Trigger warning: I thought it might be time for my first ever trigger warning because this post does talk about the threat of sexual assault or rape (didn’t happen, had good reason to think it might). Anyway it might be triggering or upsetting for some people.
Back in 2010, I took a bit of time out from real life and went backpacking through Mexico and Central America. After spending three weeks with my sister and a friend ripping it up in Cuba and Cancun, it was time to say good-bye to the girls, and start making my way south, alone.
My first night without the girls was spent in a pretty little town in the south of Mexico. Not wanting to spend the night reading alone in my hostel room, I headed out to see what the town had to offer.
I headed to a bar and grabbed a mojito, hoping it was only a matter of time before I found some fellow travellers to talk to. If you have ever travelled solo you will know this feeling. Sitting by yourself, nursing a drink, trying not to look like you mind being alone, but hoping someone interesting will come along and talk to you. Sometimes, these nights turn into the best nights travelling and five hours later you find yourself skinny dipping in a hotel pool with ten new best friends, other times, you don’t find anyone to talk to and leave alone to go and sit on a beanbag back at the hostel and send an email to your Mum.
This night was one of those nights where no one seemed interested in talking to me. A few cocktails later I was feeling pretty sloshed and decided it was best to get going. I stood up and the full effect of the mojitos I’d been drinking hit me. I don’t have a whole lot of recollection after that, but from what I can piece together, I walked out of the bar, climbed into a cab and promptly feel into a drunken sleep in the back seat.
The next thing I remember is being led up some stairs to a room with a bed. When I’m really drunk I just want to sleep, in bars, by the side of the road, in the back of taxis, so when I saw the bed I gave no thought to where I was, or who had been behind me leading me up those stairs, I just thought “ahhhh bed!” and collapsed on to it.
The lights went out and a minute later I felt hands trying to undo my skirt. Reality, fear and panic suddenly hit me. “Oh God no!” I thought, suddenly a little less drunk, “I’m about to be raped.”
I started screaming the place down, “No, no, no.”
He jumped off the bed and turned on the light.
I looked up at the huge man looking down at me. I could only think that he must have been my taxi driver. I suddenly felt a little calmer, figuring if he was going to do anything he would, he wouldn’t turn on the light and tell me to shoosh.
I got up still swaying. I attempted to say in Spanish, “ok so I am going to go”.
He walked over and blocked the door, his hands on his hips. I looked at him and my head started swimming. Fear might have woken me up a bit, but I was still pretty drunk. I remember looking at him thinking.
“Fuck is this really happening? I am alone in a room, somewhere in Mexico with a huge dude blocking the door.”
He stood there. He had a cold look on his fat face.
I remember thinking “Ok so I know I am in a pretty bad situation here, but I am so drunk, I’m not as scared as I probably should be.”
I started to garble broken Spanish “Please don’t hurt me, Please let me go”. I remember trying to make my voice sound more frightened than I was, because a big part of my brain was just going,
“What the fuck? I’m too drunk for this noise, I need a nap,”
I took my phone out with the plan to call the police, forgetting that I had no idea what the number was, and even if I did my Australian mobile had no service in Mexico. Also I had no idea where I was.
He took my phone off me and put it in his top pocket.
I backed away from him and looked around to see if there was some other way out. It was just a small room with a double bed, a few chairs and a bathroom. The whole thing just didn’t seem real and my drunk brain was just thinking,
‘Is this actually happening?”
“I just want to leave, I want to go home.” I told him.
“How much money have you got?” He asked me, looking annoyed.
For some reason him asking me for money made me feel more scared all of a sudden.
I attempt some Spanish again, “Por favour, no dolor me’.
He rolled his eyes. Probably because I was trying to speak in atrociously bad Spanish with a broad Australian accent, while he had been speaking to me in English the entire time.
He then said, “Well you have to pay for the hotel.”
I wouldn’t have called it a hotel, but I was not about to argue. I handed over the equivalent of $10 and finally he leads me out of the room.
“You have my phone.” I said. He pulled it out of his pocket and handed it back to me.
As I walked back down those stairs I took a look around. We were in some kind of warehouse. There was a guy asleep on a couch by the wall. The taxi driver went and woke him up and he got up and opened the chained and bolted garage door.
Then, after all that, being the good taxi driver he was, he offered to drive me home.
I just started to run without looking back.
It turned out I was in some sort of industrial area. Probably not the best spot for a drunk, lone female in Mexico to be wandering about late at night. I had no idea where I was or what to do or even which direction to start heading. Then, I saw it, trundling down the deserted street. A taxi. I think it might have been accompanied by the sound of angels singing. You’d have thought I’d had had enough of cabs by this point, but when I pulled up I happily jumped in.
“How much to Sea Hostel?” I asked.
25 pesos, the exact amount I had in my wallet after giving old mate the rest for the ‘hotel’ fee.
This time I was taken back to where I was staying. I promptly fell asleep on my bunk-bed and when I woke up the next day, decided this was one of those stories it was best not to tell Mum about.