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Letter to the community: Reader shares how being raped drastically changed his life

(Editor's note: SDGLN has exposed a very ugly secret in our community: intentional drugging of victims and male rape. Today's story is a response to the initial story of a drugging and rape of a well-known member of San Diego LGBT community. SDGLN has verified the following story by Mark, and continues to protect the privacy of victims. If you have been drugged and.or raped, and want to talk about it anonymously, contact editor@sdgln.com.)

I just read the article "Gay man's horrific story: ‘I was drugged and raped’" and it brings back such memories and pain to me. Let me share my story. And sorry in advance if parts of this story are a bit graphic. BTW, I do wish to remain anonymous if my story is printed.

When I was 19 or 20, being a young man in Los Angeles, only out a couple of years, I met a guy online who also happened to work out at the gym I had just joined. From his profile and pictures, he looked great and seemed like a nice guy. We chatted a few times and decided to meet. When we finally met in person, he was better than I expected. In his early 30s, around 6-foot-2 or so, completely built well, had his own hillside home and was a professional.

When we first met, we did end up hooking up and we eventually began seeing each other. From the first time we met, he said he really wanted to top me but being a virgin in that area, I wasn't ready, especially since he was very hung. He seemed OK with it.

One night, maybe a couple of months of dating, we made plans. He took me to dinner and, he had never done this before, ordered a drink for me, telling the waiter convincingly that I was of age. After the first one, he ordered me a second. After dinner, he took me to a bar, again something we had not done, where he either paid the bouncer or knew him ‘cause he never checked or even asked for my ID. At this bar he bought me a couple of more drinks.

At this point, being a small guy of 5-foot-3" and 125 pounds and not used to drinking at clubs, I was pretty drunk. He then decided to take me to a leather bar near his home, again where they let me in without checking my ID. After one last drink, I pretty much blacked out. The next thing I knew, I woke up, at first not knowing where I was, but I did feel weight on me.

Once the haze cleared, I realized I was naked on his bed, and his over 200-pound body was on top. One hand over my mouth and he was inside me. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't move. I remember telling him to stop. I couldn't push him off. I remember him telling me that I liked it. I felt like I was in a movie. When he was done, he got up, didn't check to see if I was OK and got into the shower.

I remember laying in the bed, looking at the sheets, seeing blood. And I also realized he didn't use protection. Not knowing what to do, I got dressed and left while he was in the shower. I drove around for a while and not doing what to do before I went home. At the time I was living at home with my parents. I got home, ran to the bathroom and took the longest shower.

I would see the guy at clubs and bars after that. I changed my workout schedule so I wouldn't see him at the gym. I never told anyone or reported what happened to me to the authorities. It wasn't until a few years ago, more than 10 years after the incident, that I actually told anyone. I kept it a secret. I used partying as a way to cope and forget about it. I used anonymous sex as self-affirmation because I had a hard time trusting. I think it was a combination of things that later developed my HIV-positive status.

I wish when this happened to me, I knew where to go, who to talk to. My brother worked at the time for a police department, and I couldn't even tell him. To this day he doesn't know. I felt so alone. Even 16 years later, I still try to search out others who have experienced gay sexual assault. Hopefully the stories like the one that prompted me to write in and stories like mine will bring attention to this issue and show survivors they are not alone and it will get better.

Thanks for listening to my story.

Mark from Los Angeles, Calif.

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, if you live in San Diego, 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. If you live elsewhere, contact your local LGBT Center or rape crisis center for help.