They Raped Mike
Bobbie L. Washington
In life, time moves forward. We meet people along the way, like floating stars passing through the galaxy. On occasion, we get reminders of those time in some of the most unusual ways. Such was the case of an event long since dormant but had a profound impact on those who have not spoken of it ever since. What made me think about that time was a Spanish language film that came out in 2003 titled Dependencia Sexual or Sexual Dependency. It chronicle the sexual exploration of a cross section of young adults, a 15 year old reluctantly losing her virginity, a young man sexual encounter with a prostitute, a bunch of campus jocks who are decidedly homophobic and a black girl who graphically describes a rape but here is the twist, she is describing it in a play. But there is a rape that does occurs exactly how she describes it, at night, in a parking lot, by at least four young men but the victim is a male foreign exchange student who was victimized by the homophobic campus jocks.
And when I saw this, the memory of Mike came rushing back. When this happened to Mike, it was the mid 70's. We were in college at the time, some of us were freshmen. Mike was a returning student. At the time, we lived on campus in dormitories that could best be described as modified jail cells. The rooms measured eight feet by fifteen feet and we were four to a room. The walls were concrete block and painted an off lime green. It was a three story walk up and we lived on the third floor.
On the night of Mike’s assault, he wanted some chicken. Down from the campus of Texas Southern University was a chicken eatery known as Frenchy’s. For those who liked chicken, it was the place to go and get three pieces on a college student’s budget. Frenchy’s was about three blocks down from the campus. I don’t know if Mike ever made the trip before but many had made that trek before without any type of incident. But it wasn’t the case for Mike. While making his way down there, he was confronted by two men. A weapon was displayed in the assault. He was raped. This was just the cold hard fact of the matter.
There was no type of counseling for men in the mid 70's for this type of crime. No one knew what had happened to Mike. There was no reporting of this crime to police and the stigma that may have prevailed in that era of a young black man being sexually assaulted more than likely would not have been thoroughly investigated. Mike lived with this in secret until one day he jumped from the third floor of our dormitory. He didn’t kill himself, luckily, he had a nervous breakdown and ran screaming across the campus. It was only later did we find out what had happened to him and we were shocked by it. I don’t believe any one of us could fathom what we would have done if the situation had been reversed. Mike subsequently dropped out of school and presumably went back home somewhere in Texas.
Fast forward a year and I’m living off campus with my homeboy. We got an apartment over the summer with all of the struggles that go along with independent living while still going to school. Money was more than tight. And as the summer slowly spiraled down and as everybody returned to campus life, some of our friends temporarily move in with us. At it’s headiest, we had 19 people living with us. And as the months moved on, the number was reduced to a few. Mike had returned. Mike was a jazz musician and we were musicians as well of different degrees but Mike was a very good jazz musician. He was playing gigs on a regular basis while trying to find a place to stay. With Mike, we had three additional guests remaining. It was the college life and this is what we did. But there was an episode that involved Mike and my roommate. Considering the times in which we live in, my roommate handled it well.
When Mike was alone with my roommate, he had another breakdown. He had made the statement that he didn’t know who he was anymore and he wanted my roommate to fuck him in the ass. Yeah.
My roommate told me what had happened and there was sorrow for Mike. For us, it was out of our area of knowledge on how to deal with someone with a sexual identity crisis brought on by his sexual assault. Mike moved out and we never heard from him again. For a while, we always wondered where Mike was, did he go back home, was he okay or what? It’s been years now, life does a number on you, good, bad and indifferent. You look up and look back on the life that you had, some with fondness, some not so much. What happened to Mike at that point in his life more than likely altered his path. The only thing we did know was that the rape of Mike changed more than his life. Where ever you are, Mike, Good luck.