Last updated on May 26, 2016
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.
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It’s not just “do not accept a shot” – it’s more than that. Women cannot leave their drinks unattended. We can’t accept drinks from someone who could have ulterior motives. We stick with the ‘going to the bathroom together’ — because the thing about that is that it never started just to talk about men — but rather to keep ourselves from getting isolated and preyed upon.
There is some safety in numbers, but only some.
I’m so sorry you went through this.
Please don’t feel like you somehow ‘failed’ by not throwing over everything you were supposed to do for work and for your life in order to make sure that you got to the police or to a lab right away. Anyone who tells you that is victim blaming.
The person who was at fault was the person who drugged you. Not you for not reporting him soon enough.
Take care of you and don’t let this creep win.
Hi Jane —
Yes, you are right – the time I mentioned that happened to me once before? I was with a group of five men who I knew – who were colleagues. One of them decided to drug my drink. I never brought it up to any of them, never mentioned it.
It’s sad that we must be so careful, that our trusting nature is constantly compromised, that we must worry for our daughters (and sons), that my grown children must worry about their mother, that I will worry about my sisters and nieces.
Thank you for the reassurance of whose fault it is. I will stand with that and shout it from anywhere I can.
And mostly, thank you for reminding me that I didn’t ‘fail’ — for I, indeed, did feel that way.
Thank you —
Please tell me you are posting this to Yelp on the restaurant’s page and calling the owner of the restaurant to report the night manager. I’d also try to find the name of the night manager and start writing their name in your articles with their photo if possible.
Hi Elizabeth —
This story has been posted to Yelp by several people. Yelp takes it down, because there are no charges and no proof. Sad, but I will still scream the story!!
Rayanne, I am angered that this happened to you. You are a brave, smart and willing to share. Thank you for that. Watch out – he messed with the wrong woman.
Thank you, Lisa —
“He messed with the wrong woman.” That is exactly what I told the owner of the restaurant.
I’m so sorry that this happened to you and to the thousands if not millions of other women who have been violated in this way. I can’t even wrap my mind around how a man can do this to a woman.
I agree, never take a drink sent to you by a man and never leave your drink unattended. It’s a shame that a woman is put in the situation where they have to be so cautious but, unfortunately, it’s necessary.
Furthermore, never worry about offending a man for refusing his drink offer. If he is offended by your actions, he’s not likely someone you would want to share a drink with. If he’s more concerned with his image than your safety, he’s not a man worth knowing.
When traveling, this is especially important. Just last week, my wife was traveling from Philadelphia to Kansas City and had two men on the same plane acted inappropriately with her. I just can’t understand how a man can justify making inappropriate remarks and touching someone without their permission let alone drugging them and raping them.
There needs to be consequences for this type of behavior but there rarely is. If men think they can get away with kind of behavior, they will continue to act out. Punish the perpetrators not the victims.
– Michael Port
Thank you, Michael — I hope my message gets shared to all the people who need to hear it – who need to be wary.
I’m so very sorry this happened to your wife.
This type of abusive behavior will continue until we shine the light on the perpetrator and remove the shame from the victim.
You are amazing and so courageous! So grateful you shared your story. Your desire to be heard and bravery to speak up makes me stronger in so many ways.
Thank you, Rachelle! Sharing and writing helps me find my own strength!
First of all, I am so sorry this happened to you but I am so thankful you were courageous enough to at least TRY to report and “do something”. I, too, was drugged at a bar, and subsequently raped by the head of security of a Holiday Inn in Skokie, Illinois. I have been fighting my fight since 10/02/2013. I was traveling alone for work when, on my last evening on-site, I had put in a 12+hour day and was exhausted so made my now-regretful decision to have dinner at the hotel restaurant/bar. I KNOW when I left the hospital, I KNOW when I got to the hotel, and I vaguely remember ordering dinner and 2 cosmos. After that my evening goes dark except for periodic “snapshots” or dream-like images that go over and over in my mind. I do not remember how I got to my room, but I did, and, at some point after that this security guard entered my room, and raped me. NO ONE is safe when traveling alone; we think hotels are supposed to be ‘safe’, but it you only knew…..I cannot speak a lot about my case as I am currently have an open civil suit in Cook County Illinois against the hospitality company among others who failed to keep me safe under their policies. I also tried to immediately report but was unable to get any assistance from O’Hare Police or Chicago Police. Once back in DFW I called raped crisis and they immediately told me to meet them and a police officer at the nearest hospital, where I underwent a SANE exam (rape kit), which lasted around 5 hours, and where my husband met me, after I had asked the police officer not to call him, but he did anyway. That was hard; facing him, but he was so supportive. My case report and rape kit were then transferred to the Skokie Police department in Skokie, Ilinois, which, BTW happened to be literally 500 yards BEHIND the Holiday Inn where I had stayed the night of my assault. I had no idea of this until I went back on 02/09/2015 to file my civil suit and my attorney, my husband, and myself met with the Skokie PD, the detective who was assigned to my case, and one of Cook County’s State Attorney (both of which, BTW told me and my attorney “there is unfortunately no test that can be done unless I specifically know what I was drugged with, that can be done to test for date-rape drugs in my system through blood or urine analysis”. I KNEW that was a lie then and I KNOW THAT IS INCORRECT NOW.
