Women's Journeys - An Empowerment Place

Rape through Rophynil
"The Date Rape Drug"
by Wendy Wade
© Copyright 1999

As part of my healing process, I have written the story of the day I was raped in 1996. I share this story with those of you who want to read it and be witness to my letting it go.  Please pass the story along to people you think might benefit from it. I open myself wide in the telling - please be sensitive and share it only with people who will honor its significance.

June 1, 1998

The story of my rape on June 1, 1996.

May 31, 1996 I went to a stock trader's conference in Monterey California. Excited to meet people I had only spoken over the              phone with for years and to be on a weekend jaunt to something new.  My feet planted firmly on the ground and for the first time in my life feeling so wonderful about who I was and where I was going. I worked at the kind of job most women would clamor for, newly separated from a marriage that left me feeling lost and forgotten, having lost 65 pounds and having been healthy and fit, working out 2 hours a day, and having 6 months of HAI workshops under my belt. I was happy and healthy and looking and feeling the goddess I am. There was a lot of schmoozing and money flowing while the Wall Street traders wined and dined the "buyers" in the market.  I happened to fit on the "buyer" side and was having the time of my life.

I was introduced to people of supposed stature on Wall Street - imbibing and playing and feeling really safe and sure of myself.  I was introduced to two men that evening. I had an uncomfortable feeling about these men (the only men I met that I felt this way about). They greeted the goddess, me, with real interest and I told them I was not interested in spending time with them. The following day was filled with going to the gym, swimming and meeting my girlfriend who had invited me to come to the conference. The day was long and lazy and we separated to get ready for the evening's festivities.

I took a cab from my hotel to meet the others for dinner in a great restaurant.  We were having a blast. I had made some connections with people that were celebratory and sweet.  As dinner seemed to drag on and on, there were a few of us that decided if we were going to dance we would have to leave the dinner before dessert. We popped in a cab and joked and sang songs on our way to the dance event of the weekend.

The band was great and people were dancing all around and I was dressed in a little black dress (the first one I had ever owned - being I always thought of myself as not small enough for a little black dress, and the "reason" I was raped according to my older sister).  This dress was simple and had no back and better yet it was a size 8 - my dream size. The dancing was liberating and fun and sweaty and hot and just plain sultry.  The music came to an end and people were breaking up to go their own ways. There was one of my friends and I left talking with numerous other little cliques around us. My friend went to see if the charter bus was still running to my hotel. He said he came back to where we were supposed to meet and said I was nowhere to be found. He sent people into restrooms looking for me and said it was as if I just disappeared. He waited and nothing.   I was just not there.

The last thing I remember was him going to check on the bus. The memory of what happened is black in my mind. I woke with the man I had told the night before that I didn't want to be with; his penis in my mouth suffocating me with his weight.  My arms were lead, I couldn't move and I had no way of protecting myself. While awake, which I can only imagine lasted 60 seconds before I went back to the safety of black, there was the other man between my legs. Blackness.

I woke early in the morning, I imagine.  I was being literally kicked onto the floor. There were feces on my hands.  The second man was sleeping.  I remember grabbing my dress and trying to scrub the dirt from my hands.  I left stumbling and screaming and the blackness fell again. I was found by an acquaintance, wandering incoherently through the hallways of a prestigious hotel on the 17 Mile Drive in Carmel.  He told me that when he asked if I needed help, that I didn't respond.  He thought I had been doing any one of the drugs that are prevalent and available in the high-finance industry. He had no real judgements either way.  He was sure I hadn't been drunk but knew that I was a mess.  He made sure I made it back to my room in Monterey before he tee'd up for his first round of golf.  I vaguely remember filling the bathtub and looking at my body.  There were scratches and scrapes on the inside of my thigh, and fingerprint bruises on my arms and legs, my anus was sore and evidenced that I had been sodomized, and I was still trying to rip my fingernails from my hands to remove the feces I thought was still there.

I slept for a little while.  I packed my things and called for my car. As I drove, hallucinations popped up before me - cars and trucks appeared and disappeared. I had my wits about me enough to be frightened.  I remember the pieces of memory of the rape coming to mind as I drove - the realization started to flood over me - I had been raped.   Bits and pieces of the night before came rushing to my head.  Up until that time, the drugs kept me in and out of consciousness. I stopped at a filling station and called my therapist. I told her that I had been raped.  She still remembers me calling and that most of what I was saying was gibberish. She knew I was in trouble and that I had been raped.

Two days later, I went in to see my gynecologist. He took blood, urine and did a pelvic exam. He placed the samples in a refrigerated lock box kept for samples from rape victims and later sent them to a lab in southern California for testing. Later, when we needed the samples, we would find that the blood had been destroyed by the lab because it hadn't been marked as evidence. They still had the frozen urine sample because there were drugs present in the sample. With the 3 day wait on my part to report the incident to my doctor, and the way chemicals break-down over time there was not much of an expectation of finding evidence in the sample.

