DJ and producer Zeke Thomas is revealing publicly for the first time that he was raped twice.
“Being gay, being African-American, it’s definitely something that I never imagined would happen to me,” Thomas told ABC News’ Robin Roberts in an interview that aired today on “Good Morning America.”
Thomas, 28, the son of NBA legend Isiah Thomas, said he was raped for the first time at just 12 years old and then raped again in a separate incident 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 incident at age 12. “I hadn’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.”
Thomas described himself as “terrified” when he was raped again last year, saying, “I really felt that my manhood had been taken from me.”
He did not press charges in either instance of rape, explaining that he “just wasn’t ready” and did not want to be labeled a “victim.”
“If I could go back, there’s 100 percent I would press charges,” Thomas said. “If we could find…the assailant today, I would 100 percent press charges.”
Thomas is going public now about his past sexual abuse to help others. He appears in a new PSA released today by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Thomas is also an ambassador for the NSVRC, an organization dedicated to “preventing and responding to sexual violence through collaboration, sharing and creating resources, and promoting research,” according to its website.
“I want to give the voiceless a voice,” Thomas said. “The healing really begins with the voice. The healing begins with, this happened to me. I can get through it.”
In the U.S., over 19.5 million men are the victims of contact sexual violence, including rape, over the course of their lives, according to new data released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“I’m encouraging more victims to come forward,” Thomas said of his newly public role, which also includes him undergoing training to speak to kids about sexual abuse.
It was Thomas’ own family and his focus on music that he credits with giving him strength and helping him on what he calls his “journey” toward recovery.
“They let me know they’re here for me and [said], ‘We’re gonna do everything in our power to help your through this journey,’” Thomas said of his family, whom he relied on along with seeking the help of therapists and doctors.
“Music has been very therapeutic to me, and writing the songs, and coming out with music to express the way I feel,” Thomas said.
Thomas’ latest single is titled “I’m Dealing With It” and includes the lyrics, “I’m not beggin’ for forgiveness — but tonight I’ve come undone … let my spirit leave this palace, I can’t find the strength to run.”
Thomas said the lyrics signify his road to empowerment.
“It was really through the process of, you know, I’m blaming myself, and I’m coming undone, and I’m trying to take my power back,” he said.
Click HERE for more from the NSVRC on what you can do to prevent sexual violence.
Image: National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)