Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Out Musician Zeke Thomas Shares Why He Waited To Tell Anyone About Being Sexually Assaulted

Written by Jeffrey Masters

Zeke Thomas
Amid the growing onslaught of allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and other prominent figures, one thing is certain: there isn't a right or wrong way to respond after experiencing sexual assault. We also know that it's something that affects people across all demographics. Zeke Thomas, musician, DJ, and son of NBA great, Isaiah Thomas, knows this firsthand. In our conversation, he discussed how prevalent sexual assault is in the gay community, why he waited so long to tell anyone after his own experience, and why we need to stop shaming people who use Grindr.

Jeffrey Masters: Intellectually, I know that sexual assault and violence affects everybody — all types of people, all demographics — and yet it's still surprising to see someone like you talk about it.

Zeke Thomas: It definitely affects all groups of people, social demographics, races, creeds, everything. Being the first gay male to talk about it, and specifically as it relates to our community is something that I've taken on. I talked to Ebro on Hot 97. He's like 6'4" and big and he goes, "If that would have happened to me, I would have fucked them up." But that can't happen when you're drugged.

Jeffrey Masters: And this affects one in six men.

Zeke Thomas: One in six men have been sexually assaulted in their life. Literally, it's all around you at all times. It's something that men don't like to talk about. I may look like an athlete, but it's something that all types of men deal with. No matter your size or shape, you don't know that moment when you literally just have your whole essence taken away from you.

Jeffrey Masters: That's why it's likely under-reported, right?

Zeke Thomas: Definitely. A lot of people get ashamed. Mine was more so fear of media attention. I can remember growing up in a celebrity household and when I would get arrested for underage drinking, that would be a story. Myself being raped would have been a story, and I definitely regret not reporting it because many people don't have the opportunity to face their accuser.

Jeffrey Masters: How long was it before you told somebody?

Zeke Thomas: Before I told somebody, it was months. It was months. I told people in passing when I was high or drunk, but it wasn't a setting where it was believable, so to speak. When somebody says something powerful like that, you shouldn't take it lightly. You shouldn't take it as a joke, but we all do these things in joking matters. Many survivors have said to me, "I said it and then quickly backed away from it, and then nobody really followed up on it." It was that person who said, "I believe you," and did some investigating that really turned my life around.