The year was 2008 and I was an almost 22 year old girl working on a Bachelor’s Degree. Always the “Goodie Two-Shoe”, a girl proud to say drinking and occasional pot smoking was all I would ever touch. A childhood wrought with neglect and drug abuse instilled in me a fear of drugs from a young age. Having miscarried 6 months prior, I was still fairly raw emotionally when an acquaintance commented on my MySpace and told me I was beautiful and to come see him sometime. I jumped at the opportunity not knowing that moment of despair would lead me on the most terrifying few months of my life. The first night I met Ben, I was on my period and remembered promising myself I wouldn’t sleep with him. (Not only because of the first date but because of my period) The next morning, I woke up disoriented and felt like I was going to die. Feverish, throwing up, etc. My heart jumped into my throat when it occurred to me I had a tampon in the night before and was unable to locate it. Ben immediately had me call Poison Control. I remember him acting like he was a hero for knowing what to do. Looking back, I can’t help but be disgusted by what he did. That was the beginning of literal hell for me. The irony was, I was so “happy”. But friends saw my weight drop and I seemed different. It would take retrospect to try to uncover what was really going on. Another night early on in our relationship, Ben took me to a friend’s house in West Seattle. Everyone was hanging out, playing beer pong and partying it up. I blacked out again that night and woke up the next morning really sore. Ben made light of the situation and told me I was “begging him to do anal” and that’s why I was sore. I had no idea anal was even a thing at that age and I remember being shocked and embarrassed. Despite many blaring red flags, I uprooted my whole entire life and decided to relocate to Eureka, CA. We took an initial trip to California and while passing through Oregon, we stayed at Ben’s friend’s house. He sprung it on me we were going to “swap partners” for the night. I wasn’t having it and I remember him being really angry with me.

The night before leaving Queen Anne/Seattle on our second trip to California, Ben told me his friend, Colin would be tagging along. I was so naive, I failed to realize he was a heroin addict when he tried getting me to acquire needles for his “diabetes”! All along, my credit card was used to pay for moving expenses with the promise of being repaid once we were in California. We moved into a Victorian house that was like a dream, co-signed by Ben’s mother, Maryam. It was amazing living near the ocean and things seemed so perfect.. until they weren’t. Ben admitted he had cheated the night before we left Washington and proceeded to tell me we were going to stay living together but see other people. I told him, “fuck you! I am out of here!” I literally jumped in my car and drove all day long straight from California to Washington, all alone. I was having trouble sleeping since I had started seeing Ben and I was utterly exhausted. I called Ben and remember him telling me “go stay with Flood. He’ll take care of you.” I drove to Queen Anne and went to Flood’s apartment. He welcomed me in and asked me if I wanted yerba mate to drink and to smoke some pot. At the time, he didn’t consume either and I should have known better. He led me to his room when I asked to sleep and I remember him getting in the bed and having his way with me and I got a panicked feeling and felt like I was shrinking. I remember him saying “Ben is a bad person, he did this to you.” Next thing I remember, he and I are “walking around town”. (Hindsight has me wondering if he was driving me around). After that, I find myself alone in my car in my passenger seat and a cop asking me to move. Next thing I know, I am strapped to a gurney and hauled to Highline hospital. I black out and briefly recall waking up and seeing a girl sitting next to me reading a book. I am frantic and confused, absolutely unaware of what is going on. I distinctly remember being promised I can go to my friend, Kelly’s if I “sign this paper”. Next thing I know, I am hauled to Navos for the most torturous 7 days I have ever endured. 5 adult men it took to forcefully inject me full of Ativan, Zyprexa, Resperidone, Abilify, Ambien and Bactrin every day I was there. Solitary because I wouldn’t keep my clothes on, yet my chart noted I had a fever. The water I recall asking for was tainted, I could see white residue in the bottle. I didn’t trust the food and outside of my brother bringing carrots and beef jerky I recall eating not one single thing. I was told if I wanted sunlight, I could only go outside if I smoked. So, I- the girl who hated cigarettes- now had a smoking habit that I wouldn’t kick for 4 long years. I narrowly escaped with my life and a spark of sanity. I recall a silver-haired lady praying with her rosary and feeling the only hope I had felt while I was there on the last day of my stay.

It would take several months to get the psychotropic medications out of my system and I have never touched another one! My fear of hospitals led to a birth center birth and a home birth. Then an emergency C-section followed. Needles and prodding and noises and lights, all were contributing to PTSD of sorts. I ended up with Postpartum Preeclampsia and I wouldn’t doubt there is a link to my trauma from 2008. I have spent many years terrified of ending up back at Navos and for several years alcohol was a crutch. I have been sober since 2020 and my brain has never been more clear. An article released in January, 2023 turned my trauma into my present rather than my past. I read an account of being illegally involuntarily committed and the detail of being forcefully injected had me bawling my eyes out the rest of the day. I opened up to people closest to me and sought perspectives from people who were aware of what happened and kept hearing a common theme- they thought Ben was drugging me. I never thought in a million years he would, until I got my head clear and my heart was no longer in it. Ben’s mother was irate that I broke up with Ben and left him and she just so happened to have a mental health background. Not long after telling her I broke up with Ben, I wind up in a mental hospital. In addition, they expected me to stay medicated and not recall the drugging and rape by Flood that preceded my commitment. Their plan didn’t work. I will see to it that justice is served almost 15 years later. I owe it to myself, I owe it to those I love and I owe it to other women who need the inspiration to speak their truth. The horrors I endured are egregious and need to be brought to light. No one deserves the literal hell I have been through.