Life After Rape, with Zeke Thomas, a Male Sexual Assault Survivor

Life After Rape, with Zeke Thomas, a Male Sexual Assault Survivor


in this episode of shit they won’t tell
you in sex ed I sit down with Zeke Thomas and talk about his experience
with having been sexually assaulted and raped we talked about how he moved past
the trauma what his sex life is like now and get some of his views on what’s
going on in the world in terms of sexual abuse and the media we talk about judge
Kavanagh dr. Ford Michael Jackson and Jesse Smollett hi I’m Thomas and I’m a sex researcher
hi I’m Zeke Thomas and I am a DJ artist and activist when you hear the term
sexual assault and rape you probably think of a man being the perpetrator and
a woman as the victim but research from the CDC has shown that as many as one in
six men have been sexually abused or assaulted in their lifetime take a
moment and think about that names six men you know and then realize that
chances are that this has happened to at least one of them
Zeke Thomas is a DJ singer and even co-hosted an episode of MTV’s catfish
but he’s also a survivor of sexual assault and rape and now an advocate and
I’ve invited him here today to share his story with us in hopes that will help
others who have been affected by sexual violence
Zeke first became a victim of sexual assault at the age of 12 and then again
just a couple years ago and we’re not going to talk about that today because
well he’s talked about it a ton of other time so I am gonna put those links above
if you would like some of those details but today we’re really gonna focus on
how you deal with trauma and how you move past it so see any different
interview that I watched you talk a little bit about before you started
telling people about what happened to you and one of the things that you
mentioned was substance use which is something that’s often reported for
people who have been victims or have trauma of some sort I’m wondering if you
could tell us a little bit more about that I actually disclosed high on
mushrooms in the back of a cab so my substance use you know I did all the
party drugs I was I was very much immersed in the party culture and I
didn’t it was actually very weird for me because a lot of my friends before I was
doing a lot of substance abuse they didn’t understand what was going on in
my life and they actually said to me we didn’t know what was going on with you
we just knew that something was wrong but didn’t know how to approach you so
what was weird for me and hard for me was here’s this community of people who
is embracing me and Brooke helping and dealing with things together we
both know and are aware that we shouldn’t be doing these drugs or these
drugs are causing us detriment even addiction even definitely abuse but I
definitely was coping and still am coping with demons that definitely were
wanting to be subdued and muted and at the time when I was first beginning it
was like I was an automatic Asian I wasn’t in therapy I was definitely just
self-medicating and talking with friends and you know just around other people
pulling in we’re going through a lot of things and generally you don’t pick up
hard drugs just out of the blue you generally pick up something because
you’re dealing with something so you were going through a ton of stuff and it
sounds like you hadn’t disclosed to anyone and then it started like using
more substances maybe than before and that that was really just a way that you
were sort of suppressing what it was that you were feeling and trying to
avoid tons of options definitely and even it was you know I I
even felt that I couldn’t be myself or wanted to be a specific version of
myself differently I didn’t want to be I guess the Zeke that you know everybody
I’m very extroverted I’m very exuberant but with substances I become very
introverted I’m just here there that wanting to you know exert myself
I’m definitely you know thrown and now just all in aspects of my life I’m I’m
so much more honest now than I’ve ever been in life and I think that generally
just has to deal with you know me going to travel me dealing with dealing with
shit and even you know rape definitely trigger a lot and definitely was hard to
get over but all the underlying things that I don’t let go for years those are
the things that were really just coming up and coming up and coming up that
those are the things I was trying to push
because I had pushed them down for years why would I want to bring them up again
you know in a lot of the therapy work that I do we pay special attention to
identities and to roles that people have in society so yourself being a black man
that identifies as gay I’m wondering how you think that your experience after
trauma may be different than someone who is white or straight or female I think
the number one experience that I have had and had to think about is just from
being black identifying black automatically the criminal justice
system gives you a distrust so when people always say why didn’t you report
I didn’t want to report because I knew that they would I don’t I could be a
pushback they distrust in my mind in my mind just you know you know black people
are discriminated against by the criminal justice system so then to put
the layer on top of it that I was raped by a man and having the stigma around
that just people are just my poem that that happened or that’s happening or a
man can be raped that was something that was just scary so then on top of it it’s
gay so going into a police station and saying to the heteronormative white gay
or white cop sitting there taking your statement or talking with you not that
they don’t empathize with you or care or whatever it’s an intimidating factor
when you’re just picturing a white you know working-class cop now taking the
experience of a gay man whether they have everything thin in a gay bar
whether they even have a gay friend people generally hang out people who are
in their community so if you live in a white working-class community who has no
minorities that’s your life that’s your experience and your only outset to that
world is through the media or a television show
and no empire is not the basis of black culture and I’m not Jessie small a for
the right just like that was difficult to wrap my mind around I’m curious with
sort of everything that’s going on now in the country and the country seeming
so divided and sexual assault and rape somehow be something that the country is
divided on what is that like for you to see things like the Cavanaugh hearings
it was so interesting because for my experience because actually during the
Cavanaugh hearings I was in Detroit receiving an award for my activism and
for being outspoken MC being a youth impact award myself ill-afford or
Margaret Rowe leave all you know talked about these things and tried to help the
