In 1997 I was raped. I don’t remember the day, I don’t remember the month but I know it was spring/summer. I have always looked older than I am, now im I’m my 30’s thats not so great, but in 1997 It was awesome. I was 16 and looked 18 or 19 and I could get served in pubs and clubs.
I remember I had arranged to go drinking in town with my friends “S” and “N”. My mum gave me a lift to meet my mates, I don’t recall what I told her, whether I lied about what I was up to. Even if I did I’m sure she probably knew.
She dropped me off and I met up with my friends, ready to hit the town with the £45 I earned as a YTS boy, it seemed like a fortune to me back then.
And so it began, 3 boys just out of school out to get hammered and to have a good time. If I’m honest I don’t really remember the pubs we drank In or how much I had drunk. What I do remember is going to the best nightclub in Shrewsbury (Not saying alot) Park lane, and nervously waiting in line, praying I wouldn’t get asked for ID. I remember myself S and N making it past the bouncers who were checking for ID and searching people. Step 1 complete!! We paid our entrance fee and we were in, we had made it, now it was time to party. We climbed the stairs to the nightclub trying to look as cool as possible, but as soon as we were out of sight of the doormen we were fist pumping and giving each other high 5’s.
I don’t remember how long I was in there but I know it wasn’t long, I remember only having one or two beers in the club, and then feeling very ill. I went to the toilets and collapsed in a cubicle and was very, very sick. I remember being very confused as I really didn’t think I had drunk that much.
It was at this point there was a knock on the cubicle door and a very concerned sounding voice asked me if I was ok and suggested I should open the door so they could help me. My head was spinning I had been sick down myself and I couldn’t stand up, in my dazed state the offer sounded a reasonable and kind one so I unlocked the door.
A man entered the cubicle locking it behind him. At this point I couldn’t see him as my head was down the toilet but my main memory of him at this point was the strong smell of his aftershave. A smell that even today 20 years later if I smell in the street, restaurant or pub fills me with fear. The man started to stroke my back and then whispered to me that he was going to loosen my trousers to make me feel better. This in my confused almost unconscious state didn’t even register as alarming even as he unbuttoned my trousers and unzipped my fly.
The next thing I remember was a loud banging on the cubicle door which startled me momenterily, and a shout to open the door. I heard the man who was in the cubicle with me protesting with some unseen party that I was very ill and he was trying to help, and then I just remembered being lifted to my feet and dragged out the cubicle. The bouncers had been tipped off that somebody was being sick in the toilets and had come to get me. I was then unceremoniously ejected from the premises and dumped on the street.
I was covered in vomit, unable to stand up and in a very bad state. I don’t think my friends had even noticed I was gone at this point, I’m sure they were having a great time chasing girls and getting drunk. They probably just thought I was in the queue for the toilet. I was alone and there was nobody to help me.
I couldn’t of been there very long before the man from the cubicle was back. Thinking back on it now 20 years later, ìm not sure if I realised or not if the man who lifted me to my feet and promised to take me round the corner to his house and clean me up was the same person from the toilets or whether that’s something I realised in retrospect.
After this point my memories are broken and I only remember flashes, I remember the man supporting my weight as we walked down the street and him asking me my age, I clearly remember telling him I was 16. This is important because the legal age of homosexual sex wasn’t lowered to 16 until 2001, and this was 1997 so even if I had consented to what was about to happen (which i didn’t) by the laws of the time it was rape.
My next memory was being on a bed with this man. He was trying to give me a erection by caressing my penis, He repeatedly told me he needed me to get hard. He then sat on me trying to put my flaccid penis into his anus, I remember him getting quite frustrated that it wasn’t working. I remember not being able to move and even though I knew I didn’t want this to be happening I couldn’t do anything, I strongly suspect that I may of been drugged but I have no proof of that. I was then raped analy and oraly.
Once the man had his way with me he simply threw me out onto the street telling me he had called a taxi, which He hadn’t. I don’t know how long I sat outside his flat not being able to walk, but it was a while. When I finally got myself together I managed to get to my feet and walked in a state of shock the 8 miles home to my parents house. I got there as dawn was breaking. I went upstairs to my bedroom and I cried.
The effects of this night has effected me deeply over the last 20 years, after it first happened I fell into a deep depression and even self harmed for a short while. As rape by another man was my first sexual experience I questioned my own sexuality, I couldn’t understand why I didn’t fight back. In my mind i worried this was because secretly i was gay and i wanted it to happen. As I said earlier I suspect I may have been drugged but whether I was or just extremely drunk i felt I should have done something. If I’m honest even 20 years later in my darkest moments some of these thoughts return to me. In fact there has been times when I have found myself watching clips of gay porn on the internet to test myself, to see if I am in any way attracted to it. The answer is always No, but some part of me doesn’t seem to accept this and after 6 months or even a year later I will find myself testing myself again.
I have also had a lot of sexual partners, I lost count of how many a long time ago. I have a strong need of intimacy with woman and when I don’t have the opportunity to fulfil this need I find it very tough. All though there other events from my past that contribute to this need, part of it I’m sure is a need to prove my masculinity and heterosexuality.
In my late teens and early twenty’s I fantasized constantly about getting revenge on this man. I fantasized about hunting him down and putting him in a position of helplessness and taking back the power he had on me. I even invented a story in my mind where I got hold of a handgun and hunted him down. In my fantasy I pistol whipped him and put the gun to his head, he then cried and begged me for his life. And as the hero of the peace I realised I didn’t have to kill him as I had put him in the same position he put me in and I had taken my power back. All complete nonsense of course, but years later when I first told people I had been attacked I couldn’t help but also tell them this story. I think at that point I almost believed it myself. For some reason I couldn’t have the rape as the end of the story, I had to give it a ending where I won. I still don’t know why I did this, there are still people in my life that believe the extra chapter to be true. I have never been able to bring myself to tell them I lied.
It was also about this time when I developed a drug habit which ultimately would force me to leave Shrewsbury and move firstly to Suffolk and eventually Essex. It was the only thing I could do to break the habit which I’m sure would of eventually killed me. I have tried pretty much ever drug you can think of from cocaine to heroin to cannabis to LSD. But my most abused drug was ecstasy which I would take several pills of a night. I think my record was 8 or 9, I don’t know how I’m not dead to be honest. Again I think a large part of the reason I did this was trying to escape the thoughts and feeling that rape gave me.
And that’s my story, I share it with the hope it can be of help to someone somewhere. Rape is not only a man on woman crime, it happens to men too and is devastating. It’s not about sex but about power. If it happened to you too, tell someone it’s the only way you Can start to heal. 20 years later I’m still working on it but the fact I’m on that road is a victory.