Beliefnet
The Celebrity Therapist

After watching a Lifetime movie the other night about the disappearance of Natalie Holloway in Aruba, I found myself feeling very uncomfortable in my own skin.  Of course, I was saddened by the loss of this beautiful young lady and the pain her family has and most likely have continued to endure, but something else was bothering me, as well.

I had a pit in my stomach and it hasn’t gone away. Usually that is a sign I have been avoiding something or numbing my feelings.   I began to remember my own vacation getaways usually to Mexico on Club Med retreats when I was much younger.  The days were filled with lying out by the beach, dancing all night, meeting new people, and most of all lots and lots of alcohol consumption. 

I am convinced I could have ended up like Natalie on any one of those vacations.  It is not important to go into the details and to be quite honest; most of my memories are foggy.  What I do know is I abused alcohol and put myself in dangerous situations time and time again.

 It is unclear what happened, but in the television special it appears Jordan van der Sloot, the boy she was last seen with, took her to a secluded beach where he disposed of her body after she passed out.   It had been reported Natalie had been drinking heavily that night, most likely binge drinking. Often teenagers drink too fast and too much, lapsing into heavy intoxication before they know it.  Joran van der Sloot later reported he and Holloway had been drinking heavily that night. It is unclear how she died but it is quite possible she had alcohol poisoning, experienced a seizure, or could have become unconscious and aspirated on her own vomit.

The following are safety tips to avoid what could end up being your very last vacation:

1.       Limit your drinking.  You can’t fight back and protect yourself in a drunken stupor.

2.      Limit your distance and allow yourself space to prepare yourself against a potential attack.

3.      Consider going on a group date.  Remember safety in numbers.

4.      Don’t ever get into a car with a stranger.

5.      Remember to know the laws.  Rape is defined as forcible penetration of any part of the man’s body on the woman’s openings.  However, this may not always have to be expressed. A sexual act on an unconscious woman can also be considered as rape, since she is devoid of reason.

6.      Carry pepper spray, or mace or other self defense objects with you.

We will never know what happened to Natalie, but we do know what can happen to you or your teenage daughters when they put themselves in these horrific situations.  When you binge drink, you lose all your inhibitions and once that happens, you are putting yourself at risk of possibly being raped or worse dying, as poor Natalie did.    

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