youth in these movements so I’m sitting there Margaret Rowe actually was making
jokes of how they but it’s really kind of just internalizing like wow people
really have different opinions on this heart issue but you just said like
vastly different opinions but the hard thing is and it wasn’t that you know his
wall record is whatever it was where we were wondering what kind of person are
you and clearly it showed this guy isn’t the
right person to be on the bench it is screaming and yelling yeah yeah no
I had nothing to do with yes Trump for whomever was going to appoint
conservative judge the judge who was going to think in the Antonin Scalia way
or vote whatever but it was like why this guy you know why this guy who
clearly is expressing a view and drumming up this hate of oppression it
really was oppression for women you know not just you know not just sexual
assault victims in general was like women are being targeted and was so
interesting but it was just happened to be a white woman I mean with Anita Hill
was a black woman but this is a white woman accredited professor who literally
is laying out for you has no reason to lie about this yeah and has documented
that this moment affected her life you know what I mean it wasn’t like you know
just in multiple ways she had her therapist and is so breathtaking and
that’s why I feel like so many victims are like if they don’t believe her why
would they ever never believe me that was hard you know when I’m going on
stage saying you know women are strong kids are strong survivors you know
support survivors if the victim can’t even get hurt by not even the law of the
criminal justice system but just general people in general like you know the
neighborhood people you’re the bodega and that person’s like you’re a fucking
liar that’s hard have you ever had anyone tell you that they think you’re a
liar I’ve never had anybody tell me I’m a liar
but I’ve had people say well your guy wasn’t that bad for you well you know
get over it well you know shit so people will belittle your experience just
because it wasn’t their experience so they might not say I don’t believe you
or didn’t happen but they might say you you must have liked it or have been that
bad for you well people say was he hot you know hike right like even you know
when I was 12 years old which just in fact of people you know talking about me
when I was fucking weird ya know it was actually you know it’s
pretty much a gang rape like I was forced you know suck a bunch of guys on
my basketball team but that wasn’t you know ok or ha along with therapy another
way that you’ve been able to help them past some of your trauma is through your
art specifically through expression through music
how’s that been helpful you know my music is definitely my first love and D
thing has become you know everything to me if I could DJ every single day I
would in an instance find me four bullets but you know it’s it’s been
therapeutic and the reason why it’s been therapeutic is the actual songs of
themselves yes I write music I produce music
but generally listening to other people’s songs like I love Michael
Jackson like Michael Jackson is favorite artist Stevie Wonder
you know Diana Ross I’m having all these old people just making yourself really
dated but I love it and I love you know just having music around you know I’ve
started painting if you know got back into acting I feel that no expression of
my creative self was definitely being stifled by the traumas going through so
because he brought up Michael Jackson I do have to ask because there is now
another another division of people that will support him people that won’t
support him due to the Finding Neverland documentary so in querido I am biased
only because I I am a friend of the Jackson family and I actually and then
on a bigger stage I truly believe Michael Jackson is the greatest
humanitarian of our time he’s done more for children than any artist any
politician in terms of financial backing not to say that he couldn’t have done
some horrible things every person is flawed do I believe the
people in the Finding Neverland documentary as people know I don’t and
that smile an opinion that’s not to say you should not believe survivors that’s
not to say you shouldn’t believe you know victims and people of sexual
assault but looking at the facts that were laid out just in terms of the
timeline in terms of you know testifying under court you know yes he testified
when he was young you’ll specify when he was like 21 years old so there’s just
certain things that just were red flags to me and you know dating you know one
of the one of Michael’s cousins and we can relitigate you know that whole thing
ever but the most important thing and I’m seeing people do is all these mute
moments and get rid of people and that to me is asinine
yes are Kelly is a sick person full that he did maybe he’ll get found not
innocent maybe he didn’t do it you know we’re so quick now to just crucify
people you know we do have a justice system that we should let play out he’s
a sick person but yeah there’s so many artists
that in the past you know you’re gonna list elephant about Leonardo da Vinci
you can you know are you gonna just blow up the sixteenth chapel like there are
people who did things that were acceptable back then or not acceptable
back then but they did them and you have to separate the art from the artist
because every person is flawed we all believe justice for life you know Jesse
small way was huge and I think that he still is don’t I think he’s going to
trauma I don’t think it had anything to do with you know I want to raise you
know what you’re right you’re gonna get like ten thousand more dollars it’s not
really gonna make that much of a difference in your life I think it had
something to do with whatever it did it and he made a calculated bet to do
something and it completely failed for him and I think that you know we have to
remember people I they do and people tell the truth they do and sometimes
people get away with lies and sometimes if he was telling the truth you know
it’s not the whole truth I mean there’s so much we’re so we can’t just sit here
and say red and blue I sleep people use apps for a lot of different things
especially in the gay community I would guess the majority people that meet on
apps are not looking for dates you found the one absolutely but people are not
always looking for love that that’s happened to me to the people I’m like
dude says looking for now or probably looking looking for love and they’re
actually probably not looking for now they’re looking for like eight hours
later when available and not City but I have a
nerve so for for someone that is that’s doing something more like that where
it’s really not like Dave oriented or relationship oriented what are are there
