[WARNING: the following article contains strong language]
"I recently moved to Manchester, and a good friend of mine came up to visit me, and we decided we were going to go out in town. Went to a few bars, and a few clubs, and then when we left the final club, we got separated. I didn't have my phone on me, so I couldn't contact him either. I met a group of people, and they asked me to go [for] a nightcap with them. I went back to what I later found out was a hotel room with them and had a few drinks, and then everyone else, bar two, had left. Those two then started taking it upon themselves to rape me."
That’s Sam Thompson, who was allegedly raped on September 1, 2016. In July 2017, YouTube channel UNILAD uploaded a documentary short about Thompson in which he details the trauma of rape — something not often talked about by men.
The next day, Thompson says he even contemplated jumping off a bridge as he walked home.
"I continued walking back and then I met my girlfriend at the time, and my best friend in the flat," he recalls. "And then [the] moment I walked in the door, I burst into tears."
Thompson’s best friend and girlfriend advised him to tell the police:
When I [reported] to the police, the initial response wasn't the greatest – I'm not going to lie. I felt that I wasn't believed. In that situation, I guess, they do pass judgment where they probably shouldn't. Without dealing with males as often as they are dealing with females, maybe they haven't got the same level of compassion as they would.
However, things started to turn around when Thompson sought therapy. After finding the courage to face his own pain, he decided that he needed to go public in order to show other men who may be embarrassed or ashamed after being raped that they’re not alone:
By not talking about it and trying to bottle it in, which I think is what a lot of men do in this situation, I really haven't helped myself. Within a month or two of talking to a therapist ... I started to feel better, and I felt that so many [other] men [will] be in this situation that maybe if I was to go out and talk about it on a national level, that it would help other men who are struggling to approach their friends and family, or approach a therapist to talk about it is well. It meant I could turn a big negative into a positive.
... I also want to raise awareness of male rape in general. Before this happened to me, I never thought [of it happening] to males. That’s the same thoughts that my friends and my family had as well.
Rape and sexual assault are heinous crimes. However, many people don’t think of men in the position of victim in a sexual assault scenario.
According to The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), which was published in 2017 and compiled using data from 2010 to 2012, "rape was experienced at some point in their lives by 1.5% of men in the U.S.," and "about 1 in 17 men (5.9% or an estimated 6,764,000 men) were made to penetrate someone at some point in their life."
A paper titled, "The Sexual Victimization of Men in America: New Data Challenge Old Assumptions," by Lara Stemple, JD and Ilan H. Meyer, PhD, reports, "The 2012 NCVS’ (National Crime Victimization Survey’s) household estimates indicate that 131,259 incidents of rape and sexual assault were committed against males."
Sam Thompson spoke out, and hopefully others will as well.