This is actually happening features real experiences that often include traumatic events, please consult the show notes for specific content warnings on each episode and for more information about support services.
The hardest part about the whole thing is just not knowing for a few hours that night, I wasn't me. I had myself taken away from me. And that's terrifying.
From laundry, I'm witness misalign you are listening to this is actually happening Episode 174, what if you couldn't remember that night? Have you seen 10 LASO on Netflix? Man, that was a great show. Light, funny, large hearted, one of the best of twenty twenty but I've binged them all. I binge everything. I'm getting down to foreign language documentaries on flour present. But when I get bored with bingeing, there's always best fiends, best fiends as the infamously impossible to put down puzzle game that's free to download a stimulating problem solving game that has you using your wits to save cute bugs from an invasion of greedy slugs.
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Download Best Fiends today for free on the Apple App Store or Google Play. That's friends without the R best fiends. I am the oldest of three girls, I was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and then we up and moved out to the middle of nowhere in central Illinois to a really small village called down. I was always a really artistic child, you could always find me with a book, my dad instilled a really big love for music and me and my mom instilled more of a love for reading.
My youngest sister is 10 years younger than me, so I was always kind of like a second mom to her and it was really fun raising her all throughout her life. As I went into junior high, we moved even further out into the country, so we were surrounded by corn and our neighbor's horses. We were always having bonfires and generally spending time outside with the dogs. It's just a really nice childhood. My parents did a really good job of kind of instilling different things about the world inside of me, even though we grew up in the middle of a very conservative area, you could say they always let me be a free thinker and develop my own perceptions of the world.
And I think I was very confused from an early age. I had a lot of questions about the world. I always felt a lot of emotions. As I got more into junior high, I got a little rambunctious, but I think that kind of came from being curious about what was outside of our cornfields. Shortly after I graduated high school, my parents went through a very long, drawn out divorce. I had left the home and was in college at the time about two hours away, so as I was in college, it just kind of became a lot of turmoil in all of our lives for a while that I feel like I kind of removed myself from on purpose.
We've worked it out a lot. I think they're both better off alone. But I had always kind of been the daughter that was always going off and exploring new things. Question authority a little bit more. After high school and throughout my beginning years of college, I was in what you could call a serious relationship. I ended up deciding that I wanted to transfer schools and come back home closer to where he was at the time. We lived together for about a year and I would say it was a pretty toxic relationship.
When I look back on it now, we were drinking quite a bit together and he was a few years older than me and we kind of just hold ourself off from the world. And that might have been my kind of escape from the things my parents were going through. And I feel like I kind of checked out for a little bit. I look back at those times and it's a little hard for me to remember. So I think after that, I kind of found myself sort of being a chameleon when I would meet different boys or men, find myself adjusting my own personality traits to what they liked.
I really appreciate all the different sort of groups that they brought me into, different music scenes, different interests, but I think I wasn't being fully, authentically myself and it kind of took me years to to be able to find that. So I was about twenty four, twenty five, I was in the closest city to my hometown, I had dropped out of school at this point. I had been in this relationship for about three years and it felt kind of stuck.
I wanted to experience the world so much and I had a best friend that had been an au pair in the Netherlands, and she had come back and had all these amazing stories about how great it was. And it was a wonderful way to be able to travel. And so I thought, you know what? I'm going to do the same thing. I'm going to go. And I ended up being an au pair in Madrid, Spain, for six months.
And I think that was kind of a turning point for me, where I really found myself by traveling alone and getting to see the world. And I think that really opened my eyes to the different things I could do and built a lot of trust in myself. And that chameleon aspect kind of started to fall away. When you're traveling and in a different country, you can be anyone you want, really, if no one knows who you are. And I felt like that was really my moment to figure out exactly who I was and really shine.
And when I came home, I tried to carry that with me and I feel like I succeeded. After I returned from Spain, I began to want to travel more, I want to travel the United States, so I started working for music festivals. I have a huge passion for live music, doing food vending or clothing vending at these festivals. A couple summers after that, I was doing it pretty much full time and full time on the road.