any tips that you might throw out for those people I mean we live in New York
City people are just the reality of it is like people are doing it
oh I mean especially when you when you reference New York City I mean it’s it
and group sex has become very popular and taboo I mean there’s basically
advertise sex rooms at love try parties or whatever and I think there’s a
certain security to that almost I mean if somebody is a predator or taking
advantage of somebody I’ve seen people generally really what
the hell you’re doing or whatever now that’s not say I think everybody wants
to have an orgy in their apartment right to protect themselves but I think that
you know there are even times where you you know if you FaceTime a person you
have a conversation with a person you try to have an Instagram with a person
of your instant look at their Instagram there are ways to kind of get the pulse
of a person per se before you just give them their address and let them in your
house or you go to their house you know there are there are safety guards I mean
you’re not still going to know that person they could obviously be
presenting a fake person or you know not fully representing themselves so that
kind of leads me to the next thing I’m curious about what is your sex life like
now well generally post rape I was very like closed off and yeah I went to
orders I went to sex Juarez I went to sex clubs and I would generally just
watch for a while I couldn’t even get an erection like I was so just dehumanized
II whatever but I wanted to be around I thought that you know hi guy could
turn me on or this could turn me on or whatever this drug could get me off or
whatever and I started to make sex less of a priority and I think that was
actually the cool thing for me now living in my life that it’s become less
of a priority because I more so just put myself first and my needs
now that might be not the other ones needs some people might need to have sex
a lot I remember I used to wanna have sex I was like you time but that’s just
not my apartment it’s getting older in us whatever but I was genuinely affected
and there still are times that I’m affected I mean I’ve dated to people
very shortly I would call them boyfriends I am single now I but you
know when I dated them you know III their probably been might be sexual
relationships and I had to go into those relationships saying oh I lied to the
first one second one I wasn’t into Chanel I didn’t tell him the second one
though I went into saying hey I was assaulted I have become very sensitive
around sex there are a few times when were intimate there will be times but I
don’t want you to touch me and that’s okay and you’re gonna have to accept
that it has nothing to do with you it is probably nothing even to do with me it’s
just the way that my body now reacts to certain things I imagine it some people
in relationships post rape or post sexual assault might have a difficult
time being with a new partner and telling them I don’t want you to touch
me right now it doesn’t have anything to do with you
just I don’t want anyone touching me right now why’s that I mean and I could
also just imagine some people being like no I have to let them do that because
I’m dating them and like I supposed to like this I’m supposed to like that and
kinda wishing themself I’d say through it at first that’s what I was doing I
was trying to force it but enforcing it I found out that that’s not the way I
function sexually yeah like I force the moment now I’m sure you know I
could inject my take you would try make sure take viagra and just be whatever
right that’s that enjoyable that’s not to be what sex was they about we’re all
trying to discover you I mean even you generally don’t you know ditched money
contract saying I like this this this is this you more so have an idea but
everybody in that moment sure every every person is been like move your hand
there or try to that or hopefully they’re able to have that communication
zooms let their partner know what they want or don’t so have you have you been
able to have a sexual encounter since then that you can say that you really
enjoyed 101 I’ve went hunter from nothing it hasn’t
been all bad there’s 100% then normal sex high sex part whatever I have had
normal healthy things happen to me but then I also reinforced there are those
moments when I just don’t listen country I’m not into it I’m and I now I’ve
gotten to a point where I’m very clear about it most victims are waiting for
somebody to save them survivors are saying okay
I’m taking responsibility and going to pull myself out of this hole because
nobody’s gonna pull you out of the hole but you you can be a victim for the rest
of your life you can turn a survivor into something very you know not quickly
or the path isn’t click for everybody sometimes it’s long sometimes it’s
whatever but the moment that you choose I’m no longer a victim because I’m
moving on with my life I’m going to try to rebuild this life because basically
you know you were just murdered in your brain and now you’re going through a
heightened state of trauma you gotta get through but there’s a million steps
after those two that you have to get through I mean even getting out of bed
is a step going to work is a step you know there’s little things that we
generally don’t think about we just concentrate on
therapy or whatever but I mean there are winds every day that people who are
depressed or people who are dealing with trauma can’t do I mean like going to the
gym for somebody who’s depressed and in trauma is nearly impossible you know
weight issues come up it’s you just spiral out and if you don’t stop the
spiral eventually you end up at the worst point which is Six Feet Under
okay so I think that is it for now so thank you so much for coming on and
talking about all this stuff I know some of it is difficult to talk about
something not so difficult to talk about but I can do we touched on a lot of
things that people are gonna find really interesting and hopefully helpful so if
you are someone who is a victim of sexual assault sexual abuse right there
is helping that there are a lot of different things that you can do to get
help I’m going to put some links for you below and why don’t you tell everyone
where they can find you I’m Zeke Thomas and you can definitely find me DM me
talk to me any victims or survivors want to reach out please do it’s Zeke Z e ke
underscore Thomas and anybody wants to talk about trauma or if you’re cute
holla okay so we will leave it there and I will see you next time bye thanks for watching I’ve got a lot of
content in production and I don’t want you to miss out so go ahead and click
that subscribe button and in the meantime check out one of these other
videos then don’t forget to send me your questions about sex
to [email protected]

