Becky M on what it's like to be spiked
I’m Becky M - a recent Speech and Language Therapy MSc graduate from City University. In my second year of university, my drink was spiked during a night at the pub. Today I’m sharing my experience to raise awareness of the symptoms of drink spiking, and to highlight how easily it can happen - often at the most unexpected times.
It started out as just a normal night out, going to an event held by a society I was interested in joining. They invited me to a pub social after the event, and I took up the invitation eagerly, keen to continue the great conversations I was having.
The society was heavily male-dominated, but the atmosphere was fun, and I was excited by the prospect of joining it properly once I got to know people better. Due to the timing of the event I had yet to eat dinner, so my plan was to have one drink then head home. Several men in the group made jokes about me getting drunk – which, as someone who didn’t drink much, I’d come to expect – but I waved them off, telling them I would be sticking to my one-drink policy.
I remember engaging in a long and fascinating conversation about schizophrenia with someone at the next table, but the rest of the evening was a blur. As I slowly finished my drink, I was suddenly hit by what I initially assumed were the effects of the alcohol: an unexpected feeling, given that I’d had the same drink before and had no such reaction.
Initially, I brushed this off as the consequence of not having eaten beforehand, but as the effects became worse, I dissociated from my body and felt confused by everything going on around me. I don’t remember it, but at some point I text a friend to say I was feeling funny. My next message was more stark – ‘I’m frightened’.
Luckily, my friend came to check on me after getting my message and, seeing that I needed help, he walked me home. Apparently, I spent the entire walk looking down at my feet and talking about how silly and shameful I felt. I felt numb as I told him I thought my drink had been spiked.
When I got back to my house, both my friend and my housemates monitored me throughout the evening and made sure I had plenty of water to drink, and I slept it off. But the feelings of being upset and uncomfortable stayed with me for days. I didn’t join the society, and I didn’t respond to any of their emails; I didn’t know who I could trust within the group, so I decided not to risk it. While I made the right decision for me in light of what happened, I missed out on what could have been an enriching part of my university experience. I didn’t often go on nights out at university, but they became even scarcer after the incident.
Looking back, what saddens me is that reporting it didn’t even come to my mind. I just accepted it as a life lesson - my main takeaways being that in future I should guard my drink for dear life and stick firmly to groups of people I know. While these are practical tips, it’s sad that we need to take them. How many friendships will we never make because we don’t know who we can trust?
Since the #MeToo movement exploded in 2017, countless women have come forward with their stories of being taken advantage of, and these reports have brought up many feelings of anger and discomfort in relation to my own experience. But I wanted to share my story so that anyone who has experienced this knows that they aren’t alone, and they aren’t to blame. The feelings it brings up can be difficult and can make you doubt and second-guess yourself. But never feel ashamed – you're not the one who did this.
Want to know more about spiking and how you can prevent it? Read this.