A gay man has revealed how a sexual assault by a woman has driven him to the brink of suicide.
Frank McGowan, who is a Bafta-nominated filmmaker, suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after the attack two years ago.
‘Some days, I can’t get out of bed because I’m still gripped by fear,’ McGowan said.
‘I’ll go to get up and I’ll start sobbing uncontrollably.
‘I still feel empty, hopeless and upset.
‘I felt like the only guy in the world going through the aftermath of this disgusting violence.’
Sexual assault at a house party
At a house party in Glasgow in May 2015, Cheryl Cottrell violently violated McGowan.
‘She discovered I was gay and made several sexually inappropriate comments,’ McGowan said.
‘I was absolutely sickened by what she was saying. I’d never heard so many vile things.
‘I went into the kitchen to get a glass of water and she followed me. She was asking invasive questions about my partner and asked if I would sleep with her.
‘I just wanted to get away and asked her to back off. She was getting angry. Something fell from the unit and I bent down to pick it up – that’s when she pounced by violently pushing her fingers inside me.
‘She didn’t stop and I had to use all my strength to throw her off me.
‘I couldn’t believe what was happening – it was a brutal and painful assault.
‘I was bleeding and felt like I was being raped by this horrible woman.’
Found guilty, but not imprisoned
Cottrell was found guilty of sexual assault after a trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court.
Placed on the Sex Offender’s Register, she was ordered to do 120 hours of community service.
But for McGowan, he believes she should have been imprisoned.
Under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, rape is defined as penetration by a penis without consent.
This means women cannot be tried for rape in Scotland.
‘She got off lightly and I’ll have to live with what she did for the rest of my life,’ McGowan said.
‘Things got so bad, I tried to take my own life’
His relationship with his partner has broken down, he was bullied in the street and forced to move home.
‘Things got so bad, I tried to take my own life,’ he said. ‘Thankfully, a close friend stopped me at the last minute, but I’ll never get over what happened to me.’
He added: ‘I still don’t know why it happened. It changed my life completely.
‘I didn’t ask or want anything to happen. I asked her to leave me alone.
‘The worst part was Cottrell thought it was hilarious and showed no signs of remorse. She forced herself on me against my will.’