I’ve never been one to worry about accepting free drinks from strangers and can’t recall a night out when I wasn’t at least offered one. A free drink is the best kind of drink, isn’t it? The roofie stories I heard were like myths recited during high school drug and alcohol classes. I never actually knew someone who experienced it first-hand… until it happened to me.
- I’ve never felt the need to track my drinks. I wouldn’t think twice about a stranger bringing me a drink from the bar and often left my drink on the table when I went to the bathroom because bar bathrooms are gross, obviously. So, when a group of guys offered to buy me a shot, I didn’t hesitate to accept. The bar was crowded, so I turned my back on them while chatting with friends until they were back. We clinked glasses and I threw it back proudly. I’m not one of those girls that needs to plug her nose for a shot of whiskey. When I try to bring the night back, and I’ve tried so many times, this is where it ends for me.
- I went from zero to incoherent in a matter of minutes. Rohypnol causes sleepiness and amnesia, so my only recollection of the night is the first hour at the bar and waking up with an IV in my arm. We had just ordered our first round of drinks and my friends know that I’m not a lightweight. I hold the record of “last girl standing” in a marathon of keg stands, so when I couldn’t pick my head up from the table within an hour of arriving, they knew something was up. They carried me out like a wounded soldier and took me straight to the hospital.
- I was so lucky that my friends were looking out for me. This story could’ve had a very different ending, resulting in a lot of therapy, if it wasn’t for my friends. At the risk of sounding like your mom, always adhere to the buddy system. I’m serious. It’s even better if you have a sober friend in the bunch. If my friends had left my side, even for a minute, those guys could have easily carried me out of the bar and anywhere they wanted.
- I felt a strange sense of guilt. Though my friends kept a close watch on me until I was at the hospital, the doctors insisted that I have a rape kit. I couldn’t help but criticize myself for being so damn naive. Could this have been completely avoided if my skirt wasn’t so short? If I wasn’t such a flirt? I was almost too embarrassed to call my parents and couldn’t bear to add another worry to their plate. I felt like the poster child for bad decisions.
- Imagine your worst hangover, then multiply it by 10. The guilt was briefly masked by the worst hangover of my life. My heart was pounding out of my chest and I was short of breath, absolutely convinced that I was dying. I had stomach pains that persisted for two days, most likely from being violently ill. It felt like an alien was trying to bust through my skull. On top of it all, I was berated with questions from campus officials, doctors, and police. I appreciated their diligence but wished they could come back when I wasn’t in literal hell.
- It’s infuriating that this is something we have to worry about. One in six women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. How’s that for an alarming statistic? On a long list of things we have to worry about daily, from walking alone at night to aggressive cat-callers, we now have to guard our drinks from desperate perverts without a conscience, as well. Lucky us.
- Rohypnol tablets are less than five bucks a tablet. Ruining someone’s life comes at the same price as a Subway foot long. What a deal. More likely than not though, it’s GHB or Zolpidem (Ambien) that slips innocently out of pockets and into our drinks. And how’s this for accessible? Anyone with a smartphone can easily google “how to make GHB” for a recipe from the Julia Child of assault.
- There isn’t a foolproof way to ensure that it won’t happen again. You bet that I’ll be watching my drinks like a hawk from now on. I’ll also be watching my friends’ drinks and the drinks of every other random girl in the bar. That’s if I can ever stomach alcohol again. For now, I’m basically the chaperone on every girls’ night out and I’m totally OK with that.
- Here’s the good news: there’s a nail polish that detects date rape drugs. In an effort to keep their female friends safe at the bar, four male students from NC State invented a nail polish that changes colors when you dip it in a drink that’s been drugged. Thanks for using your Bunsen burners for good, guys! “Undercover Colors” hasn’t been released yet to the public, but as soon as it does, I’m buying it for every woman I know. Not only will our nails look amazing, they’ll have the potential to save a life.