I didn't have an apartment or pay rent. I was sleeping in tents and traveling by trains and airplanes and buses, traveling with friends and the sense of community through these festivals and feeling like I was doing a job that I felt very fulfilled in and was enjoying and happy. It was really great times. So I had traveled down to New Orleans for a Halloween concert with one of my best friends, their names, Cat, I had met Cat working a music festival in Tennessee about two years prior, and we just clicked the first day we met.
She's from Alabama and she's got this thick Southern accent and I call her an angel on Earth. She's just so friendly and caring and comforting to anyone she meets. She's the kind of friend that would have my back in anything. And we immediately formed an amazing bond. She had just recently moved to New Orleans probably about six or seven months prior, and it just feels amazing to be down in New Orleans. It's my favorite city, so it felt great to be there with her.
So I had gone down to spend Halloween with her and I was staying at her house with her and trying to find other freelance jobs on the side. At the time, I was hoping festivals were beginning to wind down, they sort of end near the end of the fall and I was thinking, oh, I could I could stay in New Orleans and just kind of playing with the idea of staying down there with Cat or finding my own place. So I thought, oh, I'll try to find some different jobs while I'm down here and see what pans out.
I go on Craigslist gigs a lot to find different random freelance jobs, and I came across this Craigslist ad that a man had posted and he's looking for a female companion that can help him with his business.
He entertains people in New Orleans, these different men and women who come there for his business and he takes them out on the city for the evening, takes them for drinks, or sometimes takes them to Saints football games. And he was looking for a female companion that he said would be professional and who could be a good conversationalist, an intelligent person who could come and help add to the dynamic of these business interactions when he takes them out on the city.
So I responded to his Craigslist ad and just sent him a little bit of information about myself, and I was really excited at the prospect of being able to find this job to make some extra money while I was down there in the city and see if I could make a formal living arrangement happened while I was down there. I told Kat this seems like kind of a different job, but I'm willing to give it a shot. All I need to do is be able to talk to people.
And he had said in the ad that he would compensate very well, that he would pay for everything as we go out on these evenings. And so we agreed to meet. Kate and I were hanging out that day with some of her friends, we had driven into the city and I got that email back from him and she was like, well, why don't I just go with you? He wanted to meet at a brewery. He said he had invested in.
I emailed him again and said, is it OK if my friend comes and he was pretty much like, the more the merrier. So we went and we met him at a brewery in New Orleans. We got there and he just looked like a middle 50s businessman. He looked like someone's dad and he was super friendly and conversational and wanted to know about our lives and asked us lots of questions and seemed really upbeat and friendly. He bought us a beer there and then he gave us a tour of the brewery.
It seemed a little off at the time. I remember him calling one of the workers there by the wrong name and they corrected him. He had told us he lived in a different state. I want to say it was Alabamas and he just goes to New Orleans for work. So we had our beer and we had gotten there at about 4:00 pm and somewhere around five, 30, he asked if we wanted to go out to dinner down in the French Quarter.
And so we agreed. We followed him there and he had told us, follow me into this parking lot. I own this parking lot and you won't be towed from the lot. And so pulled into the parking lot and parked. Around this time, I had spoken to him at the brewery that I had an interest in moving to New Orleans and he had told me that he owned an apartment in the French Quarter and that if I worked with him and that I could also I could rent out the apartment from him.
So after we parked, we walked a few blocks away and went and looked at this tiny little studio apartment and around this time is when he started getting a little touchy feely. He was putting his hand on the small of my back and I was kind of chugging away but didn't really say like please stop or anything like that. We walked back down the stairs and he took us to an oyster bar. At the Oyster Bar, we stood up at the oyster shucking bar and he seemed to know everyone that worked there, the guys shucking the oysters he was talking to, they were familiar with him.
And he had mentioned something about, yeah, I give them Saints tickets. These are my friends and didn't really understand what that meant. But we he bought us a bunch of oysters and we shared some oysters and he was being a little more touchy feely. At this point, we had had a beer at the brewery and then we had ordered a cocktail cat, got a Moscow mule and I got a Bloody Mary the night was it was going well.
