Survivor

Zeke Thomas opens up for the first time about being sexually assaulted by a man from Grindr

According to the CDC, there are upwards of 19.5 million men who are victims of contact sexual violence over the span of their lives. DJ and musician Josh “Zeke” Thomas is one of those men.

In February 2015, he was violently raped. The attack happened in his Chicago apartment by a man he met on Grindr.

“It’s definitely something that I never imagined would happen to me,” Thomas, who is the son of NBA legend Isiah Thomas, said on GMA this week. “I really felt that my manhood had been taken from me.”

Speaking to New York Magazine, 28-year-old Thomas recalls the events leading up to the attack:

We had chatted on Grindr, and I had invited him to come by my studio since he was a singer. Nothing against Grindr. I’ve met great people on Grindr, I’ve had sex with great people on Grindr. I can’t blame an app. But you don’t know shit about people you meet on it. He seemed like a great guy. We hung out at the recording studio. And then a couple of days later he said, let’s go to “Boys Town for a drink.”

But after order his first drink, Thomas knew something wasn’t right.

“I know that I got drugged,” he recalls. “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.”

The next thing he knew he was being carried into a cab. Then it was morning.

“I woke up and he was handing me a glass of water and saying, ‘That was great let’s hang out again.’”

Before he could even respond, the guy got up and left, never to be seen or heard from again. Moments later, Thomas realized the gravity of what had happened. He recalls:

My ass was destroyed. Destroyed. I’m bleeding. And I’m just like — terrified. I can’t move. I didn’t move from my apartment for two days. I didn’t move. I didn’t talk to anybody. I froze.

When he went back on Grindr to find the guy, he either had blocked Thomas or removed himself from the app. Thomas did not press charges, he says, because he didn’t want people to think of him as a “victim.” (In hindsight, however, he says he wishes he had contacted police.)

In the months after the attack, Thomas says he started to go a little crazy. He began doing drugs and hanging around with the wrong crowd. Eventually, while high on mushrooms, he told his parents what hat happened to him. They immediately flew him back to New York to see a doctor and go to therapy.

As Thomas found the courage to tell more people what had happened to him, he learned he was not the only one in his social circle who has suffered sexual abuse. Two of his other friends, he learned, had been assaulted on more than one occasion.

Today, Thomas is an ambassador for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

“I want to give the voiceless a voice,” Thomas said on GMA. “The healing really begins with the voice. The healing begins with, ‘This happened to me. I can get through it.’”

Watch Thomas’ GMA interview below.


Photo credit: Out

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10 Comments

  • fredo777

    That’s awful. Sadly, this could happen even if you met a guy in a club.

  • Reasonable

    He should still try to prosecute the guy. He is probably doing this to other guys and should be stopped!

  • Daniel-Reader

    If he provided a description of the attacker, it could help others to identify him if they’ve had similar encounters.

  • Richard 55

    Here’ s a message to every man: avoid Grindr.

    • Jack Meoff

      That’s good advice. That app is loaded with freaks and shady characters.

  • He BGB

    Didn’t his aunt die recently? His father’s sister. As someone said above, give a description, a drawing and let all the bars put it up. DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN?

  • Blackceo

    How wonderful. It is not always easy for Black gay men to be in the mainstream like that, and to speak on rape is even more important as there are many of us who have gone through such an experience and are either too ashamed to report it and/or cope negatively. Proud of him for using his voice to tell his story and bring awareness. For that guy to have been so nonchalant talking about “hope we can hang out again” lets me know he’s done it before and probably on many occasions. So I hope this guy can be caught.

    I’m so glad my hookup days are over. Its just too messy out there nowadays.

  • ErikO

    This is why I no longer hook up with strangers, but I would meet them in bars or be introduced by friends when it’s happened and I never used apps like Grindr, etc.. I’m sorry that this man was raped but he should go to the police and press charges since the man who raped him probably has done it to other men, or wants to do it to more men.

  • surreal33

    This article is seriously warped. Mr Thomas indicates he was raped by a man he met on Grindr however, he defends the Grindr app are harmless? Grindr is a scourge upon gay men! I don’t know how many gay men have to die or be maimed before gay men stop using it? Your life and well-being are worth more than access to quick, careless, sex.

    • Ejens005

      The article is not warped. Your bias against Grindr is. He says:

      Nothing against Grindr. I’ve met great people on Grindr, I’ve had sex with great people on Grindr. I can’t blame an app. But you don’t know shit about people you meet on it.

      This is not the same thing as “Grindr is harmless”, as you’ve falsely stated. People are dangerous. Grindr connects you to people. So does going to a bar.

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