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TALKING CAN DO WONDERS – Luke shares his story in hopes others will too
Luke Collins, who works for intoBodmin, has shared his story of trauma for Wellbeing Week and hopes others will too. Photo Ollie Young

Luke Collins, who works for intoBodmin, has shared his story of trauma for Wellbeing Week and hopes others will too. Photo Ollie Young

23rd June 2021

An employee of into Bodmin has shared his story in a bid to get more people talking about traumatic experiences.

Luke Collins, who has recently taken on a role on the marketing team for the community interest company (CIC), revealed his harrowing tale to the Voice as part of Wellbeing Week.

“When I was 16, in Zimbabwe, I went to my first party with my friends and when I was there, I got really drunk,” he explained.

“We went back to my friend’s house and his dad was drinking with us and we were all having a laugh and it was like he was our friend.

“The night continued and everyone jumped on different sofas and the bed was the only place left and the dad suggested I got in. “I woke up in the night and he was sexually assaulting me. I froze but at that time – I didn’t know that freezing was a thing.”

Luke went on to explain the feelings of shame that came after the incident, with the Zimbabwean culture of homophobia, at the time, also making it difficult to process.

He also believes that people tend to keep incidents to themselves due to shame, fear, guilt and avoidance and admitted that the incident turned him from a well-behaved teenager to a ‘bad apple’.

He added: “People gave me all sorts of advice like: ‘Don’t tell people this happened’ or ‘Why didn’t you move’ or ‘It’s your fault’ and ‘You’re gay’, and being in Zimbabwe at that time, it was a very homophobic culture.

“Firstly, I hated the people who called me gay and blamed it on me because I knew it wasn’t my fault but then I hated myself.”

The 23-year-old who now identifies as bisexual, revealed that it was only after talking to someone that he began to learn more. “Later on, I found that someone else had gone through something similar and they explained to me what freezing is, then I realised it wasn’t my fault.

“The main point is that it is good for people to talk about things, if you are sad and you share things, it is good to speak and be open. When I started talking about it, I found that other people also shared their experiences of being sexually assaulted and I set them on their path.

“I want people to come forward and share their experiences and if anyone wants to talk to me, I will always be open.”

June 21-28 marks Wellbeing Week and Luke was keen to champion the cause of MIND, the mental health charity who run events out of the Old Library.

If Luke’s story has inspired you, email him at lukeafricazw@gmail.com

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