It has been roughly 6+ months since I was sexually assaulted. Too be honest, I don’t know if I ever will heal from it. In the beginning, I tried to trick myself into believing the perpetrator was a stranger. I tried everything from telling myself over and over that the individual who assaulted me was Christian, was White, and/or just a visitor sleeping over at a friend’s house. All of these statements are lies. Instead, I have decided to come clean and tell those who care to listen exactly what happened and how it has impacted me and my connection with not only St. Cloud Muslims but my religion.
The individual who raped me was not a stranger nor was he White. My rapist was [a] Muslim who I had come into contact with before. I never talked to him in the past. I had seem him while eating and shopping at Mogadishu and 33rd Street Mall. The individual who raped me was African, more specifically Somali. Whether this person lives in St. Cloud or was just visiting from Minneapolis I have no idea. What follows is graphic so if you want to skip this paragraph do so. I had parked behind the White mosque which is located adjacent to the St. Cloud State University campus. It was roughly 11am. The parking lot was full; after I took the last spot which was located in the very back of the lot.
As I was getting my backpack out of the hatchback trunk a Somali ‘brother’ walked behind me. He shoved me with extreme force. My body tightened. My biological father sexually assaulted me between the ages of 5-9. This Muslim ‘brother’ pulled down my pants and penetrated me. Extreme pain came over my body. After several minutes I became lifeless. A lot of people will reply ‘well you are a man. You are strong and big in stature. You should have fought back. You didn’t so that means you enjoyed it’. This isn’t how rape works. The reason why I didn’t make noise was because my mind tried its best to protect me. By not yelling or fighting back which could have made things worse (or cause the rapist to become more violent); the rape lasted a shorter amount of time than compared to if I tried to fight back. That doesn’t mean I enjoyed it or liked it. It was the worse, most traumatic experience I have ever gone through.
This incident was not caught on camera due to the fact the mosque parking lot doesn’t have cameras. Even though the rape happened in broad daylight, no one was around. My car was parked all the way in the back of the lot. For a long time, I tried to lie and give Islam and other Muslims the benefit of the doubt. After I was sexually assaulted the part of me which was religious withdraw from the world. 6+ months after being sexually assaulted I am caught between two positions; a hatred towards other Muslim men and a hatred of myself. I don’t blame Islam, rather I love my religion but those who practice it I have become disconnected with. Even though I pray 5 times a day or at least make up the prayers I missed; my passion regarding memorizing Qur’an and using prayer beads has disappeared. Whenever I walk past any mosque, park in the parking lot of which this sexual assault occurred, or come into contact with Somali men, I feel in danger. I suffer the same torment as I did while the ‘Muslim’ brother penetrated me.
It could be years until I come even close to accepting or forgiving the person who did this to me. It could be years until I find my way back to being a practicing Muslim. In no way do I have any inclination of leaving Islam. Rather, I intend to stay with my religion but practice it in secret while alone. One issue that I have currently is a lack of support from those around me. I love my wife but she doesn’t understand, comprehend, or believe that sexually assault is serious. I suffer from PTSD and Chronic Depression. If I walk too close to an entrance of a Mosque, I become tense and anxious. My heart feels like it is going to explode. I am afraid the same Somali man will walk out of the entrance and see me.
This is my story of #MeToo. I am a Muslim man who was sexually assaulted by another Muslim man. Rape does not just happen to women. Both men and women have gone through this struggle and will continue to face it together.