On August 31, 2009, James Hornik was raped by another male in Hollywood, California. Naturally, Hornik contacted the Los Angeles Police Department to report the assault and learn the procedure involved in pressing charges against his attacker. However, the LAPD forensic team denied him a rape collection kit, even though such a kit is typically provided to female rape victims as a matter of course. According to Hornik, LAPD officers also allegedly told him that “a gay man can’t be raped.”

The California Penal Code defines rape as an “act of sexual intercourse or penetration, however slight, which is sufficient to complete the crime.” Professional medical and mental health organizations like the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association make no gender stipulations in their definitions of the word “rape,” nor does any dictionary I’ve thus far been able to get my hands on. Tragically (but obviously), anyone can become a victim of rape regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Unbelievably, although James Hornik complained to all the proper authorities, action was never taken against the LAPD for the humiliating way they mistreated Hornik.

Since the time of his sexual assault, Hornik has been fighting back against the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding male rape. In order to call attention to the often invisible and widely underreported problem of male rape, he’s launched a Change.org petition demanding that the LAPD formally apologize to him for the injustices he endured. Please consider signing James Hornik’s petition here.