I Was Drugged, Robbed & Assaulted By Strangers — But The Police Blamed Me

Victim blaming needs to end.

Last updated on May 11, 2023

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The last thing I remember was the entire bar singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" at the top of their lungs. Then my world went black ...

Recently, high winds stranded me in Washington, D.C., for the weekend. Happily, my 30-year-old cousin was in D.C. for the week, too. We decided to get together Friday night.

After dinner, we went to a bar where they play all the anthems you mustn't sing, you must belt out. We were having so much fun.


Until we were drugged.

We both lost our memories at about the same time. We left the bar, wandering around, not having the faculties to call an Uber. We were held up and robbed.

And that was just the beginning of the nightmare.

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A horrifying night — followed by victim blaming

I have a flash of memory: me crying, repeating, "I don't know, I don't know." My arms are bruised (bracelets missing and broken) and someone grabbed me hard, forcing me to divulge passwords. I didn't know mine. My cousin gave them his. He has no recollection of this.

The men left with everything we had: wallets, phones, my eyeglasses.

My cousin remembers placing me on the front stoop of a home while he pounded on doors.

Another flash of memory: I was alone and worried. I wandered off to look for him.

He came back with help. I was nowhere to be found. He then wandered in the cold and the dark looking for me.


My memory comes back as a car approaches. I have enough awareness now to know getting into a stranger's car is sure death, but I cannot run. I am unable to move.

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Safety at last

A man approaches.

He approached me slowly like you would approach an injured and scared animal. He spoke gently. My Good Samaritan. I trusted him and by the grace of God, he took me to the police.

The police were clearly irritated with this "drunk" mom who they had already put into an ambulance earlier in the night (wait, what? When? How did we get out? They let us leave?).

I kept slurring, "I've been drugged," but I could offer no proof so I was dealt with and shamed.


My husband was awoken by the call all parents fear, only it was his wife who was "drunk," disoriented, and in police custody. He paid for an Uber and arranged for the kind, woman manager at the hotel to let me into my room. She helped clean me up (I'll spare you the details of all the fluids covering my body, but let's just say that blood and vomit were the most appealing) and called my husband to let him know I was safe. An angel.

I woke up in my hotel room, unspeakably soiled.

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The deep shame I felt

My first thought was of shame. Deep, deep shame. How could I let this happen?


What is wrong with me? Is this who I am? What kind of fraud am I? I write, coach, and speak about empowerment, mindset, and living authentically, and yet here I am, waking up alone, without any identification or money, covered in bodily fluids.

The treatment by the police played over and over again in my head. So. Much. Shame. The first question they asked me was the exact same question I was asked by police, thirty years ago after I was raped my senior year in college, "Were you drinking?"

Are you kidding me? I’m in business clothes, covered in blood and vomit, my purse stolen hundreds of miles from home and the first thing you can ask is, "Was I drinking?"

The #metoo movement has moved mountains and freed victims all around the world. Our system has yet to catch up. Shame is still the name of the game and victim blaming abounds.


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Victims' voices should be heard — and believed

When will victims have a voice? When will we be believed?

What does it take to be treated with dignity? When will our truth be respected?

It turns out, in order to even file a police report, you need to know where the crime took place, and when and be able to give a description of the assailants. In my case, I needed to prove I was drugged. This was impossible as I was blacked out and barely conscious.

There is no doubt I looked like a heavily intoxicated woman. But at a time when drugs and even Visine added to alcohol are being used for rape, robbery and worse, why does the system not allow the victims to file police reports? Why is victim shaming still the status quo? No wonder drugging is such a lucrative crime. No wonder bartenders and bar staff can often be in on the game.


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The system feels rigged against victims

When they hear my story, people assume the system was on my side. Why wouldn’t it be? Why wouldn’t a victim of a crime be able to safely report it? It is common sense, in this day and age, that we are able to be a victim only once by the perpetrator, not twice by the system also.

People wonder why I didn’t go directly to a doctor the following morning. My response is the same: because I was hungry. Without an ID, without cash or credit cards, a medical insurance card with no way of getting myself to a doctor, I chose, instead, to cancel credit cards and allow myself to be picked up and fed by a family friend. Food, shelter and safety will always trump proving I was a victim of crime.

Still, in our system, that is an admission of irresponsible behavior. Like going out to a bar or being a woman out past 9 p.m.


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Victims are mistreated after the crime, too

Something is very wrong with how we perceive victims in this country.

We have made the progress we couldn’t have dreamed possible seemingly overnight. Yes, me, too. But it isn’t just women. Men came out of the woodwork after an article about my ordeal was published. Man after man after man wrote to me and told me about his story.

Drugging is common. Men and women are victims. None of the men or the women who contacted me went to the police. When is our system going to match our society’s views? How many victims need to be victimized a second time by shame and apathy and blame?


It was almost 3 p.m. the following day before my cousin was able to contact my husband at home and let the family know he was alive. Without phones, we couldn't be in contact. My husband, in turn, had to contact our family friend who let me know my cousin was safe.

Relief does not begin to describe what I felt knowing we were both safe. It was a wash of intense gratitude. As long as we were both safe, nothing else mattered. A Good Samaritan came to his rescue and had given him a ride back to his hotel.

An old family friend, the brother of one of my dearest friends, came in from Maryland to get me. Another godsend.


Next, we both had the hurdle of boarding planes without identification. The compassion and respect shown to me by the TSA will not be forgotten.

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I never dreamed it would happen to me

I don't think it ever once occurred to me that I would be drugged in a bar. I am a 51-year-old wife and mother of four.

My cousin, a street-smart kid who grew up in Chicago didn't either. We never left our drinks, but they were not in our hands and covered the whole time. The bar was crowded. We weren't paying attention.

In this day and age of #metoo, it is time we push for reform within our system. Shame has no place in truth. The law and the system shouldn’t be on the criminal’s side.


Society’s standards have moved to a place of truth and truth-telling. We will, as a society, no longer tolerate being victimized at home or in the workplace.

Why, then, are we being victimized by the very same system that is supposed to be protecting us?

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, you’re not alone. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that approximately 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the U.S. More than 12 million women and men over the course of the year suffer from instances of domestic violence and abuse.

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T-Ann Pierce is a transformational life coach who helps empower parents to create healthy relationships with their children.