WORDS: Chris Storey
I am one of many men who are still classed as some form of minority. The ones who are not spoken about and who are somewhat brushed under the carpet because what we’ve been through isn’t classed as the norm. The crime committed against them is seen as something that women are usually victims of. This crime I speak of is rape. I was attacked by a stranger who engaged me in conversation in a taxi queue in my local city centre and convinced me to try a taxi rank that would be quicker, but unfortunately lead me down a back alley into a loading bay where the offences then occurred.
My attack happened back in 2005 between Christmas and New Year when I was out with friends for a boozy night out. Yes I was only seventeen years of age but what teenager at college hasn’t been out drinking under age? I wasn’t the first and I wont be the last to do this and unfortunately the case is the same for the type of crime that was committed against me. I don’t like the words “rape” or “victim” so I do try to avoid using them as much as possible but sometimes this is unavoidable. I wont go into great details about the crime as it isn’t exactly easy to write about and I can imagine it isn’t the most palatable to read either. I do feel however that male rape is something that needs to be spoken about as it is just as serious as the rape of a woman but isn’t spoken about.
This may be due to men thinking they need to be men, blokes, fellas, gadgies, the list goes on. They need to keep some form of masculinity and can’t have anything that could waiver this stereotype. Another reason for this not being spoken about might be due to the fact that men feel that this cannot happen to a man and therefore they won’t be believed. I am proof that you can be believed as my attacker ended up with a sentence that lasted over ten years.
Yes I had to go through horrendous and intimate physical examinations, interview after interview with police officers, detectives and other officials as well as eventually undergoing a cross examination in a court of law where my attacker was rightly found guilty. I want to raise awareness for men like myself as when this happened to me yes the police were fantastic as were counsellors I was referred to who helped me see that it wasn’t my fault. I hadn’t given out signals that night that said “I’m drunk, take advantage”, it was just a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
If it wasn’t me it would only be someone else it would have happened to that night. Maybe someone who couldn’t have handled it how I have. I fully feel you can’t let one situation ruin and control the rest of your life as if you do then there was no point in reporting the crime and getting justice. The attacker has won if this is the case
In the past 12 months I have began to talk more about this on social media and have let people who had no idea about my story know about it. This in itself has been a relief and I have had messages from both men and women I know who say they have been through similar and that by me sharing my story they know they are not alone. I can fully say that being a victim of sexual assault can be very lonely.
You do find yourself second guessing everyone as you once trusted someone and that trust was broken but you do learn not to be as naive as you maybe once were and second guess everyone a bit. Yes this can alienate you from people a bit but you are doing this to preserve your own safety.
This has had an effect over the years on my mental health and now and again I do sometimes think “what’s the fucking point” but I feel it’s my duty to carry on. Ending it does nothing for anyone. All it does is leave people with more questions and friends and family wondering why. I keep myself focused by listening to music, watching Youtube after Youtube video and exercising regularly whether it be running or lifting weights, along with this I now and again go on late night drives down by the sea front. These may seem like simple or mundane things but they keep me grounded.
Yes I haven’t went into full details of the assault and if I’m honest it’s no ones damn business but my own. It isn’t part of my life I like looking back on frequently but at least once a day it springs into my mind and reminds me that this crime happened and it happened against me.
This is something that will never go away for me but I do feel that talking about it and being open is the right thing for me. It has been noted by many friends that I don’t seem to let this hold me back and I don’t walk around with a chip on my shoulder thinking the world owes me something, it is just something that unfortunately happened to me. It isn’t about the crime and how it hurt you at the time, it’s how you build yourself back up after it and carry on with your life. You never get over it but you learn to live with it.
Yes, I may be a victim of rape but I’d rather be this than the actual rapist. As I said earlier I probably think about it once on a daily basis but I’d much rather that than go to bed every night and live every day knowing that I’d committed this sort of crime against another human being and they were having to live with the effects of these crimes. If you are struggling with similar issues don’t be afraid to reach out and talk. It may feel like it but you are not alone at all.