Before reading this. Know this is personal. Not many people know this story. This isn't as easy as one may think it is for me to tell. I am the way am because of all my life experiences. I strive to be a good person each & everyday, to live a good life.. Because I know life isn't always easy, so I am very thankful to have a good life now. I'm sure more hardship will come my way, such is life, but I will conquer it as I always do.
You know that Bill Cosby thing. That one thing, I know you're thinking it. Where all these women come forward accusing him of date rape, but can't prove it. Isn't that how date rape works? Isn't that why so many get away with it? This subject, apparent on my personal facebook page, hits a nerve with me every time I see another story of another woman coming forward or a story of someone calling the women attention seekers, looking for a paycheck.
Well let me tell you, until it happens to you, sit down & shut up. The people who criticize & mock these women are the reason men continue to get away with it. The critics are the reason women are afraid to come forward.
The period after my divorce was a tumultuous time. As it is for many & we all deal in our own way. Exercising & going out for drinks was my way of getting away from my thoughts, my saddness, & my trying to figure out how to create a new future. Most nights, would be just fine; the typical drinks, food, & home in my own bed by myself. Some nights were a complete blur. But I always had someone with me, someone who would have my back, like my father or a friend. I rarely was left alone while out.
Until one night..
My friend had left early, no big deal. I wasn't quite ready to go. It was a Thursday night, the bar was quiet. There was a only a handful of people out. I stayed. It was a relaxed kind of night. I was making small talk with a few traveling boilermakers who were in town for work. Before I decided it was my turn to go home, I remember standing around in a circle of men, talking. Then I remember waking up the next morning in my bed. I laid there for about 10 seconds like, what the hell? I recalled a dream. A man in my bed, having sex...with me.... in the dream I asked him if he was gay because he talked different, he replied "No, I'm from Kentucky, southern accent" That's it. I remembered maybe a 15 second interaction & I thought to myself what a very bizarre dream. I also realized, I was completely naked. Still not thinking very much into it, because maybe I was hot when I went to bed, I don't know, we do silly things like that when we drink. It wasn't until I walked over to my dresser. There was a note & seven, one-dollar bills. The note read "get the morning after pill" (or as some know it as, the plan "b" pill) & the note also contained an out of state phone number. I thought to myself "Oh my god, Oh my god, Oh my god" "NO, NO, there's no way that dream was real!!" "NO."
No matter how much I wanted to deny it, I couldn't. The proof was there. It crossed my mind that maybe I had been drugged. That's happened. But that's not happened to me, only other people, NOT ME!
I thought, maybe my few drinks, mixed with not much to eat was the culprit, maybe there's more to this, I would never know. I crumpled up that note, ripped up that note & threw it in the trash. I felt disgusted, gross, slimey, I needed a shower, I needed to puke, or scrub myself until I washed away my skin. I didn't know what to do, I could go to the police. What would I tell them? "Hey, I think I was drugged & date raped" "But I don't think the man that took advantage of me was the same person who drugged me" "I think someone else had intentions, but this one left with me?" HOW the FUCK was I going to explain anything to anyone with NO MEMORY? I wasn't. So I didn't. I told a friend. I referred to him as "date rape guy." I still do.
The night after this, I went back to that same bar. Smart idea, right? Like I said, I was a little fucked in the head during this time in my life (and drinking wasn't helping). Upon arriving at the bar, the bouncer from the previous night was back on duty. He took one look at me, he started LAUGHING, POINTING, he then went on to tell me how "fucked up" I was the night before. How I "couldn't walk, couldn't talk, couldn't stand on my own" and "some guy walked you home" & teased "what happened there?"
Wait a minute here, the bouncer knew my condition, knew a strange man from out of town walked me home since I wasn't capable of walking myself, he remembered more about that night than I did. Aren't the bouncers supposed to prevent these things??
I was horrified by his reaction, I was horrified he was taunting me & my condition, while in the same breath bringing up "date rape guy" FUCK!
