(Editor's note: SDGLN has exposed a very ugly secret in our community: intentional drugging of victims and male rape. On Thursday, SDGLN published a first-person account of a well-known gay man in San Diego who was drugged and raped sometime after being out celebrating at a nightclub in Hillcrest. We verified the source and his story. Because of the sensitive and personal nature of this incident, we granted his request to run his important first-person story without revealing his name. The story has become the talk of the town. On Friday, SDGLN Editor in Chief Ken Williams publicly disclosed for the first time his involuntary drugging and how it has impacted his life in the years that have passed. Today's story is a response to the initial story of a drugging and rape, and SDGLN continues to protect the privacy of victims. SDGLN verified Nick's story by talking to his supervisor in the U.S. Army. If you have been drugged and raped, and want to talk about it anonymously, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)
To the young gay man in San Diego who told his story of being drugged and raped:
You are not alone in this. It happens everywhere. Especially in the places that you'd never imagined it to happen.
I am in the military. And the aesthetic of that is that we are strong people. That may be the case for most. And at one point even I thought that I was invincible. You see we all live our lives hearing horror stories of these events happening to people. We may even know one or two people ourselves. But what is constant in that everyday life is the thought that it would never happen to ourselves. That "I am careful," "I know these people," "I feel safe here." "My friends are watching out for me."
But I also happened to take on a night job as a bartender at a local gay bar. I was done with school for a while and decided to pick up a side job that would allow me to have fun and enjoy what I did. A little money on the side would definitely help more with my home furnishing expenses.
Exactly three years ago to the day, I too went through something very similar. And up until now, I have only told two people about what had happened. I had gotten off of work early that night since it was fairly slow. And one of the other bartenders asked if I'd stay and celebrate with him his proposal to ask his partner to marry him. This was still during a time of struggle both for military LGBT and civilian LGBT. I happily obliged. Seeing that he was my friend and we were at the very place we worked. A friendly bar. A place where everyone knows each other.
But on this particular night, I did not truly know everyone. I bought the first round of beers as that is all that I would drink. After nursing the first round, my buddy bought the second round. And then our bartender bought us a round of shots. A half of a beer was left in my bottle. I placed my bottle down on the bar and placed a coaster over the top of it, and told my buddy that I was heading to the bathroom. He said he was going to quickly step outside since his fiance was calling him.
We seemed to have returned at the same time. I grabbed my bottle and chugged quickly as I knew that it was time for me to get home. I walked towards the door and noticed that the room started to spin. I thought maybe the shot had really gotten to me since I didn't have anything to eat all day. So I walked to my car and decided to sleep it off for a while. I woke up the next morning feeling as if I had been hit by a train. I was three hours late to my Army job.
Then I realized that I was in the back seat of my car. My pants and underwear were around my ankles, and I struggled to get up off of my stomach as I was laying face down. Unlike you, I prefer to receive but I hadn't had any type of intercourse in several months as I was just trying to get used to the place and the community. What better way than to work at a local gay bar.
Immediately I slid my hand to the back of my body as I had feared the worse. For a moment I had no idea what I was going to do as I had already started to imagine the worse. I felt an unusual, thick moisture. I pulled my hand up to see blood. I sat up and cried for what seemed to be forever. I looked around to see if anyone was outside. I pulled my pants up and continued to cry.
The first thing that came to my mind was my father telling me, "This is what happens to gay people!" I told myself " I should've listened ..." I rushed home and showered. I called the bartender that I worked with the night before and told him what happened. Then he quickly rushed over to my house to meet with my best friend after learning the news.
They took me to the ER and waited. They waited for the doctor to come back with my test results and it came back as positive for being drugged. Being in the military, it is highly unheard of of men being raped. It is possible but not very many men come forward. And because the DADT policy was still in effect, I did not want to risk the chance. So from that point on, I kept my mouth shut and had my friends promise to never speak of it again. Several months after that, I quit working as a bartender, stopped going around those areas, and focused on finishing school.
I get tested regularly just to ensure that nothing came of it. I still live with the fear. But reading your story made all those emotions come back all over again. But it also helped me better cope as I understand where you are coming from. I know what you went through. I know it's a hard pill to swallow. I know that you are afraid. You are not alone.
If you are drugged or sexually assaulted, please report the incident to your local police and get yourself to the emergency room for treatment. After that, call The Center at 619-692-2077 for help where you can get immediate time with a counselor for further advice on how to deal with your situation.