He was very conversational. Like I said, he knew everyone at the restaurant that worked there. And so I felt like pretty confident that it was an OK situation. But the touching was making me feel uncomfortable at that point. He was also saying some inappropriate things as we were eating oysters, he was saying, oh, did you know oysters are an aphrodisiac? I think he was trying really hard to make that, and I feel as comfortable as possible.
He even offered a bartending job at his brewery. Both of us were a little taken aback. I think we were excited at the prospect of possibly having these jobs. But as the night progressed, we both felt more and more strange about it. And at one point, he went to the bathroom and I leaned over to chat and was like, I don't know if I'm really feeling this anymore. This wasn't supposed to be a any sort of romantic or sexual thing.
I wasn't going to go through with this job he was offering me. And I think that we should finish this dinner and probably call it a night. This oyster bar we were at was on Bourbon Street, which is somewhere, if you know, New Orleans locals never really hang out on Bourbon Street. That's kind of the touristy area. And so I think we both were ready to get away from that part of town after the meal was over and carry on with the rest of our night.
Around the time we finished our drinks, the man and I'll call him Greg. Greg asked if we wanted to have one last nightcap at a bar down the street where he knew the owner.
And he kind of was like, please join me for I bought you a dinner. Like, join me for one last drink. I guess it did feel nice to have someone buying us dinner. He obviously had a lot of money and he seemed charmed by us. He was offering us these jobs. And I did feel uncomfortable with the touching. But in the back of my mind, I was like, all right, I'll kind of let that go.
I'm not going to contact this guy after this. So let's just try to have a good time. So I agreed. We left the oyster bar, walked down the sidewalk, didn't seem very far. And around this time, we both were feeling a little confused. We walked what felt like a short distance away and into a dark bar that was pretty small. I remember sitting down at the bar cat sitting next to me saying the gambling machine's off to the wall and the bartender coming over and he knew Greg and neither Cat or I ordered drinks there.
Greg had started talking to the bartender, who he was obviously familiar with, and they started up a conversation and I quickly realized that their conversation was political and they were both Trump supporters. I had a little discussion with him, I guess you could call it a quick debate. And I told him that I didn't want to associate with someone with those political beliefs. And I turned to Cat and I said, let's get out of here. And she was like, hell, yeah, let's get out of here.
I don't even know if we said thank you for dinner, we were both kind of like, fuck this, let's get out of here. And we just walked out. We kind of linked arms and like happily, we kind of were laughing, I believe we walked out of the bar and that's the last thing both of us remember. Today's episode is brought to you by Better Help, is there something in your life right now that interferes with your happiness or is preventing you from achieving your goals?
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And I just learned it from Babul, the number one selling language learning app. One of my goals for the New Year was to learn a new language, and babble has made the whole process addictively fun and easy with bite sized lessons that you'll actually use in the real world. I spent a semester in Paris, my junior year of college, but that was many years ago. So it's very difficult anymore to even hold a short conversation in French. Unlike the infamous language classes you took in high school, Babille designs their courses with practical, real world conversations in mind.
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I was in a bed and it was cat calling me on Facebook Messenger and she was saying, where are you?
Are you OK? What happened? Very adamantly ask me where I was. And I was still very much asleep. I kind of just said to her, I'm OK, I'm I'm sleeping, I'm OK, and I kind of looked around and realized I was in a hotel room and I said, I'm in a hotel, I'm OK.
She seemed very confused and was happy that I was OK.
I could hear the relief in her voice, but that was all I could really tell her. And I was just insanely exhausted. I just remember feeling terrible and that I just wanted to go back to sleep. I told her I was OK and we hung up. And I went back to sleep. I woke back up and that was kind of when I realized, like, where am I? What happened? I sat up in bed and Greg was at a table.
I was insanely sick, I have never felt so awful in my entire life, my entire body was aching. I had no idea how I'd gotten to where I was, but I knew Greg was there and he was sitting fully dressed at a table on his laptop. And he just kind of looked at me over his glasses and I don't even know what we said to each other, but I went into the bathroom and I was probably in there for over an hour, just violently ill.
I had never been so sick in my life. I couldn't even begin to think about what had happened or piece together anything because of how sick I was. I just remember taking off all my clothes and running a hot bath and kind of falling back asleep in the bath, just thinking anything to make myself feel better. I even lay down on the tile of the hotel floor because it was cold and fell asleep there for a while. I just remember being so sick that I couldn't even really form conscious thoughts.