I kept in touch with the detective on my case, at first calling at least weekly; truly believing he cared and was working my case as hard as I thought. Months passed. My rape kit came back “positive for DNA”. I was told the man I described was known by this detective during our first conversation. He told me on several occasions he “had eyes” on this man. I was also told that he had been terminated from his position at the hotel. I later found out the reality was he remained employed by this Holiday Inn and the hospitality company that owned it plus other hotels in the Chicago area, until the date we filed our civil suit (02/09/2015), when he was apparently terminated. Once my kit came back positive, the detective asked the “accused”; you know the “innocent until proven guilty” shit you get from what feels like everyone…..He declined. A warrant was then obtained and he had no choice. During all of this time, he had told many variations of “his side of the story”, all of which were lies. Once we had his DNA it was sent to the Cook County State Lab for processing. This took MONTHS…..but, finally it did come back and the DNA in my rape it MATCHED the DNA that was taken from my RAPIST. I felt vindicated….but what came next would rock our world. There are details I cannot talk about here, but it came down to the fact that the hotel had a crappy surveillance system, and this one person, the person who raped me, was the only person on staff that knew how to work the system. What a crock of shit. I was told that after review of my case, and because my blood and urine had not been sent for analysis because “unless I knew what I was drugged with, there was not test they could run to see if I had any drugs in my system”, that the States Attorney did not believe my case was worthy of their time because it was not one they could win…….Another disgusting truth….if they don’t think they will WIN, they don’t want to TRY TO WIN….Over the past 2 years, 4 months, and 24 days, I have been waiting, for what I’m not sure….I too, KNOW my rapist has raped before. He had the perfect setup….access to anyone who stayed at the hotel, their information, when they were in and out of the hotel, if they were alone…..you get the idea…..
During the investigation the Skokie PD Detective assured me he had eyes on this “accused” and he knew where he worked and where he lived. The day we filed out lawsuit against the hotel, its parent company, owners, managers, etc., he was REALLY TERMINATED…..and disappeared from the planet as far as we can tell. Our PIs were unable to locate him at any of the 3 known addresses we had for him, and, of course, he was not employed at the hotel anymore.
There are things you do not know, or can’t even imagine, #TIHTY….#tillithappenstoyou…..the aftermath, the pain, the nightmares, the PTSD, the testing you must undergo because even though his DNA matched my rape kit, he was never forced to undergo HIV testing, or any testing for that matter, during the multitude of times he was either questioned while working at the hotel, or while being “interrogated” by the SPD before they decided to let him go; however, I underwent over 1 year of HIV testing, and doctor visits to make sure I had not contracted anything; you can imaging how this effects a marriage. He is still out there, somewhere, preying on other victims. I am sure of it. This event and the days, months, YEARS, that have followed have been almost unbearable. I was fired from the employer whom I was working for at the time of my assault (traveling 90% of the time for work). Until we #STARTBYBELIEVING EVERY RAPE VICTIM, as statistics show less than 3% of all reported assaults are FALSE. In hindsight, I look back at my dream job that I had worked so hard to be qualified for and had put in 32 years to get there, I am angry that during my very intensive 6-week employee training program which was spent traveling, we were NEVER ONCE given any training on “How to travel safe in the US or out of the US.” We had been trained on how much money we would get per day, on conclusion reports, and other company rules, but NOTHING, NOT ONE WORK ON SAFETY. I find this a HUGE problem within large corporations who have traveling employees. I could write so much more, but I just want to say, thank you for speaking out. Thank you for being smart. Thank you for being persistent. Even though you were not assaulted, being drugged is very scary. I have found that the more I tell people about what happened to me, I am realizing how far we are from preventing sexual assault in our country or anywhere. I can say that 99% of all women I have ever spoken with regarding my “story” have had their own “stories” to tell. It shocks me….but until we #ENDRAPECULTURE, until we #ENDTHEBACKLOG of thousands and thousands of rape kits, until we #RISEUP and support victims, these VIOLENT CRIMINALS will continue to rape. It is truly shameful the way VICTIMS are treated when reporting an assault. Even