The next couple of days I spent on the phone with rape crisis. Although I knew I didn't want to kill myself, the constant voices running through my head told me it was the only way to get through this. My neighbor/friend who is also a therapist stayed with me for several days to make sure I had the support I needed.  I went to work as usual and would burst into tears throughout the day.  I dealt with friends who looked at me as if my new-found love of myself was to blame for the rape.  As I found doubt in some of their faces, I released them from our friendship and distanced myself from them.  My family's first question was "what were you wearing?" Again I distanced myself.  I found the biggest support from my very closest friends and my new chosen family at HAI, (Human Awareness Institute).

I knew that if I decided to press charges against these two men that it would open numerous other challenges I was not sure I was ready to take on. I did call the police and got a detective who was part of the homicide team in Monterey. He had experience with his sister having been raped and her life, the way he knew it to be, was cut short. I was lucky. He had an investment in catching these guys.

I realized that if I opened this can of worms, that it would be a very public case since in some ways it was an indictment of the entire industry with it's "If you can't keep up with the Big Guys - Don't Play" attitude or as my former employer let me know when I told him, "It seems to me that this is the mentality of the whole industry." He responded with a smile, "yeah I guess it is." I understood that there were two versions of the story against one. That "one" being me with little or no memory of the events. A decision to pursue this case would be opening myself and my family to an extremely complicated and possibly humiliating experience. With the understanding that I could stop the process at any time, I reported the events as I knew them.

The report on my urine was such that they could tell there was a drug involved.  The time elapsed from the time of the crime to when I saw a doctor and supplied the urine was too long to have substantial weight in the case. We had expert witnesses who would testify that by the description I gave and that by the finding of relative drugs in the urine they would be 98% sure that I had been drugged with the "Date Rape Drug called Rophynil". I worked very closely with police, making weekly trips sometimes twice weekly trips to the police station in Monterey County and following up on clues I could on my own. I called the photographer for the trader's magazine that covered the conference.  The gentleman there sent me copies of all the pictures they had. Out of those pictures, I identified one of the men. On further investigation we found that when the men introduced themselves to me they said they were from San Francisco when in fact, they were from New York. Premeditated??? When the NY police were contacted they said they would not "bother two of their Cities up-standing citizens over the word of a woman from a small town on the west coast." At this point I re-evaluated what I was doing. I decided that with the information I had and the lack of substantial evidence, I would put the case on hold with the intention of uncovering more memory through therapy and with the understanding that I could reopen the case at any time.

I continue to work in therapy and try different types of hypnosis. I scream my screams of horror from the thought of the things I did remember about the evening. I work through the feelings of guilt that it might have been my fault or that I was "asking for it," although in my mind I know that's not true. I work through what I feel to be the injustices of our society and our judicial system and the "system" of law enforcement. I struggle through following up on a crime that even the District Attorney believed we didn't have enough evidence to prosecute. I worry about a society that will allow murderers and rapists to run free because the "word of a woman from a small town in California isn't important enough. I cry while my mood switches from a powerful, beautiful, self-assured, sexual woman to a small child who hides and has no defense.  I fight daily, falling into being a "victim" in my heart. I prepare my children for this same society and hope the strength and trust and information I provide them will be enough. I find more peace and depth to my life for processing this day in my life and sharing it with others. I learn and I grow and I have just that much more to offer to this rich life I live. I am in gratitude for being able to feel my feelings, share them with others and go on to new heights of compassion and love for myself and for others.

Please feel free to share this story with others. I am including a list of things (from my experience) to do if this should happen to you or someone you love.

  1. Report the crime immediately.
  2. Go to a hospital for medical help. The hospital is equipped with kits and instruction that the technicians can refer to obtain the correct evidence. Do this as soon as you can.
  3. Understand that this is not your fault.  Try not to be intimidated when people suggest that it may be.
  4. Call Rape Crisis and get support.
  5. Tell people who support you in your life and allow them the honor of supporting you now.
  6. Emotions can flair from outrage to despair, from fear to forgiveness, from suicide to a firmer understanding of who you are in this world,  from hate to love. These feelings are all real, they are all yours, and you have a right to feel them.
  7. Cooperate with the authorities and contact The Victim/Witness Program in your state to help defray the costs of therapy, travel,             and other expenses relative to you putting this incident be hind you. You deserve this help. The organization exists to support you. Follow up with them or "remind" your caseworker that you are still invested in seeing that you are reimbursed. If you receive a denial of claims, go through the process of protesting the denial.  This may be difficult to do because your mind and your heart will be processing this event and not focused on getting what you deserve. Enlist help from a friend or hire an assistant who can follow up and help you with the paperwork and time limitations.
  8. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to a child that has experienced this pain. Because you are a child who experienced this pain and it WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. Ask people you trust to hold you, to let you cry, to soothe your pain.
  9. Call me if you need to - I will support you. I will be there and do my best to see that you are treated fairly and with respect. My name is Wendy Wade.  My e-mail address is WendysTym@AOL.com.
  10. Know that you are loved and cherished.            

Namaste, wendy

Read Wendy's Follow up story here

Online Support

Rape, Abuse, and Incest Network
National 24 hours crisis centers

Rape Recovery Help and Information Page

Victim Assistance Organizations
For victims of Campus Violence (including rape)

Victim's Assistance Program
"A relatively new but rapidly expanding field which seeks to aid the victims and survivors of crime or tragedy with emotional support, practical aid and advocacy."

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