I know that the controversy around the Cosby scandal has centered around the nonconsensual nature of these alleged attacks, but speaking from the point of view of an anesthesiologist who was once drugged and raped while out at a singles event, I think the focus is missing something important.
I completely identify with these women being ashamed of their stories -- being raised a strict Catholic, in a Filipino family, I'm still very embarrassed talking about my experience, even over a decade later. It's very easy for an outsider to probe, pick apart and question my whole story. Even one of the two policewomen who showed up at my house the next morning was in disbelief about my story until she pressed re-dial on my cellphone to contact one of the two men involved, identifying herself as a policewoman (he had called me to make sure I was still alive). He instantly said, "Talk to my lawyer," and hung up. Only then did her look of irritation and suspicion turn to pity and concern regarding my story.
That night I was out at an older singles event (30s-50s). Cut to the chase: I was bored with the event and talked to the bartender primarily. He introduced me to his friend, another young man in his early 20s who offered to buy me a drink. When I accepted, I noticed a quick exchange of glances between the two as they asked if I liked maraschino cherries. "Yes, of course!" I replied as I watched the bartender add a third maraschino cherry to my drink.
What followed was a blur of memories and amnesia in a bar full of people -- me waking up, finding myself making out with the bartender's friend, the two "assisting" me to a closed off area of the bar because I could not walk by myself -- my motor skills completely out of whack, the two sitting on a bench in that back room with their pants unzipped revealing their floppy dicks, them shoving my face onto their laps, my limp self proceeding to roll onto the floor where they had extreme difficulty undressing me, them eventually carrying me out and dumping me on a wooden storage crate, pulling a large garbage can up so I could vomit while they fended off other concerned patrons, telling them, "She's okay, she just had too much to drink, give her her space..."
I could go into many details and answer many questions about what was I wearing, what did I say, why did I accept a drink from a stranger, what did the police do/say, did they get prosecuted -- but from the perspective of a professional who handles anesthetic agents as a daily part of my job, the bigger questions/observations for me are:
1. WHERE THE FUCK ARE THESE ASSHOLES GETTING DRUGS THAT CAN INCAPACITATE HUMAN BEINGS LIKE THAT?
OMG. I work in a facility where controlled substances are in constant lockdown. You need special advanced degrees and licenses to administer LEGAL medications that render a patient unconscious -- all the while using complete monitoring to make sure that the person does not DIE.
So, I can only imagine. Do these fuckwads say to themsleves: "Hey! I know what to do for fun tonight!!! Let's drug an unsuspecting individual and do what we please to him or her!! Do you mind stopping by the corner 'rape drug' store on the way home before we go out? Please - You'll see! It'll be so much fun!"
Seriously, where do people find these drugs?
2. DO THESE ASSHOLES EVEN KNOW HOW DANGEROUS KNOCKING A PERSON OUT CAN BE?
So back to the fuckwads and my imagined conversation above: "Hey dude, check out this naive individual over there! Let's use this completely unknown concentration of a questionable substance (God knows where it was obtained or how it was prepared or what the fuck it might really even be!) and put it in his or her drink (Don't forget, you're a bartender, nobody will suspect, he or she'll think he/she had too much to drink!!! It's a perfect alibi!!! ) Let's see what kind of reaction this person has and let's try to fuck him or her while they can't even participate?!!! Woo-hoo!! What fun we are going to have!!!"
One of the more painful memories of my experience was the extreme and protracted vomiting and nausea for HOURS. Now, in the operating room, there is a reason why we intubate patients and that is to protect their airway while they are unconscious -- keep them safe, right?
Returning to the assholes who are rendering another human being unconscious using god knows what type of drug or how strong it might be -- inducing severe nausea and vomiting at the same time...
Does anyone remember the famous Breaking Bad scene where Walter White walks in on Jesse Pinkman and his girlfriend who are passed out from a night of drugs? All of a sudden Jesse's girlfriend starts vomiting while asleep, then coughing and choking and eventually dying from aspirating her gastric contents. Walter White basically watches and does nothing, letting her die.
Sigh. There are so many potential dangers using these drugs on a person -- aspiration, seizures, respiratory failure. "But oh what fun we'll have tonight!! Let's possibly kill a person and do what we want to them while unconscious, yippee!!!"
3. WHY ISN'T THERE A WAR ON THESE TYPE OF DRUGS?
I guess there is a war on recreational drugs (cocaine, heroin, meth) but these drugs are used voluntarily. These other drugs however are used on unsuspecting individuals to make them pass out, become completely vulnerable, unable to speak or make conscious decisions. Why isn't there an all out war against these drugs being on the street?
4. WHAT SORT OF FUCKED UP ASSHOLE DRUGS A PERSON AND THEN PLAYS WITH THEIR COMPLETELY INCAPACITATED BODY?
For me, whether Cosby raped those women or not is not the scariest issue. The fact that he administered potentially lethal substances to often unwilling individuals, not knowing how they might react, was also a real crime. Luckily, he didn't end up with a corpse after a night of doing what he wanted to a passed out, unconscious person.
5. THE HUMAN BODY IS SACRED AND SHOULD BE TREATED AS SUCH. WE NEED TO BE TEACHING THE WORLD (MEN AND WOMEN) THAT IF A PERSON IS SOMEHOW PHYSICALLY AND/OR MENTALLY INCAPACITATED, THEY SHOULD BE DOING ALL THEY CAN TO PROTECT THAT HUMAN BEING FROM ALL HARM UNTIL THEY ARE CONSCIOUS.
Okay. I passed out that night. I can definitely see how a person could just shrug off an experience like that and attribute it to just "too much alcohol."
I didn't even get a chance to see if I even wanted to have sex with those guys that night! Devil's advocate -- say hypothetically we/I hallucinated, or dreamt or had delusions and maybe nothing happened at all during the time that we were all drugged. That night I was drifting in and out of consciousness so I can't speak confidently as to what those two morons from that bar decided to do with me while under the influence of whatever it was they placed in my drink.
What I can definitely speak for is my own physiologic reaction to that drink and I do know that what happened to my body physiologically was definitely not alcohol-induced. There was no pleasant happy buzz. It was not an experience that I would go to a bar and pay 10 bucks for the "chocolate-GHB-tini" special. Unconsciousness, loss of motor function, severe protracted vomiting -- nope, not an experience I ever want to go through again.
If anything good can come of this experience, I'd like to at least pass on some advice that I hope can spread:
Unless you are with a completely trusted person* with whom you trust with your LIFE - do not trust any drinks poured by a stranger, even the bartender. And by "a completely trusted person," I mean that if you were not awake, whether it be from regular sleep, anesthesia, too much alcohol, a stroke, etc... -- ask yourself: would you trust this person to defend your lifeless body and keep you from any harm while you are asleep?
And secondly, if you are out and about and if you EVER see a human being that is incapacitated in anyway -- REMEMBER, that could be you or a loved one in that position. PLEASE SPEAK UP, CALL 911 AND HAVE THE POLICE AT LEAST SCOPE THE SITUATION OUT. Be brave, ask questions, ask for ID, make sure all is okay, please? If something looks or feels wrong it probably is... go with your gut.
Image: Flickr / CC