Cornwall mum speaks out on spiking which left her 'disgusted'

  • Watch Hannah Stratton discuss the night she had her drink spiked.

A Cornwall mum has told MPs she felt "disgusted" in herself after her drink was spiked on a night out.

Hannah Stratton from Newquay, told the Commons Home Affairs Committee her drink was drugged while she was having a few glasses of wine with two friends in a quiet bar.

The 51-year-old said she had educated her three daughters about the risks of spiking but had believed she was “far too old” for it to happen to her.

Speaking on her experience, Ms Stratton recalled having to put her head on the bar table as she could not hold her upper body up and her legs felt like lead.

Her friends helped her into a taxi home, but she said the driver judged her for being drunk and she felt the whole experience was “degrading”.

Ms Stratton - who was sharing her experiences alongside another woman and a man - said she did not report the incident at first, due to shame and embarrassment.

“You just feel so disgusted in yourself – and that may make sense to the other victims here", she said.

“And it sounds really silly – a number of people that have said me: ‘No, no, no, don’t blame yourself, why are you feeling disgusted in yourself?’ But you do.

“It takes quite a while to actually switch that around and realise that actually, I’ve got no self-blame or I shouldn’t be blaming myself, but that’s why I didn’t report it.”

She said she has battled feelings of self-doubt over whether she had had drunk too much, but added: “I’m 51 years old. I’ve never behaved like that in my life, and I’m not going to behave like it after a couple of glasses of wine.”

Devon and Cornwall Police was the first force to hand out drink-spiking kits to people in bars and clubs.

Ms Stratton said she put up a post online about her experience and was contacted by around a hundred people “of all ages and both sexes” who said it had happened to them.

The committee was holding its first evidence session into spiking on Wednesday.

Ms Stratton also said she believes she was drugged “for fun” because the perpetrator would have known there was no way a group of middle-aged women would leave one of their friends alone to be exploited while so vulnerable.

She added: “My daughter, who is in her 20s, will say that now the conversation seems to be not, ‘Has anybody been drugged this weekend?’

“It’s, ‘Who has been drugged this weekend?’

“And within their circles, they believe that it’s primarily done for fun, just for the power and control of being able to see somebody so uncomfortable.”

Helena Conibear, chief executive of the Alcohol Education Trust, said surveys suggest between 11% and 15% of females and 6% to 7% of males have been spiked.

The organisation’s own research has found it also occurs in less obvious places than clubs and bars, such as in fast food outlets and cafes, with the largest proportion occurring at private parties.

Ms Stratton said: “It can be any drink, in pretty much any location, and it can happen to any person… We can all be victims.”

People can be reluctant to report spiking, she said, adding: “The shame and social embarrassment came up very, very strongly.

“Memory loss, blanks and not really being able to remember what happened and that trauma leading to a time lag before they’re prepared to report to anybody is also a huge barrier.”

More information on drink spiking and what to do if you think you've been a victim can be found on Devon and Cornwall Police's website.