On Wednesday, August 17, it will have been one year ago that my life was stolen from me. One year ago, all I wanted was a friend, but what I got was anything close to that. One year ago, I was raped.
My story is unlike most that you will ever hear in the news or on some Facebook post, because no one talks about male on male rape. It gets brushed off and pushed to the side in almost every single conversation about sexual assault. America has created almost a "one track" thought process toward the subject: if you're the victim then you were a drunk female "who was asking for it." Except, rape is not a female victim-only crime.
The truth is that everybody, everywhere is able to be a victim of rape. The problem hiding the truth is the feminized culture surrounding the topic. The patriarchal society in which we live in has constructed this social norm of men always craving sex; however, this ultra-macho mindset is almost never the case with guys. We get taught to be sexual predators from the time we're in middle school even if we are not aware of it. We are taught that sexual advances are essentially worshipped in the male world because it asserts our authority. We are taught that trying to beg and manipulate a girl's feelings after she says no or brushes us off is acceptable because if she eventually consents then it is fine. This is not fine. No means no.
Here's another truth: my aggressor was not someone unfamiliar, but it was someone that I had dated in a different time before we got to be where we were that day. I thought of this man as a friend to me, but he turned out to want nothing more than my body. I thought I loved him, but he never reciprocated that feeling. It happened after I had broken up with my then current boyfriend and needed a friend to help me through the tough times as that relationship had lasted nearly a year and we had planned to get married. So this man (I will call him Lance) offered to come over and help me out and be a friend.
I went to go pick Lance up from his house, and we drove back to mine so we could watch a movie and go to the fair. My mom was not home, and I had the house to myself minus my dog. We went into my room so I could turn on the movie that we were going to watch, and before I had turned around, he had stripped into his underwear. I was confused and asked him why, but he only responded with "I was hot." I didn't think much of it and sat down.
I won't go into any crazy details about this because I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable or have to edit them out later, but what happened next was emotional manipulation and a forced sexual encounter. He promised to make me feel as good as my ex who I had just broken up with did, and he told me to just trust him. Except I did not. I did not trust him, nor did I want anything sexual at that point. I also was not intoxicated, so I was able to consciously understand what was happening in vivid detail. He grabbed me by the upper back and forced me on him. I tried to fight back, but all I could do was sob to the point of almost vomiting. He didn't give me a chance to say no because I didn't have a free second. Lord, had I wished that the end product would've been bleach. I didn't want to face another day knowing that I was a dirty rape victim.
After the deed was done he let me free and I ran upstairs soaked in tears and curled up on the patio. I felt numb. I felt dead. I didn't feel like an actual person since my humanity had been stolen. I was no better than those adult toys that you see in movies or on the internet. I was just another toy in Lance's sick game. Lance then came upstairs and I drove him home because he did not have a car. Those final 30 minutes were the most brutal and fearful moments of my life.
Since the incident, I have thought about suicide. I have almost relapsed into bulimia and anorexia because my depression has increased tenfold. Sometimes I lay awake at night sobbing because I can't get the scene to stop replaying in my head; sometimes I am just cashing out a customer and they remind me of him physically and the scene replays. Being a rape victim has shaped me entirely as a person. Day in and day out, I fight to stay strong and to remain in a decent mood. I fight for my life just to have the will to live. I fight because it's all that I have left to do.
It has forever changed my life. You start to lose pleasure doing things that you would've normally loved doing. You start to hate yourself anytime you think about it because you will always think that it is your fault. It is never your fault. You will always think it's your fault deep down though because you are a male and should've wanted it. You will always think it is your fault because you knew him and maybe by sitting down you consented, but you didn't consent. You will always think it's your fault because society dictates that men cannot be raped, but they can.
There is hope. You will overcome your rape, and you will become a stronger person. You will eventually tame the demons inside of you telling you that you are not good enough. You will overcome the thoughts of self-doubt and victim blaming—I haven't gotten there yet, but it is possible. Surround yourself with loving people who will accept you for who you are. Today, I am sharing my story with you as a beacon of hope. If you are a male victim of rape, make your voice heard. You are not alone. You will never be alone. You are loved. You will overcome. You will become a survivor, not a victim.