'The Most Terrifying Thing I've Ever Been Told'

02/14/2014 02:43 pm ET | Updated Apr 16, 2014
  • Kelly Kleber Student, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at ASU

Note: The following post contains a description of sexual assault that some readers may find disturbing.

On November 10, 2012, I was drugged, beaten and raped.

It was by someone close to me that I would have never suspected capable of this action.
We met in high school. I remained in contact with him and whenever in town we would make plans to catch up.

This night started off as any ordinary night. I arrived at his house around six. He made me a rum and Coke, and I sat down on his couch, flipping through the channels to find something to watch.

He seemed nervous and stared at me while I was drinking. I didn't think much of it. As I finished my drink, he went back into the kitchen to make me another one. When he came back, he was watching me intensely. I knew something was off.

While on my phone texting, he grabbed it and started trying to figure out my password. Eventually, my phone locked so I couldn't call or text anyone. I got an immediate, overwhelming thought telling me, "he doesn't want you to be able to call 9-1-1."

I had taken just a few sips of the second drink when my speech started to slur and my vision blurred. I couldn't figure out why I felt like this after only two small drinks. I remember putting my drink down on his coffee table. Then I blacked out.

The next thing I remember is gasping. I was naked and his hands were grasped tightly around my throat. I couldn't breathe. Tears were rolling down my cheeks. I couldn't fight him off. It was like I was paralyzed. As soon as he let go of my throat, I started to vomit all over his carpet. He started yelling and smashed my face into the side of his bed frame. The force from the impact immediately knocked me out.

The next memory I have is him screaming at me to get out of his house. I was crying hysterically but I couldn't figure out why. I had never seen so much rage in someone like I did that night.

Everything after that is a blur until shortly after 1 a.m.

I remember seeing bright flashing lights. Several police officers were shining flashlights and pulling me out of my car. I don't remember ever getting into, being in my car or driving.

My heart was racing. How did I get here? Why am I here? I was found half-dressed and unconscious in the middle of an intersection. My pants were on backwards. My bra was mangled and twisted around me. My shirt was ripped and hanging around my waist. I had no shoes or underwear on and a deep, bloody laceration over my eyebrow. There were scratches and bruises all over my throat, arms, back, legs and thighs. I had no time to process what had happened, and the police were asking me so many questions. I was disoriented and don't remember much else until I was taken to the police station. I was never taken to the hospital to be examined. Instead I had to clean up and fix my clothes at the police station.

From there, I was told that I was being arrested for a DUI. I couldn't believe it. I knew I would have never intentionally driven drunk. Just as the officer was taking my blood, another sheriff came into the room and told me I was under arrest for a hit-and-run. The sheriff told me I had driven away from the scene of an accident on the other side of town, where I hit a man in his car. Both our cars had damage and the man was injured.

That was the most terrifying thing I've ever been told.

It was my worst nightmare come true. I felt like my life was over.

My mom picked me up at the police station at 3 a.m. I woke up the next morning knowing I had been raped. I didn't tell anyone because I was still trying to put all the pieces together from the night before. I went to look in the mirror and I didn't recognize myself. My eyes and face were swollen and my neck had several bruises. I was horrified when I saw what the rest of my body looked like. I had rug burns all over my legs from being dragged and dozens of bruises over the rest of my body.

My entire body felt numb.

I met with a lawyer to talk about my legal options. I was very adamant about filing a police report against the person who attacked me. My lawyer told me that even if I filed a police report, no one would look into it because I had no evidence.

Later in the day I went to the Apple Store to get my phone rebooted. My contacts and previous text messages had been erased. As soon as it was unlocked, I texted him to ask what happened last night. I had to text him at least five times before he finally responded. He wouldn't tell me much except that he never wanted to hear from me again.

He didn't care that I could have died that night. He didn't care that I could have killed someone when I was driving.

When I told my family and friends, some were very supportive and others blamed me. I had friends who told me they would never end up in a situation like that. I never thought I would end up in a situation like that either. After all, I was with someone I had known and trusted for seven years. I had the distinct feeling that I had been drugged and couldn't believe he had done this to me.

Four months passed by and it was now March 2013. My blood had been sent out to a lab to be tested for blood-alcohol concentration levels and drugs.

My lawyer called me and told me he had my test results. I could feel my heart sink into my stomach. He said, "I'm very surprised by your results." He told me Ketamine and Rohypnol were found in my blood. I dropped to the floor and started sobbing uncontrollably. I couldn't believe it. He drugged me and thought he could get away with it.

A few weeks later, an investigation began. He was listed as the only suspect in my sex crime case. I was hoping and praying that charges would finally be pressed and that my case would go to trial. I felt frustrated and repeatedly victimized throughout the investigation. From the very beginning, I felt that my case was treated as a low priority and that it wasn't going to lead anywhere.

As a result, my case never made it to trial. No charges were ever pressed. I was told that they didn't move forward with a trial in my case, not because they didn't believe I had been raped, in fact, they told me they knew I had been raped. But since it was acquaintance rape, they weren't likely to get a conviction.

I was told that I wasn't reliable enough to testify due to the amnesia the date-rape drugs had caused. It was as if they completely dismissed the fact that I was drugged and nearly died that night.

I was the first case in the department's history to have blood evidence of being drugged with date-rape drugs, yet nothing came of it.

Not only was I betrayed by someone I trusted, but I felt betrayed by the justice system, too.

Despite this, I refuse to give up and stay silent.

I want to let other survivors know that they are not alone. The only way we can help each other and change our society is by telling our stories.

I want to encourage other survivors not to stay silent, not to feel ashamed and not to blame themselves. Be it by acquaintance or stranger, I want rape to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Our conviction statistics are shameful. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), 97 percent of rapists will never spend a day in jail. My goal is to change that.

I found my voice. Will you find yours?

Need help? In the U.S., call 1.800.656.HOPE for the National Sexual Assault Hotline.