I finally got dressed again and came back out and sat down on the bed, and I think around that time is when I realized that I didn't know why I was in a room with this man who the last memory I have was leaving him at the bar. That was when I kind of realized I might be in danger. I kind of think that I went into some sort of a survival mode in my head where I realized that my smartest move was to kind of play dumb.
Greg told me that I had been drinking so much and that this is what happens when women drink liquor and that he had basically rescued me. I called him drunk and asked if he could help me. And he said that he he rescued me and called me an Uber and brought me back to the hotel room. And that was about that. You know, in my head, I was thinking I didn't even drink that much, it I didn't feel like a normal hangover.
I had never been so sick in my life. But I knew at that moment that I just had to agree with him. And I said, I'm so sorry I got so drunk. Thank you for bringing me here. And I didn't really ask questions. I almost felt like I could see him watching me for my reactions. And I kind of wonder if he was trying to figure out how much I remembered. I just agreed with what he was saying and I thanked him and he said, I don't think we can have a business arrangement because you obviously drink too much and can't handle yourself.
So I said, OK. And he actually ordered us room service breakfast. And he brought me a plate of breakfast and he said, See, I can be nice. I tried to eat, but I couldn't. I was so sick. Around this point is when I realized something wrong happened last night, and it's not adding up. I asked him to get me a soda from a vending machine, and so he left the room and I called Kat and I said, Kat, I have to get out of here.
I don't know how I got here. We both kind of confirmed that we don't remember a large portion of the night, something terrible had also happened to her, and she started going about the process of figuring out how to get me. I knew at that point where we were he had told us the night before that when he comes into New Orleans, he gambles a lot at a casino and they give him a hotel room. So I told her where I was and she said, OK, I'm coming there.
Keep your phone with you. Greg came back to the room and I really can't remember what we talked about, I think for a large portion of it, I was laying in the bed just feeling violently ill still. That could see him watching me, but he didn't really ask me any questions and I didn't really ask him many. I did notice that he had a small cut under his eye. I asked him how it happened because he wears glasses and it kind of had looked like maybe his glasses had gotten pushed into his face.
And he told me that I had hit him. And I told him I was sorry, I didn't remember doing that, and I told him that cat was coming to pick me up and I asked him if he knew where she was. I was so confused. I didn't know how we had gotten split up. And he told me that he had no idea where she was. And honestly, his his demeanor and his tone just seemed pretty angry. He seemed like a different man than the person I had shared drinks and dinner with the night before.
He didn't seem as bubbly or friendly and he was pretty quiet. I told my room number and waited for her to come get me, and eventually she called me and I told him, you know, she's she's here to pick me up. I went into the other room and I found my purse overturned on a table, I had my phone still, but I didn't have my I.D. and a few other things were missing. I called Kat and she had arranged a ride to come and pick us up at this point on the phone with her.
I realized that her car was missing. So she had called a friend to come pick her up and then come and get me out of the hotel. I went about gathering my things and I found my purse overturned on a table with everything spilled out of it, my ID was missing, but I gathered what I had. And then I looked around for my shoes and my shoes were missing. And Greg told me that I came in without any shoes.
So I gathered what was left of my purse and my things, and he walked me out of the hotel room. We went downstairs and stood out in front of the hotel and I didn't have shoes on and I felt really embarrassed and uncomfortable.
When I was on the phone with Cat, I told her, just come by and pick me up. Don't get out, don't say anything to him, because I don't want him to know that we think it has something to do with him. I think playing dumb right now is our best bet. And she agreed. So I'm standing on the corner in front of the hotel with Greg waiting and eventually Cat and one of our friends pull up. Our friend, this man, got out of the car and started running up at Greg like he was going to hit him or started yelling at him.
And I said, no, stop, get back in the car. I kind of ran and got in the car with them and I look took one look back at Greg and he looked at me like surprised and angry and confused. And I couldn't really tell what his what his expression was, but he he looked like he looked surprised that that we ran and we drove away.
