This Is Going to Hurt author Adam Kay raped in a sauna – and says his attacker thanked him after

Adam Kay attends a photocall during the Edinburgh International Book Festival

This Is Going to Hurt author Adam Kay has said he was raped in a sauna a decade ago – and his attacker said “thanks” to him after the sexual assault.

The British comedian spoke about the rape in an interview with The Times, and also discussed the traumatic experience in his new book Adam Kay Undoctored: The Story of a Medic Who Ran Out of Patients, where he recalled the attack and how he’s struggle to recover.

Kay said he was on a tour in New Zealand around 10 years ago when the incident occurred. He had just left his career in medicine to pursue his passion for comedy and writing and was on his way to perform a 20-minute set that he believed would be a launching pad for his comedy career.

The author also added he planned to use the trip as a chance to experiment with another man without the possibility of his then-wife finding out, saying that he would keep a low profile by going to a sauna, which “sounded like probably the most appealing/least appalling option and the best chance of getting what I wanted pronto and incognito”.

He continued: “A man in his 40s stood up, took my arm and wordlessly led me to a dimly lit cubicle, where he raped me.”

The ordeal left Kay in mental anguish. In the years after the attack, Kay tried to “work out if there could have been some kind of misunderstanding, something I did wrong”, wrestling with feelings of guilt and self-doubt.

But even through all that, Kay explained “the truth of it is inescapable”.

He wrote in his book: “I was clear. I said no when it became obvious he wanted this interaction to go a lot further than I did.

“I said no, again, when he started. I said no when he overpowered me and pushed my head into a wipe-clean cushion that stank of antiseptic.”

The trauma was only compounded by the rapist then saying “thanks” before leaving, which stuck with Kay in the years following.

“Thanks. You don’t say thanks to someone you’ve just raped, do you? Was coming here in the first place my consent? Not pulling my hand away when he took my arm – was that a way of saying yes, in a language I’d never been taught, negating everything I would say afterwards?”

Kay knows that trauma is a tricky thing, and attacks like this don’t simply fade away. At the time, he felt going to police was “unthinkable”, partly because he thought the response would be that “you can’t get raped if you go somewhere looking specifically for sex”, but also because admitting it to authorities would be admitting it to himself.

“Saying it out loud would make it real,” he said. “I would never be able to deny it or pretend it never happened, which already felt like my only way of getting through it.

“Maybe I just knew from the moment it happened that I would never forget it: Every minute, every second, etched into me in indelible ink, would be with me forever.”

Despite the trauma, Kay found the courage to admit his own feelings to himself and eventually came out as gay. His This Is Going to Hurt… More Tour –  where he shares entries from his diaries as a junior doctor as well as the original excerpts from his initial live comedy set – began on 7 September.

Additionally, his new book Adam Kay Undoctored: The Story of a Medic Who Ran Out of Patients has been described as “his most honest and incisive yet” and sees him reflect on “what’s happened since hanging up his scrubs”. It releases on Thursday (15 September).