As a college student, I didn’t think anything bad would ever happen to me. No matter how many horror stories I heard about girls getting taken advantage of or how often I heard about the effects of underage drinking or blacking out from drinking too much, I never thought things like that could happen to me. I, like so many other college girls out there, thought I was invincible, and I thought I could do whatever I wanted and never face any repercussions.
But one Friday night, I was proven wrong, and my perception of drinking was changed forever.
My hair was perfectly straight, my heels were on and I was ready to get my Friday night started. Friday night is one of the biggest nights out at my school, as so many local bars and nightclubs have great drink specials and amazing DJs then. Going out didn’t sound appealing to me, but all of my friends were begging me to join them, so I decided to suck it up and go. I love to go out with my friends and have fun, but for some reason, I wasn’t feeling it that night.
After meeting up with a couple of my girlfriends, we walked to our friend Brad’s* house to pregame before we went out to a bar. We went to Brad’s house almost every weekend, so it had become a place where I always felt safe. We casually drank until it was time to head out for the night.
That’s the last thing I remember from that night.
I woke up in my bed the next morning with a horrible headache, an aching body and cuts all over my legs. I had never been so confused in my life—I remembered absolutely nothing from the night before. I remembered being at Brad’s house, but I didn’t remember leaving. The day before was just as much of a blur; as I couldn't even remember little things, like what I had for dinner.
My initial thought was that I got too drunk and either got into a fight or fell down, which would explain the bruises and cuts. I am a pretty clumsy person, so falling would be nothing new for me.
After talking with my friends, they told me that after Brad’s house we went to a nearby bar for a few hours. They told me I’d been very intoxicated and fell face-first after getting out of a taxi, which was the reason behind all of my battle wounds. I felt extremely embarrassed. Not only did I not remember a single person I talked to, a single song I danced to or a single drink I had at the bar, but I’d made a complete fool out of myself. It was the worst feeling in the world.
My body had never felt like that before. I was dizzy, I had blurred vision, I still felt loopy and I was generally confused about everything that was going on. This feeling was different than a hangover; it was 10 times worse. I knew something was wrong, and I needed to figure out what it was.
My friends explained that I’d hit my head pretty hard, which was why the pain was unbearable. I’ve had a concussion before and felt like I might have one again, so I decided to go to the emergency room to get it checked out.
After getting multiple tests done, including blood work, vision tests, a rape kit (which is not an experience I wish anyone to go through) and a test confirming that I did in fact have a mild concussion, the doctor came back to my room with startling news: I had been roofied.
He told me that he found Rohypnol, also known as roofies or the date-rape drug, in my system, and a lot of it. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Rohypnol, it is a pill that can be slipped into drinks, which makes the drinker black out and act extremely intoxicated. Rohypnol also affects your memory, even your memory of events that happened before you have the pill in your body. The pill can sometimes make your pupils increase in size and cause vomiting, a coma and even death.
This was such a scary moment for me, but it made a lot of sense. I knew I hadn’t drank enough to black out, so the fact that I had been roofied was believable. Though I knew about Rohypnol, I never had heard of anyone getting drugged at my school before. I consider my college a pretty safe place for the most part, so it was mind-blowing that someone would do this to me.
Luckily, I have amazing friends who had stayed with me all night until I went to bed, afraid that something bad might happen to me. If I hadn't had my friends by my side, someone could have easily taken me home and taken advantage of me. I cannot be thankful enough for having such great friends who have my back and are watching out for me no matter what.
My doctor recommended that I tell an official at my school what happened. After going into my campus safety office and explaining to a security officer what happened, I had to see an employee at the health and wellness center, who made sure I was doing okay. Talking to officials at my school two times about what happened was hard for me to do. I was uncomfortable talking about it. After a whole week of being asked what happened to me, explaining the pain I had gone through was upsetting and starting to get to me.
Although this has happened over a month ago, I still think, “Why me?” Why did I have to be the one who got drugged? It took me a few weeks to even consider drinking again because I was so traumatized about what I went through.
The important message to learn from my story is that situations like this can happen to anyone and anywhere. No matter how safe you feel or no matter how much you trust the people around you, there’s always a chance it could happen to you. Whenever you’re consuming alcohol, it is so important to constantly keep an eye on your drink. If you ever wake up one morning and think something is wrong, the best option is to go to the doctor, no matter what.
The best piece of advice I have is to never blame yourself if this happens to you. After weeks of thinking it was my fault that I was drugged, I am finally able to say that I’m so much of a better person than the individual who drugged me.
*Name has been changed.
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