I felt a massive amount of relief to be back with Cat, but it wasn't just a girls night on the town after we left the bar. Something had happened and I think we were both really terrified to unravel the pieces. Kat and I are talking to each other and trying to compare notes and trying to figure out what happened and, you know, she told me, Brennan, I think we were drugged. And we both start telling the last thing, remember, and both of us last remember walking out of that bar after he told us he was a Trump supporter.
And we remember kind of laughing as we left, just like this is ridiculous.
We don't need to be here anymore. So, you know, we said we think he drugged us and we went straight to a police station, we got there and Kate and I tell the officers we need we need some help. This is where Kate and I got to sit and wait for quite a while and really compare notes. The last thing she remembers is walking out of that bar with me.
She came to and was in the middle of a street and she kind of looked around and didn't know where she was and it was still dark, was probably around midnight at this point. What we think she got up and just started walking and she didn't have her car keys. She didn't have her phone. She had a couple dollars on her, but everything else was gone. So she started walking and she realized that she was in the Bywater, which is east of the French Quarter in New Orleans, and it's kind of seen as the rough part of town.
And she was terrified. She walked in what she thought was the right direction, and she kept looking for the downtown skyline buildings of New Orleans. So she walked around for a long time and eventually gave someone she ran into a dollar to tell her where the nearest bus station was. And she walked for hours. She eventually got to the bus station and a really kind woman gave her some money for the bus and bought her a coffee. It took her probably about five hours to get home, maybe more of walking and bussing, kind of trying to figure out where she was, and by the time she called me, it was probably about 6:00 in the morning.
I want to say they picked me up somewhere around 8:00.
So the officers called us back and we told our story, we told them the guy's name, and they gave us a little detective's card with his number on it. They said you should go to the hospital because we at that point had no idea if we had been sexually assaulted. And I don't think that the police officers took it as a sexual assault at that point because we both didn't know. After being at the police station for probably about two or three hours, we left and went to the hospital.
Kat's mother came all the way from Alabama and our guy friend was there with us and we got taken to separate rooms and put in nightgowns and we went through the process of a rape kit. They told us that the rape kit was going to take hours and hours. At first I really didn't want to do it. I was so exhausted and all I wanted to do was sleep and be in some comfort somewhere. But I agreed to do it probably because Cat was there.
They gave us tests to see if we were drugged and took articles of clothing. And at this point is when doctors began noticing bruises on CAT. I had had some bruises, there was a little bruising on the side of my right hand, I felt really saw my back hurt really bad. But up until that point, I was just feeling very sick. They let me go into the room with Cat, and she had strangulation bruises on her neck.
We both had a knot on our head where we had either fallen or hit our head or been hit somehow. And Cat had a giant bruise on her right side where we think she was pushed out of a vehicle into the road. And that's when the doctors did some X-rays and CAT scans. Probably the scariest point in all of it was realizing that she had been strangled by someone, her hands were all bruised up like she had punched somebody.
Yeah, at this point, I didn't know what to think. I have brought her into this situation. I responded to the Craigslist post and she came with me to make sure I was OK and she ended up being strangled and tossed in the street. And so it was really traumatic and heartbreaking to see how beat up she had gotten. And that was when the pain started setting in for her, too. We were both so exhausted and just tired and upset.
I did feel confused towards myself. I kept trying to think, do I feel like I've been sexually assaulted? You just can't tell. I didn't feel like that. But I. I knew I had woken up in a bed with a man who had been making me feel uncomfortable with advances and touching the night before. And I knew that there was a chance that he could have done something to me that I don't remember or was unconscious during. I told them I had taken a bath and that could have washed away evidence for the rape kit, we had spent already three hours in the police station, which counts down the clock, that they can still find drugs in your system when they do a test for that.
And so they basically told us, you know, we might not be able to get anything from this. I remember that I didn't give my articles of clothing, they asked if I wanted to and I decided not to. I'm not really sure why I didn't. I guess that was like the a little bit of comfort I still had. And when I look back, I don't know why I didn't give my clothes, because I can't really wear those clothes anymore without thinking about it.
