Zeke Thomas is sharing a very personal story for the first time: he is a two-time rape survivor.
Thomas, a DJ and producer, chose to go public to help others and appears in a public service announcement during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“Being gay, being African-American, it’s definitely something that I never imagined would happen to me,” he tells Good Morning America Monday, April 24.
Thomas was raped when he was 12 and in February 2016 in his New York City apartment.
“When it happened again, I was terrified,” he says. “I really felt that my manhood had been taken away from me.”
Thomas explained he was raped by a man he met on the gay dating and hookup app Grinder.
“All I remember is … getting in the cab,” he said to The Cut. “I know that I got drugged. I knew probably the moment that it happened because something didn’t taste right. But I didn’t think about it. I just didn’t think about it.
“My ass was destroyed. Destroyed. I’m bleeding,” he added of the next morning when he woke up to the man preparing breakfast. Thomas said when he went to find the suspected assailant, the man either blocked him or removed his account.
Thomas said he didn’t press charges because he wasn’t ready to be labeled as a victim and go public with his trauma.
“If I could go back, there’s 100 percent I would press charges,” Thomas said. “If we could find … the assailant today, I would 100 percent press charges.”
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 19.5 million American men have been victims of contact sexual violence, including rape.
Thomas said he didn’t realize what happened when he was 12, but he knew it was unwanted and he “did not seek it out.” He didn’t tell his family about what happened until “much later,” something he said was hard for them to hear. Thomas said his mother and father, NBA legend Isiah Thomas, assured their son he had their support.
Thomas, who has sought help from doctors and therapy, said music has helped him move past his ordeal.
“Music has been very therapeutic to me,” he says. “The first song that I’m coming out with is [called] ‘I’m Dealing With It’ and it begins, ‘I’m not begging for forgiveness / But tonight I’ve come undone.’ And it was really through the process of, ‘I’m blaming myself and I’m coming undone and I’m trying to take my power back.’ ”
“I’m encouraging more victims to come forward,” he adds. “I want to give the voiceless a voice.”