I Was Drugged
Probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to write.
Mostly because of the shame attached to that phrase and the unpleasant explanation that follows.
I didn’t want to write this. I didn’t want to file a police report. I didn’t want to pee in a cup. I didn’t want to tell my children or my mother. I didn’t want to tell my friends.
But what I don’t want more than any of that is: I don’t want that creep to do it to anyone else ever again. Because, I know – I KNOW – he has done this before. He’s done it before and he hasn’t gotten caught. He’s done it before and no one has reported it, no one has filed charges.
I arrived in Dallas from LAX the evening before an HR technology conference, in time to have a friend pick me up at the airport and go to dinner. My friend Jackie selected one of her favorite Mexican cuisine restaurants near the Turtle Creek area of Dallas. I love Mexican food — being a California native and resident, it is often the meal of choice in my home and among my friends. The small beach town where I live has several Mexican restaurants to choose from, so I was excited to try a new place.
We arrived and were seated quickly – we ordered a couple skinny margaritas and cruised over the menu several times – plus talked incessantly about life, love, and work. We were having a great time. By the time we ordered our food, our 2nd margarita arrived. Between chips and the chimichanga, plus being a “lite margarita” – Jackie and I felt no effects of the alcohol. A third round was ordered, but Jackie, being a wise and thoughtful friend, but also the driver for the evening, abstained.
It wasn’t long until a tray with two vanilla shots arrived, compliments of the Night Manager – “You ladies seem to be having a good time.” We were informed to sip it, not shoot it. Jackie took only a very small sip – but I drank it slowly down, still having felt no effects from the margaritas. Another tray of shots arrived, tequila this time. Jackie, again refused, the night manager insisted she, “Just take an Uber.” She stuck to her guns. I did the shot – within 10 minutes, the night manager was at my side, whispering and giving me a ‘scram’ head nod to, “Go the the bathroom, Rayanne.” I, innocently thinking, he wanted me to leave so he could flirt with my friend, did as he suggested.
I entered the bathroom and proceeded to use the toilet. While I was peeing, the Night Manager entered the bathroom – I froze – an intense feeling of personal danger suddenly came over me. I could see him through the crack in the bathroom door, he stood there, listening to me pee. I stared at his shoes. Then he left.
What do I do???
Thoughts began racing through my head and I felt like I was losing control. I know now, that the drug was in almost full effect at this point. I still did not comprehend the absolute fullness of what was happening to me. I washed my hands and left the bathroom quickly, but he was waiting for me outside the ladies’ room. He called my name and tried to pull me into the men’s bathroom. I pulled away and put my hand up in front of his face – my fingers extended – and screamed, “No!”
I walked/ran away as quickly as I could and grabbed Jackie, telling her, “We need to go – we need to leave – he just tried to pull me into the men’s room.” We gathered our things and went to the car — that is the last thing I remember – but not the last thing I did.
I sat down in the car, we drove to my hotel about 20 minutes away. I got out of the car, got my luggage and went to the counter. I checked into my room, giving the desk clerk my ID and credit card. I signed the receipt and put my license and my credit card back in the right place. I took the elevator to my room, used my key to enter my room, locked my door from the inside, set out my luggage, set up my computer and climbed into bed.
I don’t remember any of this.
NONE of it, I have a 4-hour block of amnesia. Complete amnesia – the next thing I do remember, slightly, is throwing up violently and showering and bathing, showering and bathing (yes, twice each) to try and rid my system of whatever I had ingested.
I was not drunk, I was not hungover – I was drugged.
How do I know? Because it has happened to me before and I was too ashamed to say anything to anyone until many years later.
When I woke the next morning, I was in bed – completely naked, my hair was sopping wet with only a vague memory of showering and bathing and throwing up during the night. I couldn’t even tell you what floor my room was on. My only clue was the key card and its cover sitting neatly next to my computer on the desk with the room number scrawled on it in Sharpie.
As I walked around my room trying to piece together what had happened, I felt a sharp pain in my foot. I looked down and saw my pinky toe sticking straight out from the side of my foot, swollen and red, bruising already started. I can only ascertain that I kicked the door jam in my hotel room in the middle of the night – I have no memory of that. But I sure felt the pain then.
I Had to Work
I was in Dallas for work — I had to pull myself together for work. I was responsible for getting things set up: for putting together equipment, for making sure everything was in place and ready for the event. I had to smile all day. And I could barely make it to the bathroom. I laid in bed wondering what to do – I shared my story, as a caution, with a FB group to which I belonged. Their support was incredible but a nagging theme emerged – while Thank God I was ok, I needed to report this.
I didn’t want to – I knew what a pain in the ass it was going to be. I pushed it to the back burner because, well – I needed to work. So, I girded my loins and I headed out the door to begin my day in an Expo Hall. A sickening nausea – the kind which accompanies a concussion – was my constant companion, along with a sore foot, dizziness, and general malaise. I got through the day, doing all I needed to do, but I was a Zombie. Some of my light had left me.
That evening I shared my story with my grown children via group text messaging. They were angry, of course, but also scared for what might have happened. They were disappointed I had not reported the crime – I countered that I didn’t have time – that I was there for work and there was still work for me to do. But I researched and researched some more. A blood test is no longer needed to see these drugs in your system – a simple urine sample will suffice, for up to 72 hours, after an encounter with Rohypnol – if it were GHB, it would already be out of my system within 12 -24 hours. So, I started planning – how can I report this, get a lab test done, and still put in 4 more hours in an Expo Hall the next day, plus pack up everything?
