In a powerful new essay published by The Independent, writer Dean Eastmond opens up about being raped three years.
Eastmond was 16 years old when the 2012 Olympic games took place in London.
“My quaint little hometown of Weymouth hosted the sailing events,” he recalls, “and I ended up as an Olympic attendant, serving food to athletes and their crews. Not a bad first job, I guess.”
During the course of the job, Eastmond befriended another guy who was a couple years older than him.
“We used to get the same bus into work each morning,” he writes. “He looked and acted like a nice enough guy. He was always smiling, and popular with our other colleagues. As a shy and closeted teenager, I looked up to him as a friend.”
One evening, the man asked Eastmond if he could hang out at his flat before Eastmond had to go and work the late shift. Thinking nothing of it, Eastmond said yes.
“Before I knew it, my trousers had been pulled down and he was on top of me,” he recalls. “All I remember is the pain, and my vision becoming blurred by the intense fear that swept over me. It was my first ever sexual encounter.”
After the encounter, Eastmond still managed to go to work that night.
“I left the house to go to work, but he stayed inside my room,” he writes. “I was terrified at the thought of still finding him in my room when I got back from my shift. This was a nightmare that haunted me for weeks after: walking into my bedroom at any time, and finding the man who raped me sitting there.”
Three years later, Eastmond says he still feels “an indistinguishable sense of fear, doubt, worthlessness and discomfort” over the incident, which he never told his parents about or reported to police.
“I was trapped within what my rapist had done, and unable to reach out to anyone for help,” he writes. “I thought I’d be outed as gay and rejected. I know this sounds silly. But it was what I thought, and I know it’s the same for others who have been sexually abused.”
Citing a group called Rape Crisis, Eastmond says as many as 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales every year.
“We should make sure that we’re addressing the issue of male rape,” he says, adding that as many as 98 percent of male rape victims don’t report the crimes. “And I’m included in that figure,” he adds.
“Unless such issues are spoken about and understood more, I doubt this statistic will ever change.”
Eastmond hopes that by sharing his story he can be a part of the change.
“I’m talking because I know it’s the right thing to do,” he writes. “No one should let their experiences rot away within themselves. No means no, no will continue to mean no — and male rape needs to be spoken about, urgently.”