After he says he was raped two years ago, one man was confronted with the memories of the event when he found himself logging onto Facebook and seeing his alleged rapist in a “people you may know” list.
He then channeled his painful memories into a powerful poem to which he delivered in front of thousands of people (video below).
Kevin Kantor, 22, says he was raped in March 2013 during spring break. Though his friend took him to the hospital and law enforcement authorities were contacted, no actions were taken against his alleged rapist.
Kantor told The Independent his interactions with police did little to yield results.
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“The big thing I remember was that all of a sudden I was alone in a room with two officers,” he said, “and I remember being asked whether I was assaulted, attacked or raped. I just had no idea how to answer that.”
“I was confused and I remember being told ‘if you don’t help us, we can’t help you,’ which made me shut down,” he continued. “There was no follow up — the majority of our interaction was ‘if you don’t take further action, we won’t.' I wasn’t in a place to help them.”
A spoken word poet and acting student at the University of Northern Colorado, Kantor took to poetry as an outlet after he found a Facebook picture of the man who he says raped him.
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“It was an incredibly jarring experience,” Kantor said. “I didn’t break down, I didn’t have a physical reaction, I just felt stunned. That was hard to process — just knowing that I was more connected to him in a way the entire time.”
“It made it harder (to deal with),” he added. “It created more of a person where there wasn’t before and it made it even more difficult for my mind to reconcile everything.”
Kantor has since won two awards at the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational for his poem, "People You May Know."
In the poem, he touches on the subjects of male rape as well as the stigma it carries in society. He was inspired to write the poem after he realized how much access he had to his alleged rapist’s profile as well as details about his personal life.
“That was what inspired me to write the piece," Kantor said. "I wrote the first draft, all of 16 lines, that day — poetry and spoken word has been my go-to since I moved to Colorado."
The performance has since gone viral, with nearly half a million views on YouTube.
Kantor now hopes that his poem can touch the lives of all survivors of rape.
“I really hope the one thing people take away from it is the realization that the powers that be and the culture that we have are the exact same powers that silence all survivors of sexual violence,” he said.
Photo Credit: YouTube