Warning—this story contains descriptions of sexual violence. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Today we debrief with Michael, a 25-year-old gay male who lives in East Boston. He works in health care and enjoys playing volleyball with the Cambridge-Boston Volleyball Association, which comprises mainly LGBTQ members.
I didn’t even want it to happen. I don’t remember most of it—bits and pieces come to mind, mainly bits that hurt me or pieces during which I was barely coherent enough to murmur. He knew what he was doing, and he liked it too. He called himself a “lion,” and sounded proud. A lion, an animal known as king of the jungle for its ability to prowl and prey on weak, vulnerable meat—that was the title he claimed. I was the prey—a “gazelle,” he stated. “You know, those boys who are an easy trick. I can spot gazelles from a mile away.”
I was his gazelle; I was considered a gazelle.
He said to me at a point when I was just sober enough to stand on my own, “Wow, honey, you’re really drunk.” He bought me another drink. We left shortly after…I don’t remember.
The ride home—a mystery.
The trek into the house—a mystery.
Leaning against the counter in the kitchen…I remember. He was eating, and he gave me some type of fruit-flavored gummy. I can’t recall the specific taste or actually eating it, but I remember the smell—a berry mixture. I remember portions of our conversation that followed. His intentions seem clear now, but then I was oblivious. Oblivion doesn’t blind the heart, however, so a deep enough scar remains to remind me.
I couldn’t walk up the stairs. He carried me.
His lips, my lips. My memory goes blank.
I came to for a bit, and my shirt came off. Quick tongue, my back, blackness.
My legs up, me limp, a sore pain below. I don’t remember. A feeling as deep, sharp and intense as that…and I don’t remember.
Hours later I was asleep. He was on the prowl again…he started again. I turned away and grunted to stop.
I woke up again to light and a clock reading 6:30 a.m. I found out then for sure that protection hadn’t been considered…neither had my emotional stability or respect. I rolled over.
Eight o’clock came. I used the bathroom, dressed, and laid back down. He got up, went downstairs, and told me to sleep. I lay lost for half an hour.
Eight-thirty was my departure. “Coffee before you leave, hun?”
I walked out.
I met with him two nights later to tell him I was ashamed and uncomfortable with what happened and how it happened. He grew angry, stated he might not remember everything either, and hoped we could simply forget it. I told him not to text me anymore and not to send me Facebook messages. He thought it was childish—I was trying to be mature. I told him he was wrong, that I felt emotionally demeaned and manipulated. He denied everything—claimed he didn’t remember anything. I walked away, still a lingering pain below. I was a gazelle. He was a lion.
Twenty-five percent to 33 percent of LGBQ/T people experience abuse by a partner. The Network/La Red hotline provides emotional support, information and safety planning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and/or transgender (LGBQ/T) folks, as well as folks in SM/kink and polyamorous communities who are being abused or have been abused by a partner. They also offer information and support to friends, family or co-workers on the issue of domestic violence in LGBQ/T communities. You don’t have to leave or want to leave your relationship to get support. The hotline is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to midnight, Saturday from 1-6 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to midnight. Call 617-742-4911 (voice) or 617-227-4911 (TTY).
The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center provides free and confidential services to victims of sexual assault, survivors of sexual assault, and their friends and family. The hotline is a 24-hour service provided to help anyone affected by sexual assault. Call (800) 841-8371.