'I was raped like David Platt in Coronation Street': Brave rape victim who advised writers about soap's storyline reveals his brutal attack by two men after a night out
- Sam Thompson, 23, was raped by two men on a night out in Manchester in 2016
- Traumatic event left him unable to leave his parents' house for weeks
- He used his experience to advise the writers of Coronation Street on rape scene
- Fan favourite David Platt was drugged and raped in a recent episode
Millions felt sick to their stomachs watching a harrowing Coronation Street scene where fan favourite David Platt was raped.
But for 23-year-old DJ Sam Thompson the storyline was personal as he was raped by two men on a night out in Manchester two years ago.
The traumatic event left him unable to leave his parents' house for weeks and he only recently has worked his way back.
He drew on his experience to advise the show's writers on the scene where Platt is drugged and raped by his new friend Josh Tucker, and the aftermath.
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Sam Thompson, 23, was raped by two men on a night out in Manchester two years ago
Mr Thompson didn't initially realise what was happening to him when he woke up in a hotel room, and it was only when the physical pain kicked in that the horror of the situation hit him.
'I didn't know if it was a dream or a nightmare. I only remember snippets of it, and my memory of the whole ordeal is hazy,' he said.
'It was the way I was in pain - that was the biggest indication.
'When it was over I got up and left and started walking home to my flat where my girlfriend and friend were waiting for me. When I got back to the flat I just burst out crying.'
Mr Thompson, then 22, had lived in Manchester just a few weeks when his horrific ordeal unfolded in September 2016.
He had moved to the city from Newark, Nottinghamshire, with his then-girlfriend, to pursue his dream of becoming a professional DJ.
Millions felt sick to their stomachs watching a harrowing Coronation Street scene where fan favourite David Platt (left) was raped by his so-called friend Josh Tucker (right)
Keen to check out the city's nightlife, Sam and his best friend Brady ventured into the city centre and spent the evening exploring different pubs and clubs.
They lost each other in a haze of vodka shots and Mr Thompson, who had also lost his mobile phone, started chatting to a group of people outside a club.
Before long people started to leave. Mr Thompson was left alone with just two men,who persuaded him to stay for 'one last drink'.
'We were all drinking and it's a really hazy memory. I think I was having a good laugh. The group fizzled down to just two people and me,' he said.
'My memory is hazy, but the next thing I remember is one of them pulling off my trousers.'
What followed was an ordeal which lasted hours - in which Mr Thompson says the two men took it in turns to rape him.
At the time, Mr Thompson could not explain why he didn't fight back. He froze. A therapist has since told him that people respond to trauma in different ways and the 'fight, flight or freeze' response kicks in.
He remembers leaving the hotel at around 8am, after the men had finished.
He walked out onto the street with no understanding of where he was in his new city. After finding his bearings, he staggered towards his home in a daze.
Mr Thompson used his experience to advise the writers of Coronation Street on how to handle its male rape storyline
At that point, Mr Thompson was unable to comprehend the enormity of what had just happened.
'It was weird - difficult to describe. I was in shock and I don't think it had really hit me. It sounds strange but I went into Morrisons and bought a drink,' he said.
'It was only when I got near home that it all hit me and the panic and frustration kicked in. I had feelings of not wanting to live with this.'
When he got back to his flat he found his girlfriend and best mate Brady waiting for him, worried about where he had been.
At that point, he 'just came out with it' and told them the unthinkable - he'd been raped.
'I just burst into tears. They didn't know how to react. Brady put his arm around me and my girlfriend just broke down in tears,' he said.
'I hadn't expected this to happen. I just wanted to have a shower but they told me to go to the police.
'My girlfriend went to call my mum and I asked her to tell her because I couldn't bear to tell my mum what had happened.
'She put my mum on loudspeaker and she was the voice of reason. She said 'you need to report it, now'.'
The traumatic event left him unable to leave his house for weeks and he only recently has worked his way back
The three friends made their way to the nearest police station where Mr Thompson said the wait to make his official statement felt like an eternity.
Injuries to his arms were photographed and he was asked to give details of what he could remember to a specially trained officer.
He said he was also asked questions about his sexuality and if the complaint was genuine.
'It wasn't an easy experience. I was talking to a woman I had not met. I think I would have found it easier to talk to a man to be honest,' he said.
'I had not slept at all. It was like I was being questioned for a crime. I had never heard of this happening to a straight man.
I felt like they didn't believe me. It created so much more stress. I felt like they were saying I must be gay and making it up because I was keeping being gay secret.'
Mr Thompson now realises that the questions he was asked were necessary for the police investigation, but he found it a harrowing experience.
He was taken home by a police officer and told not to shower or change his clothes until his appointment at the sexual assault referral centre at 10pm that night.
Unbeknown to David, he had been drugged by Josh earlier on, leaving him unable to object to what was about to happen
The show closed as Josh stood over David lying on the bed and slammed the door
Exhausted after his ordeal, he managed to sleep only briefly before the forensic examination, where he was internally examined, given blood tests and advice on sexually transmitted diseases.
