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He wanted to get away from her but wasn’t in a rational state.

“I just did as I was told,” he says, apologetic for the anger in his voice. I’m not thinking, ‘Hey, this woman is a predator.’ I’m thinking, ‘I don’t know what’s going on here.

Let me do whatever she tells me.’” Eventually, his rapist “got tired” of him and said he could leave.

For three years, he suppressed that night through promiscuity.

He obliged and, as a “thank you,” she bought him some drinks. The Illinois native usually has one drink and then sips on soda. That’s not enough to knock James out, even if he wasn’t a heavy drinker. When he awoke again around 8 a.m., she was in the same position, masturbating while grinding aggressively against his naked lower body. You don’t hear about it happening to men or by women, so I was having difficulty connecting that at first.” In that moment, he laid back. She accused him of trying to harm her, and said if he “did anything,” he would hurt her unborn child. “I told you not to be forceful,” she ordered again. So he stayed still, in shock, mentally disconnecting from his body—an outsider witnessing the rape. He wanted to know if there was anything he could do because he wanted her to stop.

“It was just a lot of emotion to dig through and years of denial.

It took some years and “a whole lot of introspection,” but now he can admit the rape wasn’t his fault, that he isn’t less of a man because he didn’t fight back, and that, yes, women can do “hideous and horrible things” like rape.

“I’ve stopped believing that I will be 100 percent the same as I was before I was raped…and that is OK,” says James, who’s also a public speaker and blogger on sexual violence and survival advocacy.

Around them, he becomes quickly defensive and searches for an exit.

But he knows he can’t do this without help, and cautions the same for other male survivors.

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