Tag Archives: I was drugged

HUMANITY, LIFESTYLE, WELLNESS

The Impact Continues: I was Drugged

The Impact

Last spring, I wrote about being drugged by a restaurant manager while on a business trip to Dallas. Coupled with the sudden and unexpected ending of my marriage, my recovery from that incident has been slow and methodical. I have taken the time I needed to “get well,” if you will. Multiple doctor’s visits, lab tests, dietary and exercise changes, long road trips (road therapy), as well as addressing a new-found mental stress has been imperative to my recovery.

I wish I could say that this was the first time I had been drugged, it was not – but it has become the one that mattered, the one that scared me, the one where I was almost raped. Perhaps it is because I am more aware of the danger, or because of my age, or simply because my three daughters are the ages where this could easily happen to one of them. Or maybe it is because I want my son to be supportive of women’s issues and really understand why women are afraid, concerned, and becoming more vocal.

I Will NOT Forget Being Drugged

I won’t forget. Mostly because I cannot, but also because there is now a calling before me – one I did not want. I really didn’t want it, but I cannot remove the impact, anymore than I can remove the incident. It has taken me a week to even write about the latest. Writing about my life is much like giving birth, for it is painful, it is embarrassing, it is necessary. The birthing is a required step.
So here it is.

The Latest

Last week, I attended a book release party for a local new author: his first book filled with his experiences and the photographs he had taken. A novice author, an amateur photographer putting his experiences of traveling 15,000 miles on 2,500 paddle outs on a Stand-Up Paddleboard. Right up my alley, I have a couple Stand-up Boards and I love the ocean as a swimmer, boogie boarder, diver, snorkeler, observer, and wannabe surfer. I wanted to be a part of this event. I purchased a book and had my book signed by the Author/ Paddle Boarder, Rich German and asked if he’d be a guest on my podcast after the new year. Earlier in the evening, I had watched my drink made, as has become my practice, and proceeded to make some new friends, refreshed current relationships, and ended my evening with an excitement about my expanded local network.

I proceeded to my car, where I sat for a moment and texted a friend. While I sat there, I watched, what appeared to be, two very drunk women try to walk up the inclined street where I was parked; they had just left the same event where I had been. One of them kept falling down. My selfish brain told me to ignore them and drive away – as I had plans for the evening. But my heart (and ultimately my head) would not let me. I got out of my car and walked over to where they were resting on someone else’s vehicle, one of them barely able to hold her head up. I asked if they were alright and if I could give them a ride home. I could not let them get in their own car or an Uber in their condition. I could not drive away because when I had been drugged, a good friend and extended network had taken care of me. I needed to help them – I needed to make sure they were safe.

They were rightfully leery

Who is this stranger wanting to help us? Why do you want to help us? Are you an Uber driver? Is this your job? and…, Are you an angel?

I told them my name several times, as they asked several times, I assured them I only wanted to make sure they made it home, safe and sound. One lived in the city immediately north of Laguna Beach (where we were) and the other lived in the city immediately south – no where near each other, and not close by, at all. Fearing they would pass out, I asked for their addresses first thing. After a very eventful drive, one that included one of them throwing up all over my front seat and the other accusing me of kidnapping several times, I was able to get them both to their front doors. The discovery of a missing wallet just before I dropped the second lady off prompted me to return to the restaurant where the event had been held and search everywhere for the lost wallet – leaving my name and phone number at the front desk; I even searched the street where I had found them, but to no avail.
I worried they would think I had stolen the wallet.

I didn’t care that there was throw up all over my car. I didn’t care that I’d had to talk the woman in the back seat down from her metaphorical ledge. I didn’t care that this had taken 1.5 hours out of my night. I only cared that they had made it home.

I couldn’t stop thinking about them and the next morning, I called the one whose phone number I had. She’d had a rough night, as had her friend and they had come to the conclusion that they had been drugged. They had been drugged. They think they had picked up a drink that had not belonged to them. I told her about my drugging and cautioned her to never turn her back on a drink or consume anything with which that was unfamiliar or a drink she had not seen poured.

Like me – like my incident, they were ladies out for an evening together – out to have fun, at a place they knew.

I sobbed.

I cried that night as I drove away from the restaurant following my search. I cried again when I hung up the phone the next morning. I do not want this to be my calling. But I don’t think I would have been able to sleep that night or lived with myself – period – had I driven away.

Taking Care of Each Other

We must. We need each other. Yes, there is evil out there – but there is more good than evil.

Be the good. 

HR, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH

“It’s” a Shame, Not Me.

I wrote and I published.

I recently published a post about an incident in Dallas while I was traveling for work. I was drugged at a trusted restaurant by a bartender / night manager, who followed me into the bathroom and subsequently tried to pull me in the men’s room. This happened in the middle of April, and it has traumatized me far more than I like to admit. I have kept up a good front and tried to smile through it all.

