The past couple of weeks have been hard for me. I’ve sat on whether I should share my slightly traumatic experience or not or if I was ready…and after sitting on it a while I think I am. It’s more than needed and much bigger than just me. Me and one of my closest friends decided to go out a few weeks ago on a Friday. We specifically were going out because my social anxiety has stopped me from going out completely. I’ve never been a home body but for the past 6 months that is exactly what I’ve become. Something inside of both of us knew going out that night didn’t feel right but since we felt we had already went out of our way to get ready then we might as well.
We spent the night going to a few bars and we stopped at an art gallery. At the last bar where we were at the longest, we had a two drinks and talked to some people we knew. The last thing I remembered was talking to a mutual friend and after that I remembered nothing. 2 drinks in and I am suddenly in the car with my friend and her car is stuck on some train tracks in an area I couldn’t even identify. That part I only remember briefly. Apparently I got upset that my friend started freaking and being completely incoherent (just like me) and I wandered off in the middle of the night having a bad trip off of god knows what. Never in my life had me or my friend blacked out off of only 2 drinks. It was obvious something was slipped into our drinks just based on how we were acting. The fact that all of that had to be relayed back to me and I couldn’t remember anything or who I was around after that point is scary as is.
Luckily I had enough sense to call my mom after wandering off and my friends were able to get to me. The night resulted in me injuring myself and I have tissue damage from a high ankle sprain and I’ve been on crutches for the past two weeks. But the worst part was my sense of peace that has been taken away and the confusion. I am 90% nothing was done to me and that we left at a good time. But reality has set in, in a way I would never wish on anyone. Of course as a woman you know that things like this are serious and can happen to anyone. But you don’t truly think it can happen to you until it does. I always assumed date rape drugs were only slipped into drinks at house parties and Frat events. Never did I think while at a bar with tons of people there, that someone would try something like that in such a crowded place. In a sense I blame myself for being so naive.
But on the other hand I blame the intentions of men. I blame parents that never enforced respect or consent. I blame society for putting out silent messages to men that they are entitled to a woman’s body. I’ve been sad and I’ve been angry. I feel violated and yet I feel grateful. Grateful because I don’t fully know what the intentions were going to be behind that person putting something in my drink. I don’t know how that situation would have turned out had we stayed any longer than we did. I’m glad something told us to leave. But I am saddened to know that this is common. It makes me sad that there are many other girls who weren’t as lucky as me when it happened to them. This situation is so much bigger than me and has opened my eyes immensely. This further emphasizes for me how important it is as women for us to stick together. I have a brother, and he was just as angry as I was when I woke up the morning after. This is why it is so important for more men to be feminists. We need your support. We need good men as allies to call other shitty men on their entitlement and cruelty.
I tried to tell myself that this was no big deal because I turned out fine. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t jumpy while out or that my anxiety hasn’t been through the roof. It would be dishonest of me to act like I didn’t lose sleep over this some nights or like that gap in my memory of that night doesn’t haunt me. I’ve blamed myself for what happened to my friend and for leaving. I’ve blamed myself for being so trusting. But quite frankly, fuck all of that because I should be able to go out and have fun and feel safe. I shouldn’t have to feel like there is a target on my back when I’m out with a friend to have fun and enjoy myself. Unfortunately that’s the world we live in and I had to learn the hard way that I need to go to more extreme measures of protecting my well being than I had been. I’m okay with rising to the occasion but I ask of all of you to do the same for yourselves and each other. I hope this is something we can all learn from.
To all women,
I sincerely will never sleep on the possibilities of what we go through/could potentially go through again. Never again will I turn a blind eye to when another woman may be in danger or need help. I ask for all of you to check in with your fellow women when you see them out? Pay attention to your surroundings for yourself and for the sake of other women. Tell other women about potentially harmful men. Speak up about your abusers, tell us who they are. I personally would never judge another woman or shame her for coming forth to tell me that a guy I know is known to rape or assault women. We need to make it easier/safer for one another to reach out for support or help. I ask this of all of you because only we truly know what we go through. We read the body language of each other so well. When you see another woman being harassed check on her, walk with her, have 911 on speed dial. Be a source of light and protection in a world where a girl can’t even safely go out with her friend and get a drink. To the men who speak up, who protect women, who respect women, and their consent I salute you and have nothing but love for you.