DJ Zeke Thomas has opened up publicly for the first time about his experience with sexual assault, revealing on "Good Morning America" and in a recent New York magazine article, he was raped twice.
“Being gay, being African-American, it’s definitely something that I never imagined would happen to me,” Thomas told Robin Roberts on Tuesday.
Thomas, the son of ex-NBA star Isiah Thomas, said he was raped for the first time when he was only 12 years old and again just last year.
"At first I didn't realize what had happened, what had transpired. I knew that it was wrong, I knew that I did not want it. I did not seek it out,” he said of the sexual assault he experienced when he was 12. “I hadn't let my family know until much later that this had happened.”
He added, “It was definitely hard for them to hear, and even more hard for them to hear that it happened again.”
In a new interview with New York magazine, he also discussed the rape he experienced last year, which he says happened after he was drugged while on a date with someone he met on Grindr. "All I remember is... getting in the cab. 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."
"I didn’t move from my apartment for two days," he added. "I didn’t move. I didn’t talk to anybody. I froze.”
Thomas' disclosure came on the same day as the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), for which Thomas, 28, is the first male ambassador, released a PSA on supporting survivors of sexual assault for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
"You know a survivor of sexual violence," he says in the PSA. "You might be the first person someone tells immediately after being sexually assaulted. Or a survivor might wait weeks, months, even years to say what happened. Both are common, normal reactions."
Thomas says he didn't tell friends or family about the assault right away and began using drugs to cope with his pain. Eventually, he did end up confessing to his parents, and they got him help. The experience made him want to be a spokesperson for the NSVRC so that he could talk about something we don't offer hear about in the media: sexual assault in the gay and black communities.
"Being gay, being African-American, it’s definitely something that I never imagined would happen to me."
According to the NSVRC, 40.2 per cent of gay men and 47.4 per cent of bisexual men report sexual violence aside from rape in their lifetime, compared to 20.8 per cent of heterosexual men.
And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (via ABC News), more than 19.5 million men in the United States are the victims of contact sexual violence, including rape, over the course of their lives.
“I'm encouraging more victims to come forward,” Thomas said of his new role with the NSVRC.