And maybe there had been some sort of evidence on their. We talked with Kat's mom for a long time and it was hard, I felt kind of responsible for getting her daughter into that situation. I was just sad and exhausted. Her mother wanted her to go back to Alabama with her. But Kat was like, no, I need to stay here with Brennan. We're going through this together. So we went back to her and her roommate's house outside of New Orleans.
And we basically started about the process of trying to piece together what might have happened. Cat and I slept in her bed together and kind of made a nest and just kind of comforted each other and slept a lot, and when we were awake, we were piecing together things. We documented all her bruising, took photos of all of mine, we wrote out a timeline of exactly what we remember, and that's when I started going through my phone. While going through my phone, I realized that all my text messages with Greg and all of my emails had been deleted.
I don't have a passcode on my cell phone. So I think at some point when I was unconscious or asleep, he had gone through and deleted those. And that's when I found a picture on my phone that I must have accidentally taken the night before, and it just shows my bare feet standing on a sidewalk and it's the location of the photo in my phone, says the Bywater. It's at a point that they call the world's end near the very edge of a part of New Orleans, and that's when I started to piece together that I had also been down in the Bywater.
At this point, I didn't realize that I had been down there as well. We knew had woken up in the street down there, but I didn't realize we had gotten all the way over there. I also realized that in my purse I had someone else's cell phone, a little kind of tracker phone, I didn't know whose that was and how I became in possession of it. I started looking through my phone for people I had called the night before.
While I don't remember anything and I talked to one of my friends who I had called, and the time stamp on that is around 10 p.m. At some point, Kat and I both had gotten taken to the Bywater or wound up there somehow and been separated, which we would never do on our own accord. And at around 10 p.m., I called one of my guy friends and he said that I was manic and screaming. They left me. I'm not safe, I'm not safe and just screaming like he's never heard me scream before.
He was telling me to look for street signs, to try to figure out where I was, to try to call an Uber, to call nine one one, and that I wasn't really registering anything. He said that I couldn't even figure out street signs to figure out where I was, that I just kept screaming that I was unsafe. And he heard a woman call me over and I hung up. That night that we went back after the hospital, that's when I found the woman's second spare cell phone in my purse.
The next day, we went about contacting the woman whose number I had in my phone. I texted her and I said, I think I was with you last night. That's when she told me that I'm missing my phone. Do you have my second phone? Do you have it? And can can we meet up? And so I met up with her that day. She came up to me and she said that I had been with her for about an hour and a half or two hours, and she was trying to help me to get back to someplace safe that my phone had died and we wandered around together trying to find a place to charge my phone.
And I eventually did charge it. And the woman took my phone and called one of the most recent numbers in there to try to figure out how to get me back safely. And she ended up getting a hold of Greg. And she told me that Greg was at first very hostile and was like, I don't want anything to do with her, and that she eventually kind of convinced him, like, this girl is wandering around the Bywater barefoot and screaming.
Seems like she needs some help. And he sent an Uber and had to pick me up and take me back to the hotel he was at. The conversation with her was very short on that corner that day. It seemed like that was all the details she could give us. And I thanked her for helping me and gave her a hug. And we continued to try to piece things together. I had hit my head somehow there was a knot on the top side of my head.
The whole right side of my palm, up to my pinky was bruised, like maybe I had been pounding something and it felt like my spine along the back of my back had been bruised and I had some bruising on my knees and my feet were sore, I think, from walking around barefoot. But besides that, my bruising was not nearly as bad as housecats was. So we're not sure if we both were attacked and maybe she did the majority of the fighting.
She definitely knows how to fight better than me. We're not sure if she was the one that actually punched Greg and gave him the cut under his eye. We're not sure if we got attacked by someone else after we left, Greg. We're not sure if he feed us or if he drugged us at the Oyster Bar or if someone else came along and it was just a coincidence and we were a hit on the head. It's hard to know whether he had cats car towed from the lot.
He said he owned because her car is missing after all of this and the police have never been able to recover it. It's never been found in a tow yard or anything like that. So we're not sure if how the car just disappeared. And to be honest, we're not really sure of anything. But all we know for certain is that we were both unconscious for a large amount of time. Today's episode is brought to you by upstart last year showed us that you never know what life is going to throw at you, an unexpected credit card expenses can lead to overwhelming debt when things change rapidly.
