by Dish Staff
This reader thread, sparked by Danielle Campoamor’s story, is among the most powerful ones we’ve had this year. So far we’ve heard from a convict who was raped in prison, a white coed assaulted by a black basketball star, a young teenager sexually abused by his teacher, a followup from a woman who told us about her rape, and several others. Our next installment is from a gay reader – with an unexpected twist:
When I was 26, I was raped while traveling to London. I stayed several days longer than my straight friends and decided to go hit up the gay bars after they left. I met a guy from Germany, we danced and decided to go back to my hotel room. At some point he started to try to put it in. I told him that I wasn’t bottoming unless he wore a condom and that I didn’t have any. He held me down and went at it anyway. Which is the dictionary definition of rape, isn’t it?
I did not report the incident immediately and waited till I returned to the US several days later to seek treatment. I was honest with the doctor about what happened. She exerted extreme pressure on me to report the incident and get counseling. The process of trying to report such a crime is horrible. The police engaged in every behavior victim’s advocates dislike; victim blaming, disbelief, and homophobia were a constant.
The counseling service was likewise useless. I didn’t receive a return call about my situation for nearly two weeks. The woman who did call me back made it clear that she didn’t think my incident was worthy and then offered me a time-slot months in the future. I ended up just scheduling an appointment with my normal psychologist to discuss the incident.
I felt horrible and I wasn’t even traumatized by the rape itself. I couldn’t imagine what dealing with this bullshit and an actual traumatic experience would be like. I enjoyed that night with the German – a lot actually. He stayed the night, we hung out the next day and I stayed at his hotel that night. We had breakfast the next morning and said our goodbyes. I’m Facebook friends with him now. I expect to travel to Germany this summer to visit friends and we’re actively planning on meeting up for a day or two in Berlin.
Sex is a powerful experience. Like any powerful experience you can get hurt. I took a risk going out and picking up a random person to sleep with. I could have been very badly hurt but I wasnt. I did not contract any STDs or get physically hurt – both real possibilities. I learned to take some basic precautions and be prepared. I’ve started on PreP. I make sure to qualify hookups more than I used to.
I’ve also learned that I can’t be open about my experience because it doesn’t fit the narrative. I’ve literally had people blow up at me when I admitted that he’s apologized and I’ve forgiven him. I’ve learned never to suggest that other people might feel similarly; that makes me a rape-apologist. In the end, I’m not honest about my experience because too many people think they can cherry-pick ideas that validate their preferred narrative. But that’s the crux of the problem, isn’t it?