A man has described how he felt ‘raped’ by a woman who violently sexually assaulted him after finding out he was gay. Filmmaker Frank McGowan, who has waived his right to anonymity, said he was left suffering from PTSD after the horrific attack by Cheryl Cottrell in May 2015. The two were at a house party in Glasgow. After finding out he was gay, Cottrell propositioned him and made ‘sickening’ comments.
He told The Daily Record that he tried to fend off her unwanted advances, but when he bent over to pick something up she assaulted him ‘by violently pushing her fingers inside’ him. ‘She didn’t stop and I had to use all my strength to throw her off me,’ he told the paper, adding that it was so forceful that he was bleeding. ‘I still feel empty, hopeless and upset. I felt like the only guy in the world going through the aftermath of this disgusting violence.’
Cottrell denied attacking him during a trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court, but in August she was found guilty of sexual assault. Under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, rape is defined as penetration by a penis without consent – meaning that women cannot be tried for rape.
She was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register and was ordered to do 120 hours of community service. Frank believes that she should have had a custodial sentence, saying: ‘She got off lightly and I’ll have to live with what she did for the rest of my life.’ The filmmaker, who was nominated for a Bafta for Looking After Mum, said that he suffers from flashbacks and severe panic attacks. His relationship with his partner also fell apart. ‘The experience destroyed me,’ he said. ‘Things got so bad, I tried to take my own life. Thankfully a close friend stopped me at the last minute, but I’ll never get over what happened to me.’