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  • Writer's pictureEmilia Hargreaves

Getting Spiked

I’m probably not actually the best person to tell this story. I don’t really remember what happened. I have a couple of flashes of memories from the night and then I woke up. The next day. Somehow in my own bed.

It was around October last year. Surprisingly it was after freshers week. Not sure why I say ‘surprisingly’ like it was excepted. Except it is now. It’s expected that a woman will get spiked at least once in her life. We’re constantly told not to leave our drinks unattended, to keep our eyes out for any suspicious looking men. Why the hell can we not just live our lives freely, and tell the people who spike drinks for fun to grow up and get a life. What do you achieve by making someone so physically and emotionally vulnerable. There is something clearly wrong with you when you thrive off hurting others.

But of course, I felt like it was my fault. Particularly because I hadn’t just been holding my drink. I had been holding my boyfriends too.

I remember three things from that night.

The first, was standing in the line for the first club we visited that night. I am still trying to locate where I was when they did it.

It was the opening night of ‘MooMoo’s’. Southend’s answer to a good night out. Except it really wasn’t. The line was so long that one of my mates went to McDonald’s and back and we hadn’t moved. It was cold and you apparently had to be wearing smart shoes to get in. But we didn’t know that until we’d been queuing for 40 minutes. So we decided we’d go to the next best: ‘Talk’, Southend’s only other club.

On the way, I filled my McDonald’s cup or lemonade with vodka, which maybe was a bad idea. But, I have to remind myself that what happened was not my fault.

That’s the last I remember until quite a bit later. I don’t remember getting to the club or really even being in there. I know I bought two drinks. One for me and one for my boyfriend.

The next thing I remember is being on the floor in the corner of the entrance to the Victoria shopping centre. I was deep into a nasty panic attack and I was terrified. I didn’t know where I was or what was going on. I just cried. Eventually, through some sort of miracle, my boyfriend found me and managed to calm me down while half of the acting school walked by me. I felt like an idiot. Although they too were all out of their minds drunk, I felt looked down upon.

thanks babe, for this lovely picture of an incredibly hungover and confused me

I’m not entirely sure what happened next, but my boyfriend and one of my friends carried me home. I'm not sure if I couldn't walk because I was absolutely intoxicated, or because I physically couldn't put any weight on my left ankle.

The next morning I woke pretty early, feeling hideous. The hangover from hell and an agonising throb in my foot. With absolutely no recollection of the night before I headed to the kitchen for some water and a well deserved ibuprofen. But as soon as I’d made it as far as the bedroom door I had collapsed. Not only did I feel more violently sick than ever before, my ankle was triple its normal size and purple. My boyfriend, who is an Emergency First Responder, took one look at me and at my glamorous purple foot, and said “Yup, we’re going on another hospital trip!"

But before he could say another word I was projectile-ing from both ends. Whatever had made its way into my system the night before was coming out and coming out fast.

When we arrived at the hospital, the doctor that saw me didn’t even need to touch my foot. She took one look at me and at my luxurious purple foot and said “Yup, you’ve torn all three ligaments. You would’ve been better off breaking it because that heals twice as fast”.

Taped up and crutched, I hobbled out of the hospital and into a cab (Cheers babe!) back to uni. I sat out completely for a week but then hobbled away from the crutches two weeks early probably wasn’t the best idea, but hey, I'm still walking!

I had planned to do a serious interview with my boyfriend in a professional set up and find out all about what he remembers, but then I realised I'm not a professional and I don't have time for all that. But being the angel that he is, he has texted me what he remembers, which I have added notes to, for clarity.

the aftermath


"I remember being in the line for Moo Moo's and drinking from a McDonald’s cup, I think? (So whatever happened, he got spiked because of me) Then I remember not getting into the club, so we walked down to Talk where you proceeded to pee in a pop up urinal! (I promise I didn't actually do this, I was just joking around!) Then I don’t remember anything until I was on the street and two people from university, can’t remember who, found me wondering around and walked back with me. Then I found you back limping in the street, but you sat down outside the shops and had a panic attack so I calmed you down and then the Physical Theatre students came and checked up on us. I then helped you walk back and Bob (name changed because he doesn't yet know that I run a blog and might not want to be mentioned, just being cautious!) came and helped you too when we got to the Student Union because you had collapsed on the floor. Then we got back to accommodation and I stayed with you for the night and looked after you because you were throwing up everywhere! "

In conclusion, both of us have huge chunks of the night that we don't remember. We reckon there there is about a 2 hour space where we genuinely could have been anywhere.

Next week, it will have been a year since the event. I still think about it. A lot actually. Someone had completely disconnected my mind and my body. And they had my mind, my body and my life in their hands. I had no control. And I never want to fee like that ever again. I have never been as terrified as I was, while I cried, huddled in the corner of the entrance to the Victoria shopping centre in Southend-On-Sea.

Thankfully, The Boyfriend and I recovered speedily and got on with the rest of our lives like it never really happened. I didn't tell my family. They presumed I'd just had one too many on a night out. And, I guess in some ways, maybe I did. I just thought it would be easier not to tell them. The first thing my mum asked me when I mentioned it six months later was "Did you leave your drink unattended?". Why is that the first thing people think? Why isn't it, 'Why on Earth would someone do something like that?'

Things need to change.

It's time for us to not have to worry about leaving our drinks alone and it's time for us to stop blaming ourselves for situations we cannot reverse.

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