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Musician Zeke Thomas shares his story of sexual assault to students

By Brianna Hawkins
On April 13, 2018

Musician and producer Zeke Thomas smiles at the audience as he begins his Q&A session on his experience with sexual assault and how he overcame the trauma. Brianna Hawkins/The Lion's Roar

Musician and producer Josh “Zeke” Thomas shared his story of sexual assault and overcoming trauma to students during a Q&A session.

The session was held on April 10 at 7 p.m. in the University Center.

The event was planned in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month sponsored by the university’s Campus Assault Response Education Team.

“As part of the CARE Team, a bunch of departments all came together like, ‘What could we do to bring awareness to it,’” said Chief Justice of Student Government Association Ali LeBlanc. “So, this was one of the first. We have been doing tabling events. We did a tabling event before spring break, and we did one on Monday. This is our first big event we have. He’s coming to talk about his experiences and sexual assault.”

LeBlanc says that the event is all about educating students on campus.

“It’s more about bringing awareness to it and just getting people to talk about it and making people aware of what it actually is and what it entails,” said LeBlanc. “I think that the whole CARE Team, everything that we’re doing, is definitely a huge step forward from what we have been doing in the past, and I think it is educating students.”

Thomas believes that by speaking to the younger generation, he will be influential.

“I love speaking to college students,” said Thomas. “I feel this is where I can relate most. I’m only 30 years old. So, I feel like relating to students and young adults is where I can make the most impact and where the most change can happen for the future.”

Thomas shared the message behind his story.

“You have to love your brother and sister in your community,” said Thomas. “We have to come closer together and less torn apart.”

Thomas discussed why people should hear these stories and become more informed on the aftermath and consequence of sexual assault.

“It’s important for people not to just hear the story of the assault,” said Thomas. “It’s important for people to hear the story of going through the trauma, of getting out of it, of working through it, of being successful in dealing with for the rest of your life. It’s definitely something that you’re going to be marked bad for.”

When it comes to why people don’t respond well to this type of crime, Thomas believes it’s due to people not knowing how to process them.

“The news loves to cover bad stories, but people don’t like to process bad stories,” said Thomas. “People always think that crime is very quick. You got murder, that happens. Sexual assault is a thing that has a lasting effect on your brain forever. It’s trauma, and people don’t understand mental health even though the brain is the most powerful thing in our body.”

Assistant Director of the Office of Student Advocacy and Accountability Antoinette Alack, who is also a member of the CARE Team, shared what she though students could learn from listening to Thomas’ story.

“I think students would benefit from Zeke Thomas with his willpower,” said Alack. “His courage to speak up, to speak out, to not remain silent, that your voice does have power, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Sophomore nursing major Trae Lewis shared his thoughts on the event.

“I feel like he was very helpful towards people who had been in the situation that he was in,” said Lewis.

Upcoming CARE Team events are the Health Center and SAAM at Strawberry Jubilee on April 18 and National Denim Day Display on April 25. 

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