I originally wrote the referenced post a few days after the drugging occurred, but I was unable to actually hit the publish button until 4+ weeks later. I still suffer from nausea, dizziness, insomnia, digestive issues, and headaches. What I don’t know is if these are the ill-effects of the drug or is it how I have reacted mentally to what happened. I will survive, trust me and I will scream what happened to me from the rooftops. I will post, comment, tweet, snap, pin, insta, and link it to as many different sites, to as many different people, as possible.

Why the Follow-Up?

I write this follow-up because I have been overwhelmed by the hundreds of people who have messaged me in public and private about their own terror and their own brush with this type of drugging. Innocent women AND men who felt the shame I felt, who still carry those scars with them, who were violated in one way or another, who were raped or robbed, abused and broken.

In conversations, written and spoken with friends and others in my own town of Laguna Beach, I have heard from or about dozens of individuals who experienced this here, in their own town – they weren’t traveling and they were at popular, local restaurants or bars. Most had been raped.

I know I was lucky

I know this – I know that my situation could have been far worse. There have been times when I wish it had been, so medical professionals and law enforcement officers, and even some friends and family, had taken me more seriously. That is sad – that is horrifying. I KNOW it could have been worse, but saying to me, “At least you weren’t raped” doesn’t ease my suffering or take away my nightmares. It makes me shake with anger for the many who were, scream for the men who were robbed or beaten, and cry for the young girl whose boyfriend betrayed her, beat her, and dumped her outside of her apartment. And continue to weep for those who hide their shame, who still haven’t told anyone of their terror – because they fear, because they want to forget.
But they won’t ever. I won’t ever.

I know why.

I have also heard why they keep it a secret. Why they cloak their faces. Why they avert their eyes.
Why they feel shame.

“Well, you shouldn’t have been drinking.”
“See what happens when you drink?”
“You shouldn’t travel alone.”
“You need to be more careful.”
“Stop talking to people you don’t know.”
“Maybe you need to slow down.”
“This only happens at frat parties or on college campuses.”
“Such a new and horrible thing that is happening.”
“What were you wearing?”
“Did you show cleavage?”
“Did you flirt with him?”
“Why did you give him your name?”

“You shouldn’t have been drinking…”

  • I wasn’t drunk – I didn’t drink too much.
  • This happened to individuals drinking water, Diet Coke, Red Bull, Lemonade, and so on.
  • I have to travel alone AND I like traveling alone.
  • Yes, I will be more careful and will never again take a drink from someone I don’t know or don’t see them pour. Nor will I leave my drink alone or turn my back on it. This one I accept.
  • I will always talk to people I don’t know – it’s who I am, it’s what I do.
  • I’ll slow down when I’m dead.
  • No, it doesn’t only happen to young women in college. I’m 52.
  • NOT new. One friend told me about how it happened to her 40+ years ago. Oh, and Bill Cosby. Not new.
  • I was wearing a tank top with a sweater and baggy pants from Talbots (better known as the old lady store – because guess what? I’m an old lady)
  • Yes, cleavage was showing. Guess what? I have cleavage.
  • I wasn’t flirting, but if I had been – would that have made it ok? I was smiling. I was happy. Was.
  • He had my name because I paid the bill with my credit card
    (Which, interestingly enough was refunded a few days after the incident.)
  • And this happened because it just did and it does to too many people all the time, every day. And it happened because it is a crime that bad people get away with. No one presses charges because it is nearly impossible to get a conviction or even charges. And because someone close to them says or asks the things above. Because we, the victims, are shamed.

No, your Diet Coke won’t protect you.

Blame it on alcohol or the fact that I had a couple drinks?
Blame it on me for traveling alone?
Blame it on what I was wearing?
Blame it on me for being gregarious?

Blame it on everyone or every thing but the man who did this to me and the restaurant who covered it up?

This is real – this is a real danger we all face in our world.  This could have been your daughter, mother, sister. It could have been YOU.

No one “deserves” this.

I didn’t get what was coming to me and I refuse to be a woman who plays the victim, who locks her door every second of every day, one who carries a stick with her everywhere.
Because I fear. Because it could happen again. Because there are bad people.
There are also good people. There are more good people.
And there are MORE people than you know who have been drugged by someone who wanted to take advantage of them in one way or another. 

We need to make it NOT alright for someone to get away with this.

MANY people have messaged me privately and publicly to say this has happened to them, too. Thank you to those who were brave enough to do so, and I’m so sorry. To those who couldn’t or didn’t message me, I get it, I understand. You are not alone. And I am so sorry you went through this and felt you had no recourse, no one to share it with, no one to report this crime to.

It’s not just women who are raped.
It’s not just women.
It’s not just someone drinking alcohol.
It’s not just someone dressed sexily or one who flirts.
It’s not someone was out or traveled alone.

Not my first rodeo

This happened to me before at an industry event in Las Vegas, at a Human Resources and Recruiting Conference. Someone I knew drugged me. I kept quiet because I was embarrassed. Because I didn’t know what I could do. Because I felt shame. Because I wasn’t sure who did it and I was worried about them and not me.

I will not ever be quiet about this. I won’t be quiet again.

LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH, WELLNESS

My Story, My Warning: I was Drugged.

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.

The Story

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.