Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Men are sometimes survivors too

Groggy from a night of drinking, James Landrith -- who was 19 at the time -- woke up in a bed that he quickly realized was not his own. 

As his haze lifted, he recognized the woman who ordered him to sleep the night before as a friend of a friend. He remembered she asked for a ride home after their mutual friend left the nightclub where they'd been partying. 

Woman pictured dressing up after ... (picture not related to Mr Landrith)
He remembered the woman was pregnant and bought him drinks as a thank you. He remembered feeling disoriented, and her suggesting a motel room to sleep it off. He even remembered lying down with his pants on, uncomfortable taking them off in front of a stranger, only to awaken later and find the woman straddling him. 

What he didn't remember was saying "yes."

The morning after, that familiar voice told him that he could hurt the baby if he put up a fight. Then she forced herself on him again. A few minutes later it was over. 

One night in a motel twin bed turned into years of self-examination. Landrith had been ra.p.ed. That was 1990. Since then, Landrith -- a former Marine based at Camp Lejeune -- has spoken out on behalf of s.e.xual assault victims, in particular men who were victimized by women. He didn't seek prosecution of his alleged rapist, but he wants other victims to feel free to talk about sexual assault and pursue justice without shame.

"I want people to understand that it's not about how physically strong you are," he says. "We [men] are conditioned to believe that we cannot be victimized in such a way."

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