Gay man ‘felt like he was raped’ after horrifying sexual assault by drunken woman

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A BAFTA-nominated filmmaker has opened up about the PTSD he has suffered after a drunken woman sexually assaulted him.

Frank McGowan, who has waived his right to anonymity, was assaulted by Cheryl Cottrell at a house party in Glasgow in May 2015.

She discovered he was gay and made “several sexually inappropriate comments” and asked if he would sleep with her.

“Something fell from the unit and I bent down to pick it up – that’s when she pounced by violently pushing her fingers inside me,” he told the Daily Record.

“She didn’t stop and I had to use all my strength to throw her off me. I couldn’t believe what was happening – it was a brutal and painful assault.

“I was bleeding and felt like I was being raped by this horrible woman.”

Cottrell was found guilty of sexual assault at Glasgow Sheriff Court and was ordered to carry out a community payback order of 120 and placed on the sex offenders register.

Rape was only defined under Scottish statute by the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.

Before then courts relied on a common law definition of consensual vaginal intercourse imposed by a male against a female.

The new law defined rape as a person penetrating the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with their penis without reasonable belief that the other person consents to this penetration.

The same act defines other forms of non-consensual penetration as sexual assault.

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McGowan said that the sentence received by Cottrell was “ridiculous” and compared her sentence to that when a man similarly sexually assaults a woman.

“I’ve been told if it was man who did that to a woman, the sentence would be five years in prison,” he said.

Of the impact of the crime, McGowan revealed he had suffered PTSD and said: “Some days, I can’t get out of bed because I’m still gripped by fear. I’ll go to get up and I’ll start sobbing uncontrollably.

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Glasgow Sheriff Court (Stephen Sweeney)
Glasgow Sheriff Court (Stephen Sweeney)

“I still feel empty, hopeless and upset. I felt like the only guy in the world going through the aftermath of this disgusting violence.”

He has given his support to the Get It Together campaign in partnership with Mental Health Foundation.

Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of sexual violence. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.

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