The son of NBA legend Isaiah Thomas reveals he was raped at ages 12 and 27
DJ and producer Josh “Zeke” Thomas has opened up publicly for the first time about his experience with sexual assault, revealing on Good Morning America and in a recent New York magazine article that he had been raped twice.
“Being gay, being African-American, it’s definitely something that I never imagined would happen to me,” Thomas told GMA’s Robin Roberts last month.
Thomas, the son of NBA legend Isaiah Thomas, said he was raped for the first time when he was only 12 years old, and again just last year.
“At first I didn’t realize what had happened, what had transpired. I knew that it was wrong, I knew that I did not want it. I did not seek it out,” he said of the sexual assault he experienced when he was 12. “I didn’t let my family know until much later that this had happened.”
He added, “It was definitely hard for them to hear, and even more hard for them to hear that it happened again.”
In an interview with New York magazine, he discussed the rape he experienced last year, which he says happened after he was drugged while on a date with someone he met on Grindr. “All I remember is…getting in the cab. I know that I got drugged. I knew probably the moment that it happened because something didn’t taste right. But I didn’t think about it. I just didn’t think about it.” Afterwards, Zeke said, he couldn’t leave his apartment. “I didn’t move from my apartment for two days. I didn’t move. I didn’t talk to anybody. I froze.”
The disclosure came on the same day that the US National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) announced that Thomas, 28, would become their first male ambassador. He has also since released a PSA on supporting survivors of sexual assault.
“You know a survivor of sexual violence,” he says in the PSA. “You might be the first person someone tells immediately after being sexually assaulted. Or a survivor might wait weeks, months, even years to say what happened. Both are common, normal reactions.”
Thomas says he didn’t tell friends or family about the assault right away and began using drugs to cope with his pain. Eventually, he did end up telling his parents, and they got him help. The experience made him want to be a spokesperson for the NSVRC so that he could talk about something we don’t often hear about in the media: sexual assault in the gay and black communities.
According to the NSVRC, 40 per cent of gay men and 47 per cent of bisexual men report having been victims of sexual violence aside from rape in their lifetime, compared to 21 per cent of heterosexual men. The US Bureau of Justice Statistics notes that black people are at a higher risk of sexual assault than other communities. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (via ABC News), more than 19.5 million men in the US are the victims of contact sexual violence, including rape, over the course of their lives.
That’s why Thomas opened up in the PSA for NSVRC about his status as a survivor, and talked about how to talk to survivors in a supportive way. Hopefully, his words and honesty will help others who have also experienced sexual assault know that they aren’t alone.