Spokane police say there has been an increase of reports from women who think they have been victims of illicit “date-rape” drugs used to leave them incoherent, sometimes so they can be easily raped. Here are the stories of two Spokane women, who believe they were drugged, and consider themselves lucky not to have become victims of rape. They agreed to talk in the hope that other women will become more vigilant.
Lucky to be alive
Breanna Hathaway woke up one February morning a bloody mess.
She was in shock and couldn’t remember how she got home, what happened to her face or how she lost her shoes.
“When I saw myself in the mirror I started crying,” said the 29-year-old Spokane woman. “I couldn’t stop shaking and thinking about all the what-ifs. I was traumatized.”
As her memory washed back it became clear to Hathaway that she was drugged while at a downtown bar the night before.
“In the past I’ve had five drinks and ridden in a taxi and remembered everything. (That night) I didn’t finish my first drink so I know something was wrong,” she said.
Hathaway blacked out and walked to her North Side home by herself in 40-degree weather. Her memory fades in and out.
“I lost my shoes, rolled my ankle. I kept falling on my face. I was so drugged I couldn’t catch myself. I had cuts on my nose and gums – my teeth were loose. I probably fell 15 times. I was dragging my feet and scraped the skin off my toes. There was a trail of blood near my house,” she said. “I looked like someone beat the crap out of me.”
What’s frustrating to Hathaway is that she thought she took all the right precautions.
“I was surrounded by women. No guys talked to me. I wasn’t approached by anyone. I didn’t let anyone hold my drink. I ordered a drink from my waitress. I always watch the waitress when she gets my drink, or I order from the bar and watch the bartender pour it. I did everything I should have done and this still happened,” Hathaway said. “I was cautious before, but now I’m not trusting of anybody.”
Hathaway didn’t report the incident to the police right away, and she didn’t seek medical help until four days later, when the deep cuts on her face got infected. Instead she called her sister and friends for help and support.
She told her boss she had been in a car accident, and missed a week of work.
“I didn’t want to tell anybody. I was so embarrassed of how I looked,” Hathaway said. “The police couldn’t do much because the drug leaves your system so fast. I wouldn’t go to the hospital. I didn’t want to leave the house.”
Hathaway said a police review of the surveillance camera at the club didn’t produce any evidence that Hathaway had been drugged. She declined taking a test to see if she her body had been violated.
“I know no one did anything sexually to me,” Hathaway said. “The police said most women know if something happened to them.”
Hathaway said it was important for her that her niece and nephew saw the aftermath of what happened so they know “not to trust everyone they meet and that there are a lot of sick people out there,” she said.
“It’s sad to think about how things are going now and to think about their generation,” Hathaway said. “How is it going to be when they get older?”
After sharing a house with her sister up until this summer, Hathaway now lives alone. She takes pepper spray with her on evening walks and sleeps with a baseball bat at her bedside. Her house is equipped with motion sensors, alarms and new door locks.
She rarely goes out at night and if she does it’s to a small pub. She never gets drunk and always has a friend by her side.
“I know something can happen and I’m more worried about it,” she said. “I don’t even want to go out anymore.”
Despite her horrible experience, Hathaway considers herself lucky.
“It didn’t feel lucky at the time, but I’m still alive and I wasn’t raped. I was lucky I made it home alive, that no one picked me up, or that I didn’t get hit by a car. The police said I was lucky they didn’t find me frozen,” Hathaway said. “Just being drugged was bad enough. I couldn’t imagine having to live through something else.”
It could happen to you, twice
Cindy Baca says she had been drugged before.
About four years ago.
So when she passed out at a bar in July, she was sure it wasn’t from the couple of drinks she had.
“I’m a big girl and I can handle a lot of alcohol,” said Baca, 30. “I went to the club expecting to have a good time and I didn’t remember anything the next day. I woke up in the passenger seat of my car outside of my friend’s house.”
Baca was watching the table at the bar while her friends were on the dance floor when she lost consciousness.
“The bouncer walked me out of the bar. I passed out in my car in the drivers’ seat with my head on the steering wheel and the windows rolled down. My purse was sitting out in the open and everything.”
Fortunately for Baca, her friends found her in the car but they couldn’t wake her up.
Baca used to go out every weekend. Now it doesn’t seem worth the risk.
“The first time I was drugged I had two drinks and I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t stand, I knocked over a table while trying to hold myself up,” Baca said.
If Baca does go to a bar, she said her friends have strict orders to watch her drink if she has to use the restroom.
“I’m still scared. I’m so worried about it happening again that I can’t have fun,” Baca said. “I could have woken up in an alley or at some guy’s house.”
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