drinks industry there and holiday makers are actively encouraged to drink during the day, at night  time and in as many bars as possible. There are special drinking tours arranged, where a company will (for a fee) take you around bars, playing party games that involve strong alcohol and lots of it, and all the while encouraging you to push the limits harder and higher. Ironically, the prize for winning a game is often more alcohol.

So this week, the world awoke to a new low when a girl was filmed performing sex acts on 24 men, solely to win a cocktail worth approximately $4.00. Social media immediately swung into action, with people the world over branding the girl ‘disgusting’, a ‘slut’, ‘a whore’, and many other colourful names. That’s easy, involves no thought and doesn’t really attempt to dig deeper into the issue. She may be all of those things or she may not, but let’s not forget that this is a young girl who is now known throughout the world for something that will be with her for the rest of her life.

So who is to blame?

No doubt the girl will be blamed by a lot of people and while I can’t deny she deserves some, I don’t think it’s all down to her. The girl was already drunk and therefore, her judgement was impaired and her actions may be atypical of her normal behaviour. I realise that some people will not find that to be an acceptable excuse, but it IS a factor. There can be few among us who hasn’t done or said something stupid, hurtful, dangerous or embarrassing while under the influence of alcohol. Granted, we might not do the things that she did, but there are many levels of stupidity.

There have been suggestions that the drinking game was arranged by tour reps, or by persons conducting some kind of drinking tour. So if that’s the case and these people organised this ‘entertainment’, surely they are responsible for the people in their care – particularly if the holiday makers have paid for the entertainment? The idea of taking people around pubs and encouraging them to drink massive amounts of alcohol, is an invitation to disaster, mayhem and potentially dangerous situations.

What about the bar in which it happened? The UK has very strict laws when it comes to drinking and especially towards what could be called, adult entertainment. Had this happened in an British pub,  there would have been serious repercussions for the bar’s owners and the employees who served someone so clearly inebriated. Pubs also have a duty of care towards customers, and that can often mean protecting them from their own stupidity. Having worked briefly in pub security in the 90’s, I can tell you that this would NEVER have been tolerated.

Let’s not forget that there were 24 men involved in this mess, who may or may not have been drunk, but who in my opinion took advantage of a drunk and vulnerable girl. If upon seeing a drunk woman your first thought is to take advantage of her by making her perform a sex act on you, then you are a sex offender – in my opinion. It’s a cliché I know, but try to imagine that was your sister, girlfriend, or wife who was treated so badly.

Young people, even those who are 18 and classed as adults like this girl, are still learning. We don’t turn 18 and suddenly become adults, devoid of fun and adventure. At this age, it’s often their first holiday away without their parents, so there is the tendency to go a little wild. I understand that, I really do. So maybe when young people book these holidays, they should be given a guide along with their tickets reminding them of the possible dangers they face? Rather than holiday company reps arranging booze cruises and drinking games, they should be telling their customers that they are here for a good time but not to be stupid? Bars and clubs NEED to start refusing drinks to people who have clearly had to much, as we are supposed to do here.

I am genuinely concerned that this girl’s life will be so devastated by a stupid mistake, that she will never be able to lead a normal one. I am also concerned that like many other young people who have been threatened with private pictures being uploaded to the web, the actual uploading of this video will cause another suicide. Stupid she may be, but she doesn’t deserve to suffer at the hands of the faux outraged judges on social media.

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