I was at a work party for my husband and a stranger drugged me, took me to an ally and raped me. I screamed so much he ran away but he came back an hour later with his friends and they burned me with cigarettes while they took turns. I don’t know if I got away or they left me to freeze to death.
My memory is in shards. At the restaurant I blink and then I am in the dark. So cold and in pain I think I am dying. There is a deafening sound I slowly recognize as my screaming sobs. Everything is a blur I cannot see my hand in front of my face. It is raining and snowing. I am so cold. I feel around in the dark. I try to open cars. I start running. then black. I have no idea I’ve just been burned over a dozen times and gangraped when my memory comes back- i see my socks hitting the pavement. I see the store. I’m more than a 1/4 mile from where I started on a main street downtown. A car pulls in front of me. Its an officer and he knows my name. I am confused. I tell him it is12:30, I’ve lost several hours of memory. I burst into tears when he asks me where my clothes are and like my worst nightmare I look down to see my bare breasts and naked body. I’ve been running naked through the dark. I can’t understand what has happened to me. I say I think I have bee n drugged. I feel weird. I feel terrible. The hospital is surreal. I do a rape kit. My husband walks in the room sobbing. He filed a police report within minutes of me missing and spent hours looking for me under bushes, walking with the same police officer who just found me on the road. I am mortified by the questions that are being asked of me. I insist on going back to the scene. At first I can’t find it but eventually it is there- my clothes strewn about, the ground roughed up like a fight happened. The next few weeks feel like one second and like a decade. I am so numb I cannot cry. A man at the bar comes forward and says we had consensual sex but admits I was screaming and said no to every act. He is arrested and charged and then released when the new prosecutor is sworn in and says I have no evidence it was not consensual since I do not remember. The police screw up the drug test in so many ways it probably isn’t usable as evidence besides the fact that the blood wa s drawn too late to show the drugs that were most certainly used (hours after my blood was drawn for the hospital.) The police officer himself attested to believing I was drugged. Another girl at the party was interviewed about believing she was drugged after having one drink and going home puking. The officers say they are on my side but when I push them about the charges they bring up how I had also been drinking even though in my state being too drunk to consent is also rape. I spent months getting a civil restraining order where they treated me like a domestic violence victim, insisting I must know how to locate this complete stranger. The only one I could now name. I stood in front of the judge shaking, answering his questions every two weeks, insisting I was trying to find him but he had no address or job after being locked up for a month. I had to publish my name in the newspaper to serve him. Then, as if it couldn’t get worse, when they finally issued the protective ord er which meant he had my address and work I broke down. I quit my job. I moved. A smart officer saw me shaking everytime I had to talk to them, noticed my numbness and warned my husband I could develop ptsd.
I went to a therapist almost immediately who though well intentioned was probably not qualified to treat me. I tried anti depressants. I grew tired of the extra rollercoaster of treatment that never helped and gave up on it. I have flashbacks almost daily. Nightmares just seem normal now but a really bad one will still keep me up for days. Most the time they are just faint, clouding my morning with shivers and flashes of images and an apprehension I just can’t ever shake.
When it rains like it did that night time slows to a halt-my husband nudges me “you are driving too slow again” and I focus on the road. Always just focusing on the road ahead. One more day.
— Survivor, age 29