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Those first few days after were really hard, there was a lot of crying and a lot of anger. I had kind of said, let's go about this the right way. If this guy did something to us, I want him to get in trouble with the law. Some of Cat's friends had done some digging, we did a reverse search on his phone number, which he hadn't deleted his calls, the calls we had made out of my phone. So I still had his phone number.
We knew his first name and some of her friends did some digging. And we found his information, Facebook and photos of him and his family. Some of her friends were like, let's get this guy, let's like beat him up or something like that. And I was like, no, we can't do that. Let's do this the right way. Like, if if we retaliate, it could end really badly. We don't really know what we're dealing with.
And to be honest, we don't even know for sure if it was this guy. It would be kind of coincidental if something like this had happened to us after we had just met with this man off of Craigslist, Georg's. Once we found out his first and last name, we called the detective and I actually left a message saying we have more information on this guy and I've never heard back from the police or the detective at all. We drove around the Bywater in her roommate's car looking for her car.
What if we did drive off in some altered state and left it? Like what? What if we had some reason to go to the Bywater? Someone invited us there or something like that, but we never found her car. The police have never been able to find it. So for a long time after it was just confusion and waiting for a phone call from detectives that never came. We have never heard from the hospital again, Kate gave them her health insurance information and I'm on Medicaid and I actually didn't even write it down.
But Kat gave them her health insurance information and they said, you know, you won't be charged for this. A rape kit is totally free. And she actually has gotten billed for it and it's gone into collections. So we've never heard anything from the rape kits. Kate and I know each other emotionally so well that we really were each other's rock for it. I can't have imagined going through it without her and it makes me so sympathetic for people who do go through it totally alone.
I ended up staying in New Orleans for a lot longer than I had originally intended, but I refused to let this thing that had happened to me in my favorite city tarnished the way I saw the city. We both have gone through a lot of healing on our own. I think we talk about it a lot. I've talked to lots of people about it. I've talked to other people who have gone through traumatic events. It's been almost a year since this happened, and I think even just the smallest information to try to figure out what had happened that night would be such a relief.
And there's even times where I'm somewhat relieved that I don't remember. But most of the more I think about it and the more I dive into trying to figure it out, the more confused I get. There's days where I'm thinking, what if this Greg guy had nothing to do with it? What if we had somehow escaped? And I got I went right back into danger by going back to the hotel. When I look back on leaving the Oyster Bar before we head to the nightcap, Kat and I have both kind of talked about feeling a little out of it as we left the Oyster Bar, and it seemed like a short walk.
But once we did find where that bar was, eventually we both knew it was the place we had gone. We walked in and I kind of remember it again, the the gambling machines off to the wall. And it was dark. And I remember having a conversation about Trump with Greg, and I remember thinking it was almost hilarious that we had just spent a night with this hardcore Trump supporter who bought us dinner. And I remember Cat and I laughing and leaving.
But looking back, I think we both were feeling the effects of something.
And when I look back at it, I do remember him trying to convince us to go have the nightcap and kind of hurrying us out of the restaurant. And I look back at the fact that he knew all the workers there. Could we perhaps have been drugged from a bartender or, you know, and it's kind of terrifying to go thinking to all of these different elements of it, because the whole thing could be a lot bigger than we even know.
I think back on how Greg had shown me the little studio apartment that was just down the street from that oyster bar. I get really terrified to think how it could all play out that he owns this parking lot and he owns this apartment right there above a bar he goes to all the time in a restaurant. It's really hard to have a firm grasp of it in your head and to have someone to blame when you don't know for certain. But when the clues start to add up, it's hard to not draw conclusions.
I guess something I keep going back to is deleting the things out of the texts and messages that we shared and my phone. Why would he delete those? And the cut under his eye and how cats hands were bruised up all along her knuckles like she had punched someone or something. He said, I punched him, but my knuckles weren't bruised and hers were, so he must have seen her again if she was the one that punched him. Maybe Greg even did drag us and then we ruined his plans by leaving and maybe someone else took advantage of our drugged state out on the streets of New Orleans.
