I Was Drugged & Still Don’t Know If I Was Victim Of “Date Rape”

I Was Drugged, And I Still Don’t Know If I Was A Victim Of Date Rape

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“Forbidden to remember, terrified to forget; it was a hard line to walk.”
― Stephenie Meyer, New Moon

The mind is a funny thing. It is capable of so much and holds not only the keys to our past, but insights into our personality — and our future. It is a repository of information and a playground. The mind is responsible for things like intuition and muscle memory, and it is both a super computer and your mother’s hope chest. There are memories, to be sure, but there is also data. It stores and processes a plethora of information.

And yet there is one thing that my mind cannot recover. There is one moment she still cannot process or recall. And that moment, which transpired nearly 10 years ago, is a dark spot: one which I am forbidden to remember, but terrified to forget. So what is it? What is this shameful secret? Well, I still do not know what happened on a warm, summer day in Atlantic City when I was slipped a roofie and (potentially) date raped.

Ironically, memories of the day itself are quite clear. I checked into the Tropicana Hotel — a cute, Cuban-inspired resort — around noon. I went to a beach bar, where I ordered a daiquiri. I sipped on the icy beverage as I wrote feverishly. And then I took to the Boardwalk. I strolled up and down the Atlantic coast. But soon after I became hungry, so I walked into Hooters, grabbing a table for one.

The rest of the afternoon was rather boring. I ate and wrote, wrote and ate, and I ordered a couple more drinks. I was in my 20s, and the only thing greater than my writerly ambitions was my alcohol tolerance. But as the sun set that evening, things changed. The tone of the day changed, and sometime after 9:00 p.m., something was slipped into my drink by a chatty man — one who was very curious about my job and the fact that I was in “the city” alone.

Now, I know what you may be thinking: How do I know I was drugged? I mean, what’s the difference between being roofied and being blackout drunk? That’s a valid question, one which I unfortunately know the answer to because 1) I had and have been blackout drunk and 2) I have been drugged. The absence of time is similar, to be sure. The darkness. The emptiness. The blank space. But when you are blackout drunk, you recall being drunk. There are moments, memories of stumbling and laughing or throwing up. But when you are roofied, things go dark in an instant. I went from feeling slightly buzzed to very, very off.

I threw money on the bar while my “friend” was in the bathroom. I called my husband quickly, abandoning my drink. And my husband heard the quality of my voice change during the five minute call (of which I have no recollection). He told me he was scared. He kept asking if I was alone.

To be clear, I don’t know what happened that evening. I lost nearly 12 hours. There isn’t a single blip in my mind. I didn’t wake with a headache or for a bathroom break, and while my hotel room was locked, the chain wasn’t on. I was dressed, but who knows. I told my husband there was a man there but I’ll never know. Instead, I wonder. I try not to think about it, but it is always in the back of my mind.

I’ve never spoken about this before. Not in therapy. Not with my friends, and certainly not publicly. This is a secret I’ve kept for nearly 10 years, and the reason is threefold. There is shame. I feel guilty. Naive. I believed (and, in some ways, still believe) the attack was my fault. I was in a bar, alone, after all. A woman and a drink.

There is anger, aimed both the man who drugged me and myself. I am frustrated that I didn’t go to a doctor or the police. A rape kit was never done. I’ll never truly know. I am ashamed, for speaking to him and with him. For engaging. I knew better. I should have stayed away. But the real reason why I haven’t talked about it before because I don’t know what to say. Everything stopped. My mind went black. I lost half a day. And how do you talk about something so absent, so vague and nondescript? How do you talk about something you can’t recall?

But I’ve decided to share my story because it is that: my story. I also hope that I am able to help someone else; not necessarily to protect them, because I can’t do that, but I want others to realize they are not bad. They haven’t failed, and I want to people like me to feel less crazy. Less shameful. Less victimized. Less alone.

If you believe you are or have been the victim of sexual assault, contact RAINN at 1-800-656-HOPE.