though I did “what is expected of a victim” (I reported, I underwent a SANE exam, and I worked with the police all I could), they DID NOT do their part…..they let my rapist go…..they said, “I’m sorry, but our hands are tied”; the felony review came back and decided not to file charges…which let my rapist go free, without HIV testing, and since charges were never filed, his DNA from MY RAPE KIT was never ran through CODIS to see if anyone else had ever reported being assaulted by him. Unless he is charged, states are not obligated to send DNA through CODIS. RAPE should be treated as violent as MURDER. The statue of limitations should be NONE…..my life is forever changed. I cannot work due to extreme anxiety, panic attacks, and fear. I am including a link to my “story” for anyone who wants to visit it, or if you know someone or have been effected in this way. There is assistance for us; rape crisis saved my life. Here is the link to my story…please share….seeking other victims….. http://www.prweb.com/releases/chicago-injury-lawyers/hotel-security-lawsuit/prweb12506237.htm
Wow!! Karla — that is such a scary, horrible situation — I hope it gets settled soon and that you are able to move past it. I am happy to share your story, as well!
Thank You for sharing these stories. I shared them in a Facebook group that includes many women who travel solo and stay in hotels by themselves. When I started traveling there was no corporate training on safety. It was the other women at the company who gave me their safety tips by word of mouth and I have passed this on to other women. Hopefully your story will help other women be safe and avoid a situation like the one you experienced.
Glad you have a “team” around helping to keep the women in your company safe – it is sad we even have to think about this or be on the watch – but the more you know, the more we share, the safer we will be.
[…] recently published a post about an incident in Dallas when I was traveling for work. I was drugged by a bartender / night manager, who followed me into the bathroom and subsequently tried to pull me […]
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Two months back, I came across similar case, here in Indian city-Pune. Girl was out with her office colleague to attend office party on Sunday. This colleague drugged her herbal tea while they were at restaurant. When she lost her consciousness, this man took her at his residence and raped her with four other friends. She was continuously raped from afternoon until midnight and did not even realize the same. Victim woke-up at around 3 AM because of unbearable pain in her abdomen and saw all these guys sitting naked around her.
Surprisingly, news reports also suggest that there was another lady (office colleague) who was watching this gang rape. They threatened her to not to report the matter to anyone, and her office colleague dropped her back home. As the girl was not able to bear the pain, she told her father whatever she remembered and they approached cops.
This is evil world to be honest, and girls cannot trust anyone. It’s better not to drink anything while out with friends to be on safer side.
Wow — Nitten – THAT is a terrible story –
I hope this young woman was able to recover – I am so sorry this happened to her.
Please be careful, everyone, This is an evil that has been allowed to exist.
Is there any reason why you can’t or shouldn’t share the name of the restaurant?
Certainly the owner, who is ultimately responsible for who she/he hires would either do the right thing or suffer the consequences of the good people of Dallas not frequenting his establishment.
Plus, who knows, someone may know this jerk who did this terrible, despicable thing to you and teach him a lesson he’ll never forget.
I’m so sorry for you and the rest of the women who have suffered as a result of these terrible drugs getting into the hands of unscrupulous men.
Thanks for your comment. I have wrestled with this over and over again. I am not in a position at this time to share publicly the name of the restaurant, it’s owner, or the name of the manager / bartender. Because there is not proof, it is only my word against theirs, and the owner has made it clear that he is siding with the employee – who still has a job. I’ve also been blocked from being able to send messages to the owner through FB. I do have a phone number and have called several times. It is a shame that I fear repercussions, isn’t it?
I have friends who have left Yelp messages that were removed with Yelp citing “this is a legal matter”
There may come a time when my lawyer tells me it’s ok to publicly name the restaurant. I am comfortable giving it out privately – so if you are really interested, please message me!
[…] spring, I wrote about how being drugged by a restaurant manager while on a business trip to Dallas. Coupled with the sudden and unexpected ending of my marriage, […]
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