Drink spiking is a sad, scary reality when it comes to parenting a teen. But it no longer needs to be. Meet Drinkerbell … a clever new initiative founded by a determined businesswoman and mother of five.
“Drink spiking is rife. My daughter’s drink was spiked not too long ago and she nearly died. Some girls sadly do.” These are the heartfelt words of entrepreneur, mother of five and founder of Drinkerbell, Peach Piche.
“This is not a nightclub or barman issue, it is happening at house parties, in restaurants and pubs and even at corporate golf days. Don’t ever assume you’re safe because you don’t drink alcohol! Spikers don’t know or care what’s in your glass. My daughter Skyla’s drink was spiked at an upmarket local restaurant at 7pm. The effects were horrendous – physically, mentally and emotionally. It took her two months to recover and for the blood in her eyes to subside. More importantly, she could have died,” says Peach. “Unfortunately, some girls have died as a result and others have been assaulted, robbed, raped and callously murdered. And it is not only young girls being spiked, we have up to eight people a week (even women in their sixties) reaching out to share their stories.”
Peach’s philosophy is that everything in life happens for a reason. You can choose to be a ‘victor’ or a ‘victim’ so she chose to partner with her daughter Skyla to see how they could turn the mess into a ‘message’ and prevent incidents like this from happening to any other girls or women.
“Drink spiking is a crime and, like with any crime, there needs to be a criminal mind and opportunity. Which is why we founded Drinkerbell – an initiative designed to raise awareness around drink spiking packaged with a potentially life-saving product: a scrunchie that turns into a drinks’ cover to minimise risk.”
Girls can wear the scrunchie in their hair or on their wrist at all times and, when ordering a drink, simply open the secret compartment in the scrunchie and slide out the waterproof drinks cover, and eco-friendly, reusable silicone straw. This is a visual and physical deterrent for any would-be spiker as they are more likely to target someone with an open drink, plus the cover makes it impossible to deposit drops or tablets into the glass.
Because this project is so close to her heart, Peach says she wanted Drinkerbell to do more than just solve a problem and protect women. “It had to tick two other boxes: empowering women, which is why all manufacturing is done by women who have been upskilled and employed by Embocraft Trust, as well as have a ‘give back’ arm, which is why a portion of all sales goes to the Jes Foord Foundation to sponsor trauma counselling for women who have been raped.”
What started out as a mother-daughter project, has now become a platform for Peach and Skyla to use their voices to raise awareness, make a difference and save young girls! Their dream is for the project to become a movement to #stopdrinkspiking!
“As pubs, restaurants and bars fill up and people venture out, it is imperative that drinks are protected – even at house parties. Date-rape drugs like Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine are used because they are not easily detected, and victims often do not remember being drugged or assaulted until hours later.”
According to Peach, girls are in even more danger if they have pre-existing conditions that the spikers (criminals) do not know about, which is often the cause of girls having trouble breathing, suffering from bad reactions or even dying.
“Drink spiking happens. It is so much more prevalent than you think. I recently spoke at a women’s business event and, of the 23 ladies in the room, six had had their drinks spiked! It could happen to you or someone you love. We are determined to prevent that, and to save lives.”
Cheers to that! We think every girl needs a Drinkerbell! They come in a range of colours and designs, making them a great accessory.
Details: www.drinkerbell.co.za, @drinkerbellza
Text: BRONWYN FORBES-HARDINGE | Photos: TILANIE GROTE