My 2016 started in a shocking, horrible way.
My friends and I planned to spend New Year’s Eve out together. We wanted to celebrate out and have a good time where we could catch up, drink a little, and be safe. One friend came across the event at Town Hall in Georgetown. There were reduced-priced tickets for groups, and it seemed like an amazing idea. I saw friends who I hadn’t seen in months RSVP and it just made me all the more excited for the night.
Our group found an awesome spot upstairs by the pool table. There were two couches and a table, perfect for our group. Lara and I got our first drinks and then got food. We walked around, chatted with our friends, flirted with guys, and waited for the ball to drop.
Lara* and I work at a winery on the weekends. We are used to our evenings ending with glasses of wine and frivolity of the best kinds. We indulge, but not to excess because we have to deal with drunks at our job and we don’t want to put that strain on others like it is on us at the winery. I stuck to gin and soda with extra lime for the night, she went with gin and tonics before moving to martinis.
The ball dropped, we celebrated. The bubbly was too sweet for me so I only had one sip. I remember getting another drink, my fourth for the night, and sitting on one of the couches while talking and taking photos with friends.
This next part is where it gets fuzzy.
I had another drink. I sat on a bar stool at a table to watch my friends play pool.
There is a flash of being on the ground and my name being called.
There is a flash of me crying through clenched teeth as an IV is put into my arm because I have a very, very serious phobia of hypodermic needles.
There is a flash of movement.
And then I wake up and my parents are standing in the bright white hallway in the hospital.
Lara, Michelle, and Rob tell me the rest in the hospital waiting room. They tell me how I fell off the bar stool and threw up. How I wasn’t responding to them at all. How when Michelle tried to get Town Hall to call an ambulance, they wouldn’t. That when she started to call herself, the Town Hall staff tried to take her phone out of her hands. And when Lara kept telling the EMS first responder that I had been drugged, no one would take her seriously.
Looking at my phone I see texts and pictures that I have no memory of sending or taking.
I know my limits and tolerance. I know my warning signs for needing to switch to water. But when it is NYE, all other people see is another idiot who didn’t know how to handle their drinks. Five watered-down gin and sodas over five hours would not make me black-out drunk.
But we’ll never know for certain. I was never given a tox screen. I was was lucky though. I had friends with me who knew there was a problem right away and damn anyone keeping them from getting proper help.
For a few days, I kept what happened just with my close friends. But then I realized something—I was a victim and I am not at fault.
It is the fault of those who put something into my drink. It is the fault of those who saw me as just another drunk. It is the fault of those who didn’t want to help my friends. It is the fault of the culture we live in that will blame a victim.
My name is Devorah Litt, and my drink was drugged at Town Hall in Georgetown on New Year’s Eve.
*All names have been changed except mine.
Editor’s Note: This post is not authored or endorsed by CASS, nor are any personal posts on CASS’s website. In response to this post, Town Hall contacted CASS with the results of their own internal investigation into this incident, which included obtaining the 911 call and MPD reports. The 911 call was made by a member of Town Hall’s staff.