5 thoughts on “Life After Rape, with Zeke Thomas, a Male Sexual Assault Survivor

  1. Wow, that middle part of the video was so disappointing. I really don't see how you can call yourself an advocate for victims and then say something like this. Contrary to the "cancel culture" narrative, most people are perfectly fine with excusing and defending abusers whether they be ordinary people and especially celebrities.

    Being a rapist or child molester delves far beyond simply being flawed, and truly cannot believe that I heard that in this video. That was purely rape culture 101. No one is saying you can't support someone unless they're a perfect person. But, not defending abusers is such a low bar most people aren't even willing to do that much.

    And that weird line about Leonardo Davinci? No there has never been a perfect person, but there have been many people in history who were decent human beings by any standard. You can acknowledge that an abuser was talented without glorifying them or trying to push their abuses under the rug. Like, this was not an insightful thoughtful position. It's literally just picking and choosing when to support victims.

    Lastly, you cannot separate the art from the artist. Sorry you can't. An art is inextricably linked to the person that created it. If you could just separate the art from the artist then what makes it remarkable? If anyone could've created, why bother defending R. Kelly and Michael Jackson, when anyone could've accomplished the same thing? You can't have it both ways.

    I believe these victims. Truthfully, I'm still unsure about Jussie Smollet since the story keeps changing so that remains to be seen. You don't want to believe the victims because that would mean reconciling with the fact that these men where not just "flawed", but in fact despicable human beings. Any person that is not a child molester has done more for children than Michael Jackson.

  2. Nit sure what the talk about Michael Jackson was about in the middle. This video seemed to laugh off rape and as someone who has been raped I am not sure it is that easy. You can deflect trauma with humor, but in this piece it would have been helpful to stick more to the point at hand, and, for example, the need to get a PrEP course ASAP. For this hours count.

  3. I love that you talked to a man about his experience… I do wish there was more of a light shown on straight men who are raped by women… I feel like it’s easier to swallow a man being over powered by a man. Someone very close to me was given drugs and raped by two different women in three different situations, and I’ve never seen a piece of media that helped him feel not alone or validated his experiences…

    Still a big fan, still happy you’re beginning the conversation about male sex assault victims, hope to see more on this channel ❤️

  4. Thanks for the info 💛, but the new hair cut is a shock, 😵 you're still handsome 💪 ether way. 👨‍❤️‍👨😘 love you 💛

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