The Uber Driver
The next morning, I pinged for an Uber. One arrived shortly: a compact white Mazda. Harold got out of his little white car and helped me with my luggage. I relaxed instantly. Until that moment, I had been afraid – I worried I would not be able to get in the car, that my fear would overcome me, that my trust was completely lost, and that I would hold the actions of one against the many I needed to trust in my life of travel.
But, the right driver was sent to me. I asked Harold to drive me to the police station – he turned, concerned and I told him my story – he stayed with me for the next 45 minutes. He waited outside the closest police station for me – but get this, it wasn’t open — just a remote station. He waited for me outside the Starbucks where I bought breakfast for us both, while I regrouped and re-planned how I was going to do this. I had asked Harold if he had an important lady in his life – he hung his head shyly and said, “Yes, I have a special lady.” I told him to care for her and share my story – this can happen to anyone, at any time.
My trip to the police station would have to wait until later that day — I had four+ hours of work to fulfill now.
He took me to the conference center and got out of the car – he gently shook my hand and looked me in the eye saying, “Take care, Miss Rayanne. I’m sorry this happened to you.” Then he placed my luggage on the curb, looked me in the eye one more time and smiled with a nod. And with that, Harold restored my faith in mankind. He eased me back into my world. He, this man – a stranger – relit that light.
The Police Report
The day dragged with conference attendance lighter than expected. Once my colleague and I repacked all our gear and I was able to get the shipping of all our equipment secured, my friend Jackie picked me up out front. I had been given the run around over the phone from two different police departments, no one wanted to handle this. I was finally told that I should go to a local Starbucks and call 911 from there and an officer would meet me to take my report. We selected a shop right by the scene of the crime and waited for over an hour – with my flight time closing in, this inaction didn’t seem like the right course, so we bee-lined for police headquarters in downtown Dallas.
Jackie and I stormed the building ready to take on whoever got in our way. Stopped by what seemed a makeshift TSA checkpoint, two female officers were reticent to even let us in, let alone file a report. I think it became very clear that I wasn’t going anywhere until I filed a report. I said, once again – “What if this had been you or your daughter?” They let us through and I was getting ready to tell my story when I heard the sergeant say, looking down at us from behind the counter, “Unless you’ve had a lab test, there is nothing we can do.” I countered that I would be getting a lab test when I left the station – then came these words,
“Well, you weren’t raped, were you?”
I was stunned and nearly speechless. Nearly. Then I said, “So because I wasn’t raped, no crime was committed? The victim has no voice? What am I supposed to do? What do I tell my daughters?” Jackie started talking too and I think, at this point, the sergeant relented to shut us up.
What if this had been your wife, your mother, your daughter, your sister?
I wanted to scream. I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. My hands were shaking as I shared my story with a female officer who took notes and promised a detective would follow up with me. We left the station with little time to spare and a need to find a healthcare facility where I could give a urine sample.
The battle to get the right test ensued. We found a local urgent care center which couldn’t help us, not having access to a lab or the right kind of test. A nurse who heard my story and was compelled to help, made some calls and found a lab that could do the necessary test.
We called ahead, the lab assistant was ready to close for the evening. I told my story again and she stated she would stay until we arrived and take a urine sample to be submitted for a couple different tests – checking for Rohypnol and GHB. I was able to leave the sample and also had an immediate result test done that was inconclusive. The other two samples were sent off with results to be returned 3-5 days later. And I paid the $150 for the tests.
But the results were negative…
I was told that I should have had the lab tests done within the first 6 hours for the most accurate results. The disorientation and sickness caused by the drug kept me from thinking clearly in those first 12 hours. The shame and continuing sickness, as well as the need to work, kept me from going to the hospital or calling the police once I ascertained what had happened to me.
I wish I HAD called the police immediately. I just don’t how I could have done anything differently than I did. I met with my physician as soon as I returned home and asked how I might be able to follow-up with a hair follicle test 3 weeks following the incident. I had been told that the drug(s) might show up then. With four follow-up calls asking for a lab referral, I gave up.
I haven’t heard from the detective who was supposed to have called me back, though I have left two messages. Without a positive lab result, however, there is not much the police can do. It is my word against a restaurant employee of eight years.
Does it end here?
It could. It could end here with me just forgetting about it. But I cannot. I will not.
I wasn’t drunk. I didn’t have a hangover. I still suffer from the lingering effects of a drug that someone decided to give me. I was drugged by a restaurant employee I trusted who tried to drag me into the bathroom. His timing was off by about 30 seconds. I was lucky. I was lucky that I was still coherent; that I listened to my internal danger signal and my impulse to leave immediately.
But there are those who have not been lucky. And there are those who might not be lucky this weekend or next. So I bring this warning.
DO NOT ACCEPT A SHOT from a STRANGER. Any time. Any where. Ever.
DO NOT leave your drink or turn your back on it. Ever. And if you do, throw it out or get a new one.
I never will again. I want the shame on the victim of this crime to be gone. There should be NO SHAME on the victim. We live in a world where we have to trust strangers. Uber drivers. Grocery store clerks. Restaurant servers. Baristas. Mailmen. Police Officers.
This was not my fault. I didn’t ask for it and I didn’t deserve it.
No one does. Ever.
I’m not done telling this story.
I will not be quiet.