Fionnlagh McFarlane, from Scotland, was a normal teenager — he exuded confidence and curiosity and loved his family and friends. In general, McFarlane had a pretty good life.
Then everything changed in 2011 when he was just 18 years old. According to the Telegraph, McFarlane was at a bar celebrating a friend’s birthday when he accepted a drink from a stranger.Screenshot/Twitter
He didn’t remember much after that.
As the Telegraph reports, his friends left the bar without him, thinking McFarlane had already gone home. It was by happenstance that they came across a group of people surrounding the teen in a grocery store parking lot.
He was passed out, covered in vomit, with his pants undone. His friends took him home.
McFarlane couldn’t distinctly remember what happened after he accepted the drink from the stranger, instead he would have flashbacks that partially pieced together everything that took place:
“I never really knew that flashbacks were like you see in films, but it’s exactly like that. It’s like someone turns the light on, and I remember being in the bathroom. Light off. Light on and I remember being taken out of the club. And then as soon as I leave the club I wake up the next day.”
He believed he had been sexually assaulted and he experienced nightmares surrounding his theory.
But McFarlane tried to keep the faith, remaining hopeful that maybe, just maybe, he had vomited prior to being attacked and scared the stranger off. Then he got on a train that confirmed everything he feared the most.
He told the Telegraph:
“I was on a train to Glasgow a few months later and then this person got onto the train … and when I saw him, my whole body went into shock. That’s the first point I knew that something had happened. I wouldn’t be reacting this way. I was quivering.”
The person was the man who he believed raped him.
While still on the train, the man sat across from McFarlane, stared into his eyes, and began typing on his phone. He later handed the phone to McFarlane, which presented a message that asked him if he remembered what happened that night.
When he replied back saying no, the man proceeded to reveal all the gruesome details, confirming that McFarlane had been sexually assaulted.
“I just remember being absolutely devastated and sitting with my eyes shut. I eventually got off and broke down. That was the beginning of the end.”
McFarlane retreated from his friends and his family, pushing people away, unable to physically talk about what happened to him that night at the bar.
It wasn’t until about a year after the attack that he began looking for help professionally, sadly to no avail. He told the Telegraph that through his journey to getting his life back on track, he met another victim named Alex Morgan.
— Stay Brave (@StayBrave) April 14, 2017
Because he was a male, Morgan also had difficulty finding professional help. He told the Telegraph that months after his assault, he sought out a rape crisis helpline in order to talk about his experience:
“Nothing in it really said it was for girls, or anything like that. But I was told very bluntly down the phone that this number is for women and girls. I remember her saying ‘men are the abusers, women are the victims, we need to terminate this call now so we can help victims.’ I remember just hanging up. She didn’t finish her sentence.”
Morgan has since created an organization called, Stay Brave UK, which “exists to help male survivors” of sexual assault and domestic abuse.
— Stay Brave (@StayBrave) April 20, 2017
According to RAINN, in the United States, one out of every 10 rape victims are male. The RAINN website further explains the prevalence of male victims:
As of 1998, 2.78 million men in the United States had been victims of attempted or completed rape. Meaning, roughly 3 percent of American men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
Morgan is doing his part to stop the stigma by doing what he can to assist people like himself and McFarlane get the help they need after enduring the devastating effects of sexual assault.
McFarlane never fully understood why his attacker admitted to the horrible things he had done, but he’s getting better, and he’s “proud of how far [he’s] come.”