'I still smelt of these two people. I just wanted to shower. It was a horrible experience but I can't fault the people who took the samples,' he said.
'It was not a nice ordeal to go through and being given things like HIV advice is horrible, but at that point I had already made a report.
'I don't like to say to other people in my situation 'you must report it to the police'. In an ideal situation we would all go and report straight away.
'If you have got it in you, go and do it and they will get the evidence they need should it go to court. But I know speaking to the police can be an extra ordeal.'
Desperate to leave Manchester, Mr Thompson was driven home that night to Newark,where he spent the next month 'dazed' in front of the TV.
'That first weekend it was horrible for me and for my family and anyone else around me,' he says.
'I couldn't be left alone in the house because I would cry and scream. I just couldn't be left on my own. I couldn't walk more than two or three metres from the house to smoke.
'I was a completely different person. My mum said 'you could see it was you but there was no-one behind the eyes'.
'I spent a month sat in front of the television. I couldn't sleep and if I did sleep I would have night terrors.
'There was a moment when I lost control and chucked tables and chairs around so I agreed to go to the GP. I was given anti-depressants and I refused to take them so I chucked them in the bin. The diazepam and sleeping tablets I took to help me sleep.'
After being drugged David passed out on the bed, clueless as to what was about to happen to him
It took several weeks before Mr Thompson felt strong enough to DJ at a local event, which he attended with his brother.
That was the turning point he needed and from that moment on he knew he could not let the attack ruin his life.
'I decided I was not going to let it beat me. My attitude was that I was not going to let them win. With me sat in the house doing nothing else they were continually beating me,' he said.
'Now I've had therapy I know it's about control and power. When you've been raped someone has taken away your power and control.'
Mr Thompson returned to Manchester, started DJing again, got a job as a recruitment consultant and made himself 'so busy I didn't have to think about it'.
How common is male rape?
Experts say that male rape and sexual assault is massively underreported in the UK.
Around 75,000 men in England and Wales are estimated to be victims of sexual assault or attempted assault each year, according to the latest government statistics.
Of those, 9,000 are estimated to be victims of rape or attempted rape.
But only around 1,550 males reported those crimes to the police in the year the data was collected.
But avoiding the issue just made the problem worse and his relationship became a casualty of what happened to him.
Having lost interest in sex and finding it difficult even to kiss another person, his relationship ended in January 2017.
Not long after, police told him the case against two men arrested in connection with his rape had been dropped because it would be difficult to prove he didn't consent.
'Initially it was a major knock back. I was adamant the police didn't believe me and that was the problem,' he said.
'But in June last year I met with the officer who handled my case and I realised that was not true.'
Shortly afterwards, however, Mr Thompson suffered a breakdown and was advised bythe specialist officer who had handled his case to contact Survivors Manchester.
The organisation works exclusively with male victims of rape and sexual abuse supporting them through counselling and peer-to-peer support.
After admitting he needed help, Mr Thompson had counselling and has since become a Survivors ambassador.
He is now keen to make sure that other men in the same situation know they are not alone - something Mr Thompson didn't realise after his own attack.
'Coronation Street has a massive voice and people have a connection to David Platt. The storyline breaks down myths about male rape and explores what happens afterwards,' he said.
'Rape is nothing to do with consent. Because of the act of rape there's a lot of confusion and people don't understand what it is and that it can happen to anyone.
'Some men get an erection or can ejaculate while being raped but it's not a pleasure thing - they're not enjoying it, it's just that certain glands are being touched. That can be very difficult for someone to understand.
'What happened to me even made me question my sexuality. I have always been straight but the way the police questioned me made me fell like I had to question myself.'
Next week fans will see David struggle to cope with what he has been through, especially as Josh acts as if nothing untoward has happened
Mr Thompson says therapy sessions and his work with Survivors helped him to understand his experience properly.
His story is now used by the charity to help train Greater Manchester Police officers on how to deal with victims.
Mr Thompson refused to let the experience shape his life. He now lives back in Newark, still DJs, and is studying for exams in the hope of going to university in September to study law.
'The best advice is to try and remember you are not alone with this,' he said.
'It's about talking. If you talk to friends, family, professionals, police anyone it helps. And if you can't say the words then write them down or put them in a text.
'The moment you stop trying to keep it in is when you stop feeling alone. It helps you accept this has happened. It's not the end of your life.
'There was a point last year when I wanted to turn it around. I couldn't really care that much about how people see me - the big thing for me was how I felt and not realising it happened to other men.
'If I could help other people to find their voice I could help.'
Detective Inspector Zed Ali, of Greater Manchester Police, said: 'I can't commend Mr Thompson enough for his immense fortitude in raising awareness of this horrendous crime and also highlighting the importance of seeking specialist support.
'I would urge everyone to keep safe by remaining with friends when on a night out and ensure you and your friends return home safely together.
'Don't accept a drink from a stranger and do keep an eye on your own drink to ensure it has not been tampered with.'
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