In short, my friend Brittany Goldych got drugged at a bar a few days back and asked if she could write about it here.
If you see someone fucking with somebody’s drink, interfere, let the bartender know, and call the cops. If you have seen it happen in the past and can identify someone who has done it, call the cops. If this is something that you have done or are considering doing, die.
Without further ado:
What I can remember isn’t very much. I worked my full time job that day and got home around 8pm. It was Friday and Christmas. I thought about staying in—I had about $20 fun money to last two weeks and New Year’s was less than a week away—but my whole house was empty and I didn’t feel like being alone. So I texted some friends to see if they wanted to go out but was unsuccessful in finding anyone who was free.
With it being unseasonably warm in Maine that time of year, I decided to venture forth at about 9p. At least I could get a good walk out of the night to lift myself from the holiday blues.
I walked through Portland tweeting about who was and was not open. When I muscled up to one place I genuinely like, a bit farther from my normal haunts, I got word from a friend that they were out an they suggested I meet them at another bar for a drink. So I squared up with the bartender and moseyed over. “Christmas is saved!”
I wasn’t expecting to get drugged. I remember feeling happy after so much work-derived depression; I remember setting my drink down to take my shot at the pool table and being a horrible player. I remember laughing at myself with my friends. And then I remember nothing.
I know I was drugged. I know this because it was like the last time I was drugged.
The three most common date-rape drugs are Rohypnol (illegal in the US now), GHB, and Ketamine. Everyone I know still call it getting “roofied” and regardless of the specific drug we know what it means. They affect you quickly and without you knowing it; the length of time effects last varies to a point where you may not be aware until 8 or 12 hours after you were initially dosed. And oh yeah. Alcohol makes them stronger.
Before someone reading this thinks “You weren’t drugged, you just got drunk and are embarrassed about it” or “you got too drunk and just don’t remember,” I would like to reiterate: I know I got drugged. I don’t pretend to have gotten drugged because I am embarrassed by my drunken antics. When researching stats on the prevalence of getting drugged, I was disheartened by the lack of research. What I found and read seems to be be that the majority of these happenings go unreported. This isn’t that surprising when, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 28% of persons report sexual assault. I regret not calling the police the moment I knew. Like many women, I didn’t because I felt embarrassed and ashamed, as though it was somehow my fault or that no one would believe me because I had been drinking. I was made to feel helpless and I hate the person who did that to me.
What’s also frustrating is that, like with other crimes that women are more often the victims of, the first questions asked are usually about what I did or didn’t do correctly when it came to protecting myself from violation.
“Were you alone?”
“Did you accept a drink from someone else?”
“Did you keep your drink with you at all times?”
“Did you share a drink?”
“Are you sure you aren’t just saying this because you are embarrassed?”
These and questions like them hurt; as though if I had just gotten out my drunk check list card I wouldn’t have been violated. These questions are set up to victim blame. It should not be my job to “not get roofied.” While I’m not telling women to throw caution to the wind, because I want us all to be safe, I am saying that the blame and the pressure needs to be put on those violating us, and not on us to be made feel like it is our fault for not checking off all the “how to not get violated” boxes. I feel ashamed and I hate myself for it.
The next day was the worst. I—gratefully—woke up at home and feeling like a truck had run me over. This was no hangover; hangovers and I are long time acquaintances. I was hurt, scared, and confused. My last memories were of me laughing at the pool table; now I was home, bloody, bruised, and emotionally broken. My auto-pilot of knowing where I live probably saved my life. The only thing I can recall between the pool table and waking up was one brief moment of jarring pain: when I broke my finger in a car door.
After the tears and after the depression, I realized I didn’t have my phone. I had somehow lost it en route. I used the Locate My Phone app and discovered it was over 60 miles away and I locked it remotely. Tom in Thomaston (I’m not kidding) called from my phone and connected with my roommate, who I’d set it up to call upon locking it. He, or maybe his mother or mother-in-law—we aren’t sure as reception was poor and he was confusing—told her they found it on the street, and not near the bar where I was. They found it on the route from the bar to my place. Not knowing what to do with it, they took it home (if you find someone’s phone please drop it off at the police station). Piecing together what I could from him—from the little I remember—and having no idea whether I was molested or not, I know a few things:
- I was definitely drugged at some point, probably when I set my drink down to play pool.
- At some point I cashed out, took my debit card back and left.
- From what those who found my phone said—it appears I attempted to walk home and dropped it en route. Hopefully when I realized something was really wrong and called a cab, dropping my phone.
- I’m saying hopefully when I called a cab because I was missing a $10 and the one thing I can remember with no clarity was having my finger slammed in a car door and breaking it. Otherwise I jumped in the car with a stranger and lost $10 as well as my phone (Tom, please return my phone).
Saturday I spent my day off in frustration, anger, sadness, depression, and shame, desperately trying to put the pieces back together and locate my phone.
This wasn’t my fault and I should be able to go out and not be violated by anyone. I refuse to be bound up in self-recrimination or feel ashamed about how my assault could have been avoided. I already spent one holiday weekend in cloistered depression because of this and I will not let the person who did this to me ruin my life. I don’t, nor will, I ever forgive them.