I spent the first half of my bachelorette party celebrating with my girlfriends and the second half in the hospital.
For a lark, my best friend threw me a superhero-themed bachelorette party and we headed downtown dressed up as our favourite superheroes. We didn't realize until we got to the Granville strip (packed because it was a hot summer night) that it was the opening weekend of the Batman movie. We were a hit. Random people approached us all night to take pictures with us. The night was electric.
We went to a bar that had a reputation for being a little bit skeevy but was always fun. (Side note: this is a bar that employed bartenders who would give us free shots if we turned away from the bar, allowing the bartender to grab our hair and pull us backwards so that we were laying back over the bar and he could pour the alcohol directly into our mouths.) (Side note part two: it's also a bar where I had previously had an encounter with a bouncer trying to "playfully" pull me into a back room despite me firmly telling him "no.") (Side note part three: this is where I get all twisted up. Should I not go to a bar I like for it's excellent music and good vibe because of a few rapey individuals? In going back to that bar for my bachelorette party after experiencing these uncomfortable and inappropriate situations, was I somewhat responsible for what happened? My head says "fuck no!" but I'm fairly certain the general population would say yes.)
We weren't at the bar long before we dispersed and I was with just one friend. Mid-conversation, I lost the ability to speak. I was saying something and then all of a sudden I couldn't get my mouth to work. My brain felt foggy and slow but I distinctly remember thinking how weird it was that I couldn't get my mouth to form words. My friend realized something was wrong because we hadn't had that much to drink and I was no longer coherent. She got me outside where I immediately collapsed onto the street. I woke up to a policewoman pounding on my chest.
At first I was treated like a silly girl who drank too much. The police were active along the Granville strip at that time of year and that bar had been (unbeknownst to me) shut down recently for alcohol-related infractions (could have been serving alcohol to minors, could have been serving after hours, could have been over-serving patrons - I don't know) so the bar employees were instantly on the defensive with the police. Then another young woman stumbled out of the bar and collapsed. Ambulances were called and we were transported to the hospital.
At the hospital, I was told I had been drugged with GHB and I went from being treated like a silly little drunk girl to being treated like an attention seeker who went to a bar dressed like Wonder Woman (so what did I expect to happen?)
I saw my doctor a few days after it happened and she brushed me off as just having had too much to drink. A detective in the sex crimes unit asked me if I had spoken to any men and when I replied that I had, he asked me why I'd spoken to men I didn't know and what had we spoken about. I spent the two weeks between the party and my wedding feeling ashamed. Sheepish. Embarrassed. Because I went to a bar with some friends to have fun and celebrate. How fucked up is that?
This is why the #YesAllWomen discussion is important. We all have a story, whether it be of assault or abuse or harassment. We've all been afraid. We're not "asking for it." It needs to change.