Trigger warning: contains detailed description of spiking.
Searches for drink spiking are up 809% this week after a string of terrifying spikings – some by needle – have occurred across the UK.
And today, former Love Island contestant Sharon Gaffka has shared her own terrifying story of being spiked in central London.
The 25-year-old, who appeared on this season’s ITV2 show, has said that she is speaking out in the hope it’ll encourage other women to do the same.
Penning an open letter for Grazia, Gaffka shares that while enjoying her first night out after lockdown restrictions eased in July 2020, she started to feel unwell.
Rather than enjoying a normal night out, hers took a sinister turn.
She shared: “I experienced something that will alter my behaviour forever.”
“I didn’t leave the restaurant in an Uber like a normal 24-year-old woman who had one too many wines with dinner, but an ambulance.”
She details how friends discovered her “passed out in a toilet cubicle, in an uncompromising position, after bumping my head on the toilet, barely breathing with my eyes rolling into the back of my head.”
It’s reported that one of her friends, who happened to be a junior doctor, had to beg paramedics to take her seriously as it was assumed Gaffka had simply had too much to drink and was “someone who had sought to waste valuable NHS time and money.”
The TV star has shared how she “cannot fathom” how or why she was so easily “dismissed” by the NHS. In her mind, she was treated as being “irresponsible” for drinking so much, rather than looked after as the clear victim of a crime.
Similarly, after being treated in hospital, she was sent home – “discharged without papers and [with] no memory of treatment received or what happened to me.”
Thankfully, a close friend was there to look after her and take her home.
“I remember feeling mortified when I called up the hospital to find out they detected something in my bloodstream, causing unconsciousness”, Sharon wrote.
She’s now calling for better procedures and protocol for helping people who have been spiked – she says that she wasn’t even tested for date rape drug GHB in hospital, and was informed by the hospital that she would have had had to ask for the test.
“I was barely able to tell a junior doctor my name, how could I possibly know what to do?” Sharon continued.
She added: “We have allowed such heinous crimes to continue so much that they have now graduated from a little drug in my drink to numerous reports of young women being injected on nights out.”
“How big does the number have to get before we see action?”
She wrote the article to back up the ongoing Girls’ Night In campaign, a student led protest about the lack of support people receive when they have been spiked.
Nationwide, clubs and bars have been boycotted to encourage venues to do more to protect the surge in spiking.