2019 July 20: Men are sexually abused too, by other men- Speaking to Thandwayinkosi.

by Wakhe Sebenza

*Trigger Warning 

Historically, rape was thought to be, and defined as, a crime committed solely against women. Rape of males is still Taboo, and has a negative connotation among heterosexual and homosexual men. it is difficult for a male victim, straight or gay, to report the sexual assault that was experienced by him, especially in a society with a strong masculine custom.

He is a Rape Survivor sharing his story hoping to change the stigma around Male rape. Thandwayinkosi is 22-year-old Visual Artist. His story of rape can be picked up by just looking at his Instagram Photographs. He took a chance in photography after Professor Sir Zanele Muholi introduced him to it. He thought he was going to go back to his first love is Law, which he wanted to study. Too late, the photography bug has bitten and he loves it. Photography became a healing mechanism for Thandwayinkosi, for all the things that he has gone through and it also allows him to tell his story.

Growing up in a township, all his family wanted to do was to protect him from the bad influence around the township. The township life is mostly associated with substance abuse, crime and violence. He was allowed only to spend time with one trusted friend, not knowing it was going to be that trusted friend who was going to bring pain to Thandwayinkosi’s life.

His friend ultimately fell into the very same lifestyle that Thandwayinkosi was being protected from, substance abuse. When that friend was unable to pay his dealer Thandwayinkosi figured in the final analysis that he was actually a sacrificial lamb when a friend asked him to accompany him to the “dealer” and that’s where he was gang-raped.

His reason for not reporting this rape to the police, he was threatened with further violence by the rapists, they said to kill his grandfather who he was staying with and that would result to further sexual abuse if he was then going to live alone.

Not only was he sexually abused by his friend,  his Stepfather also sexually abused him. It is a horrific and terrible enough trauma being sexually abused but when your mother doesn’t believe you or protect you, it is another horrific trauma and that’s what Thandwayinkosi has gone through when he was sexually abused by his Stepfather.

He is currently working on a photography series telling his life story and he is considering going back to study law after all that he has gone through, he would love to protect the vulnerable because he felt he was vulnerable too and there was no one to protect him, that is why he wanted to study law at the first place. We wishing Thandwayinkosi all the best with his future endeavours.

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