WRITER’s NOTE: This is a story from my past.
Blurry-eyed and fuzzy-headed, I woke up. I’ve had exactly one type of hangover in my life, and this didn’t feel like that. My cashmere pants was falling slightly beneath my butt and what felt like warm milk trailed from it down through my socks. I lit my phone’s backlight to my legs and my white socks were now a stained mosaic of blood and grass stains.
I also was in pain, massive pain, and this pain was in my rectum. So while reminiscent of why I should be lying in the middle of the campus field at about 3am, a different pain struck my senses back to the present – this pain was different, and exponentially more excruciating.
As I slowly came to a semblance of awareness, I realized I was missing about five hours of my life. I began to be stricken with flashbacks and pain, and a deep rising, heated and nauseating fear.
Then it hit me – I had been gang raped.
Earlier the previous day, I had decided to spend the entire evening studying for my first test in the university. It was Genetics and I wanted to ace it. I had just moved into the hostel about two weeks ago and was still unfamiliar with the grounds. That evening, I decided to leave early, partly because I needed to cover the entire test topics and still have time to go over them, and also because I had noticed some guys making passes at me in the hallway and I was trying to avoid them.
Reading went as planned and at about 10pm, I decided to go to my meditation spot. It was the football pitch, usually quiet and serene at that hour; it was the only quiet time in the day I could get, seeing that I stay in the Boys’ Hostel.
I queued in my playlist, rested my head at the back of the bench I was sitting on and just allowed my books fallout of my hands. I was in the zone. But not for long.
I sensed – more than saw – the presence of other people, so I stopped the music and grabbed my books to start going. Then a voice – a voice which could only belong to a roughneck – called to me, “Small boy, you dey go class?”
I turned around to reply him, but I could only make out four silhouetted images of the people standing there. “I don finish today own,” I said, trying to hide my terror.
I walked on until I got to the end of the field. Five more minutes of walking, and I’d be in the midst of the boys’ hostel upbeat night.
But those five minutes never came.
A cafeteria separated the football field from the hostel. As I approached the cafeteria building, I heard footsteps closer behind me than before. And like a rushing of wind, there was a thud, and it was me bouncing off the wall of the cafeteria building to the ground; I felt like my cranium had cracked open.
One of the guys pinned me to the ground and had his hands over my mouth. I felt him slip something into it; it must have been a pill. I defenselessly struggled to get out of his grip as the drug’s effect began to kick in. All I could remember was a painful probe up my rectum. It was enough to drive me into unconsciousness, but it didn’t just yet. A couple of minutes later, there was the pain again and I simply slipped out of consciousness.
I struggled with embracing reality for the better half of the remaining morning. I eventually made it to my room to find it empty. I packed my bags, called a cab and went straight home. Later that day, I went to the hospital and got eight stitches up my ass.
I couldn’t go back to school for more than a month. I felt everybody had watched and are still watching what had happened to me.
I know that being LGBT means that we don’t always seek medical attention, seek legal services or report crime like our heterosexual brothers and sisters. I can only assume that the pain, shame and confusion we may experience after being raped and violated in this way exacerbate our fear and lead us to run further from help rather than seek it out.
But I also know that there is no excuse or rationalization that makes this violation of my body or your body okay. It doesn’t matter if you were out drinking or flirting or even invited someone home with you; the boundaries you set for your body are yours to define and control, and the intrusion of those borders by another person/people is not your fault under any circumstances. Don’t ever question that for a moment. It was not your fault.
Every day that went by in the aftermath of that incident, the physical pain I felt lessened. The flashbacks, panic attacks and nightmares were fewer and fewer.
But I need to admit that something in me died that night. I don’t know what it was, but it’s gone.
Written by ScarFace