But I keep coming back to how did we get three miles away and how did we get separated and how was cat pushed probably out of a vehicle with a giant bruise on her hip. How did she lose her phone? Why did I continue to have my phone? None of it really starts to add up. If it was Greg that intended to do these things, then is he still out there doing them? Seems like he has a pretty good system with it if he can be friends with everyone down there and owns property there.
Since the day that we were in the police station, we've never heard anything back from them. No updates about an investigation or anything like that. And it started to feel like they thought we were just some drunk girls that partied too hard in New Orleans or something, feeling like our story didn't matter to the police.
Real Life is a TV show, this isn't law and order for you, there's no Olivia Benson that comes and swoops in and tries to save you from situations like this. I'm almost positive that we were drugged, even if a test will never be able to show that because I've never felt that way and I've never felt so sick, it just completely takes away your independence.
And that's a really scary feeling. I did have a long period of time where I was just angry at the police and I was angry at the process of rape kits not getting tested, and I still am I know not to trust as much, but I also don't want it to take away from that part of me that's not afraid to take a random gig or to travel somewhere. I think about it all the time, and I usually try not to think about it too in depth, it's just like a pit in my stomach, probably about four or five days after this happened when I was staying in the house with Cat, we were just the two of us there at night and her roommate was gone and somebody pulled into their driveway.
They were probably just pulling in and backing out and trying to turn around, but and I saw it and it scared the shit out of us, we grab we both grabbed kitchen knives and we went and hid in her bathroom and called the police because we thought it was Greg.
And the police came and kind of were like, you know, there's nobody here, and I spoke to Cat earlier today and she had gotten a flat yesterday. And while she was figuring that out, a truck pulled over to help her. And for a split second, she thought it was him. So it does follow you. I still will never know what happened when I was in a bed with him, and that's just something that I'm going to have to come to terms with.
I guess there's just a lot of disappointment that we're never going to know all the pieces and how they fit together. It makes you realize that even if you feel like you're this strong, independent woman, these things can still happen and they they do happen all the time. To get to a point in your life where you feel strong and independent and like you know who you are and then have that taken away from you, it's a really scary feeling.
You never think these things are going to happen to you. The hardest part about the whole thing is just not knowing. For a few hours that night, I wasn't me. I had myself taken away from me, and that's terrifying.
Not knowing exactly what happened that night, not knowing if in my head I'm blaming this man, knowing that something did happen that night and we were wrong, and blaming myself for having responded to this, not seeing the red flags earlier, not leaving when I knew I felt uncomfortable.
I'm not sure if I could have gotten through it alone. I don't even know if I would have gone to the hospital at all and having someone else with me through it. I think we really saved each other. No one else will ever really know what it felt like to go through that. We can tell the story to other people and they can say, why didn't you just leave when you were getting oysters? Why didn't you leave before you got dinner if you were feeling uncomfortable?
And, you know, sometimes I read back over it. I'm just like, this is so silly. Why did I think this was OK? But nine times out of ten it is OK. You know, we don't always listen to these tiny little instincts or gut feelings until it's too late. And I think that's the only other person that can sit there and say, you know what, we didn't know what was going to happen to us, and sometimes these things just happen.
You really just have to try to make it make sense in your own head and not let it totally ruin your life. I feel very different now. I do see this as something in my life, as a defining point, but I have to be OK with myself with that, or else it's going to plague me my whole life. I can either let it sink me or I can talk about it and I can try to connect with other people who have been through something traumatic, and I refuse to let it make me terrified to go out and travel, still refuse to let it let me hate New Orleans because I don't.
And I'm trying to choose to rise above. From London, you are listening to this is actually happening, if you love what we do, please rate and review the show. You can subscribe on Apple podcast, Spotify, the Wonder App or wherever you're listening right now. You can also join hundred plus in the one free app to listen ad free. In the episode notes, you'll find some links and offers from our sponsors by supporting them. You help us bring you our shows for free.
I'm your host witness Aldine.
Today's episode was produced by me with special thanks to the This is Actually Happening team, including Andrew Waites and Alan Westberg. The intro music features the song Alabi by Tipper.
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