I can't say enough how this affected me mentally. If I want to have sex with someone, GOD DAMMIT, I'm going to make that DECISION. I felt I had no decision in what happened, no control, no say-so. I was so furious at the world at that point. I mean, hadn't life already fucked me over enough? Couldn't life give me a breather between punches to the gut? I did a few more self destructive things after that. I kept telling myself, "well at least I have control over this, at least I'm making this decision"
I got to the point where I had begun to hate myself all over again. I'd hold my breathe to feel physical pain. I understood why people cut themselves, previously I had thought that was so ridiculous of people to do. Now, I understood, feeling physical pain was much better than the mental anguish in my head. Physical pain is the best distraction from one's own thoughts.
After yet another bad night out at the bar, I woke up feeling terrible about myself.
I had to do something, because I had come so far in my life, I had a daughter to be the best person I could possibly be for. I decided I needed to clear my head in a whole new way that wasn't exercise. I looked up Arlington National Cemetery, that was it. I needed to be there. I needed to be surrounded by a bunch of tombstones of men & women who died fighting for our country or at some point did something meaningful with their life. I needed a wake up call.
About two hours into my trip, I was crying uncontrollably. What had happened to me, what had become of my new life of independence. I started thinking about "that night" & how it had ruined me, how feeling like I had been drugged, & having no control or proof. I found myself slowly letting my car drift into oncoming traffic... There was a semi up ahead & surely, that'd end it all...But I couldn't, I couldn't take my pain & pass it on to so many others. I gave myself a big 'ol "FUCK YOU!" I was in my car on four lanes of traffic, yelling at myself.. out-loud. "Fuck you, get it together, you know better, you ARE better, fuck you" I made it to Arlington, alive. I wasn't sure I wanted to, but I did. It was humbling. Being there showed me there are worse things in life & that I, indeed, was still alive.
When I returned home from my self-discovering adventure, my father wanted to go out... To that same bar, with the same bouncers, with those same bartenders, & the same 'ol regular crowd. I agreed, don't ask me why, but I did. The bar was busy that night. And wouldn't you know it, someone tried to get me again.. Seriously! This bar, at this point had already developed a reputation, it wasn't just me experiencing these things.
This time, I had the pills that someone tried to drug me with. And you bet this time I went to the police station. The surveillance video was taken from the bar. People were questioned. The video, as explained by the officer, showed a crowded bar too difficult to make out anything of substance. There was suspicious activity around my area, but there was just too many people to make out what was happening at that moment. I was told I could press forward with my previous encounter of being drugged & my current situation with having the drugs. However, I was warned it would most likely amount to nothing & that the defense (if it were even brought to court) would essentially make me out to be a drunk, slut (he worded it a little nicer than that, but that was the message). I would be "run through the mud," he so eloquently stated. That's as far as that ever got. Until it happened again to someone else.. (which had the same end result, unfortunately)
Next time I'm on a rant, or I'm defending those too afraid to speak up or those being publicly bashed, know there's a reason. It happened to me. I'm not gross, I'm not disgusting, anyone can fall victim to being drugged. I don't care who you are, you aren't safe if aren't proactively protecting yourself from this type of act.
As Lady Gaga says in her new song "Til it happens to you, you don't know how it feels" There is much truth in that statement. I know what happened to me, I wish I could undo it, but I can't. So I learned from it. I'll do what I can to protect others from it. I'll take the heat & be criticized over it. Just because I am a woman doesn't give any man (or woman) to take advantage of me or anyone else. It also doesn't give people the right to victim shame or blame.
This is my story. And I am telling it, if it's happened to you, you are not alone. You have support out there, if it's eating you alive inside, the best thing you can do is talk to a supporting person.
Prep yourself for people who will not believe you, it's easier to believe you are lying than it is for others to believe that can & does happen.
I've pulled myself from those dark trenches, I've brushed the dirt off, I've decided to take it as a learning experience. I've kicked the self-hate & self-pity to the curb. I didn't write this for sympathy. I'm writing this to offer hope to those suffering from the effects, from the societal backlash, and to offer my story to show that we aren't alone in our battles. This has been apart of my journey. I'm a better me because of it. We must keep fighting to keep this from being socially acceptable.
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I'm a mom of two. A wife. I'm a yooper (live in the U.P. of MI) A postal worker. I'm real. I'm me. This is my start.