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Coming to Terms With My Teenage Rape

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Sexual assault can happen to anyone. This is one gay man's story.

It was common at my high school for students who were 18 to rent a cheap motel room and charge $5 for admission. The parties were typically held at a Red Roof Inn in my hometown; a place for us to party and drink, away from the watchful eyes of neighbors and suspecting parents. The party that led to my rape occurred in the winter of 2010, when I was 17. This is the first time I've ever told this story.

I was on my varsity football team, and these parties were well attended by many of the athletes at my high school. I was inebriated, but I remember many details of that night. A former male student of my high school, who was then a freshman in college at the Big Ten university my hometown is known for, attended the motel party as well. He was someone I knew marginally, but I never had any friendship with him. This person was just a guy who I knew graduated from my high school two years earlier.

This guy told me and another person who had attended the motel party that he was living at his parents' house during his first year of college, and that they were not home. Since people had passed out on the beds in the room, he told us we could stay at his house for the night, and he was fine to drive home because he hadn't been drinking heavily. This was great because I was in no shape to drive, and in any case I had lied to my parents about having a sleepover with some of my football friends. It seemed like the perfect solution.

I remember the drive back to his house. I was in the backseat of his car with my friend, going in and out of consciousness due to the intoxication. Once we arrived at his parents' house, he showed me upstairs to the guest room and told me to sleep there for the night. He told my friend to sleep in his parent's room. I remember getting into the bed and passing out almost immediately. The next thing I remember is waking up in extreme pain. The guy, the acquaintance who had graciously allowed me to sleep at his house, was anally penetrating me. It was the worst pain I had ever experienced. There was blood. I squirmed a little bit, and he said, "Shhhh, go back to sleep, you're very drunk." So, I laid there. I tried not to move. I just wanted it to be over.

After several minutes, he left the room. I remember laying there wondering how that could have just happened. Was I gay now? At this point in my life, I was questioning my sexuality. A few years later, in college, I would come out as gay to my friends and family. But in that moment, I did not know I was gay. I played football. I had a girlfriend. Was what happened to me that night consensual since I had thought about having sex with men in the past? Was it actually rape since I have since had sex with men and enjoyed it? A few hours later he would drive me home to my parents' house, saying nothing about what had happened that night. I have not seen this person since that night almost eight years ago.

Sexual assault happens to men. It is not something that many men want to talk about, because it goes against population notions of masculinity. I fell into this category. I was so worried about my friends or family finding out that I had been raped by a man because I was ashamed. I was ashamed that I might be gay. I was ashamed that I had not tried harder to make it stop.

Years later I would wonder if that experience is what made me gay. Of course, now I know that is not the case, but it's something that haunted me for years. Furthermore, my first sexual experience with another man will always be one of rape. It has infiltrated every sexual encounter I have had with men, because I keep coming back to the pain rather than pleasure. Sex has been tainted for me in every relationship I have had with men.

I am ready to tell this story, in part because of the current climate of sexual assault awareness, but also because I am finally ready to address what happened to me. I have tried for years not to think about this incident, but I have always come back to it every time I have sex. I am hoping that by addressing my rape I can bring awareness to the sexual assault that happens to men, by men. I am ready to finally enjoy sex with a loving partner, something that I have not been able to do. I want to be free.

KYLE SERROTT is a 2019 Juris Doctor Candidate at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio.

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Kyle Serrott