Angelica Florio
January 28, 2017 11:29 am
Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

On Wednesday evening, Mischa Barton celebrated her 31st birthday with friends. The next morning, police were called to her L.A. home and Barton was then hospitalized (not quite what anyone wishes for as they blow out their candles). On Friday, The O.C. star was released and now she is bravely speaking out about the horrific incident that led to her hospitalization. In her statement for People, Barton revealed that someone drugged her on Wednesday night by slipping something into her drink.

In her statement, Barton said,

This seriously seems like some horrific incident that would happen to Barton’s character on The O.C., and we wish it were fiction.

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The actress told People.

The drug found in Barton’s system, GHB, is known as a “date rape drug.” According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, GHB can cause “suggestibility, passivity, and… amnesia.” GHB is sometimes slipped into an unsuspecting person’s drink at a party so that they become more vulnerable to sexual advances. Yes, it’s creepy stuff. Barton was smart to go to the police and see healthcare officials after realizing that something was wrong.

Barton’s statement also included a cautionary note to her female fans as she stated,

According to the Office of Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one can protect themselves from being a victim of date rape drugs like GHB by declining drinks that someone hands them, holding their own drinks throughout the night, and avoiding shared liquids (think punch bowls).

While Barton’s message to young women is important, it’s also necessary to teach men to serve as allies. Oh and the most simple lesson of all: It’s not okay to slip drugs into anyone’s drink. One of the consequences of living in a society that normalizes and often condones sexual assault, aka rape culture, is the all-too-common occurrence of incidences like what happened to Mischa Barton this week. However, stricter punishments for perpetrators of rape and greater emphasis in schools on teaching students to not sexually assault someone rather than focusing on avoiding sexual assault victimhood can eventually reduce the frequency of these damaging crimes.

Hopefully Barton is recovering well from the unsettling incident and her lesson will serve as a cautionary tale for all, men and women. We wish we could give her a giant Summer Roberts-style hug.

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Thanks for being being brave and speaking up, Mischa.