"When I left for a week-long college orientation last June, danger was the furthest thing from my mind. I had to schedule classes, meet potential roommates, take my placement tests… everything but concern myself with safety. Rape, often featured in the nightly news, was nothing that seemed realistic to me.
The first day of orientation had gone well. I had taken in several lectures, eaten out with my orientation group, been to a “dive-in” movie and toured around the campus. I was tired, but when several girls on my dorm floor asked me to a party I was determined to go. After all, college was all social life, right? I had been to parent supervised parties back home, but they were very tame compared to the scene we witnessed upon entering.
My dorm mates abandoned me as soon as we stepped through the door. There were kegs of beer and various bottles of strong liquor set up in the kitchen, and loud music booming from the den. There were so many partiers that we were squeezed together like sardines. My confidence and pleasure over being a real college student evaporated as I watched my schoolmates dancing, drinking and even trying drugs.
I wanted to leave but we were miles from campus and my dorm mate was the only one driving. I sat down on the couch in the living room, the quietest place in the house, and tried to make the best of it. Soon, a guy my age came over. He wasn't staggering or swearing. In fact he seemed well in control of himself. He sat down beside me and we began to talk.
His name was Roger and he was a Junior. He remarked on the cross hanging from my neck and suggested we attend church together sometime. Instantly I felt better. I let my defenses down and engaged him in conversation for a while.
"Would you like a drink?" he asked after a few minutes. I told him that I didn't drink beer, and he offered me a Pepsi. He seemed so sweet and courteous. When he returned with the soda he suggested we go upstairs, to talk in quiet. I was a little suspicious, but I figured nothing could really happen in a house full of people. Besides, he was a Christian, and he seemed very kind and attentive.
We went up to one of the bedrooms and Roger left the door a little bit open, to make me feel better. I drank some soda and continued talking. Soon I was exhausted, almost so badly that I couldn't keep my eyes open. I asked Roger to find my friends and have them give me a ride home. He agreed and went out, closing the door softly. I closed my eyes and felt my forehead, wondering if I was coming down with something.
Then, suddenly, Roger was back in the room. He closed the door this time and locked it as well. I tried to get up and yell but I couldn't. I was too weak to even sit up. He raped me in the bedroom, among a house full of people. It was the worst night of my life. Eventually my dorm mates found me and brought me to the nurses station. I filled out a report orally while she did tests.
The nurse shocked me, saying that I had been given the date rape drug. I didn't believe her at first. I never took medication that I didn't get for myself, and I certainly hadn't had any the night before. She explained that it was most likely mixed with my Pepsi and I hadn't even noticed!
I went home early and spent months in therapy. I was feeling horrible; guilty, ashamed, frightened. It seemed like I couldn't trust anyone. After all, Roger had seemed like a real nice guy. I was afraid to go out for a while too, and held my mothers hand when we were on our way to shop or attend church. I'm feeling a lot better now, but it's taken many months to come to terms with everything.
My advice to all party-goers is BE CAREFUL. You need to be in control of the situation. Don't drink, or if you do, drink in moderation. If you are drunk you won't be able to defend yourself or think straight. Stay with friends and people you know and trust. It is tempting to go off with someone new, especially if you think the situation is safe, but that is not always the case. Whenever you feel uncomfortable head home, call a taxi, whatever. And girls, get your own beverages. The date rape drug is very common these days. You need to know that no one has tampered with your drink, even if you're just having a soda. Take care of yourself."
the above story sent in by Catja, age 18
Posted September 1999