Childhood rape victim David Holthouse speaks out
David Holthouse was the victim of a childhood rape. At the young age of 7, Holthouse was violated by a star high school football athlete who was the son of his parent’s close friends. The incident was something that Holthouse had internalized at a young age. He didn’t have the knowledge of what was happening to him at the time.
It wasn’t until his teen years that Holthouse began researching what had happened to him and learned about childhood sexual assault. Fearing that he might also repeat the vicious rape cycle, and become another statistic, he said he would have rather committed suicide by making it look like a mountaineering accident before he let himself become the attacker.
As Holthouse grew older he found out where his attacker lived and stalked him for over a year. In that time he purchased a gun, had the identification numbers ground off and planned on killing the man who assaulted him so long ago. Had it not been for his mother finding one of his old journals literally days before he planned the murder Holthouse would have followed through with it. Without the notebook there was no tie to why Holthouse would have murdered the man who attacked him because no one knew about the assault and he could have gotten away with it. Now that there was evidence he was forced to meet the man who ruined his childhood and scarred his life face to face instead of getting his plotted revenge.
Holthouse is most known for his published account of the attack in his article titled, “Stalking the Bogeyman.”
Holthouse suffered from the phycological struggles of childhood sexual abuse. Despite his struggles Holthouse successfully became a journalist and has a number of very impressive articles under his belt. Writing for all sorts of outlets including the Rolling Stones magazine. Holthouse said he knew he wanted to be a journalist for most of his early adult life.
“My friends and I started an underground newspaper at East High School in 1988, when we released our first issue seeing and hearing people react to my writing, that’s when I knew what I wanted to do,” Holthouse said.
For a long time, Holthouse said that the incident didn’t have much to do with his pursuit of a journalism career. He now knows this to be untrue. Looking back at some his work, his first person full immersion type of journalism may have been the result of the incident. He followed gangs, spent time in homeless societies, and involved himself with crystal meth users in an order to report their dramatic experiences. Holthouse most frequently wrote in a gonzo style journalism, adopted by his main inspiration, American journalist Hunter S. Thompson.
“I now realize that all along through my style of writing, I enjoyed shining a flashlight into the dark corners of the world, exposing reality for what it is, taking the ugly truth and shoving it into peoples faces,” Holthouse said.
Now also a playwright and documentary filmmaker, Holthouse has developed a platform in which he can reach out to other victims. UAA is currently working on a production of Holthouse’s “Stalking the Bogeyman.” The show will debut on Friday April 1 at 8 p.m. in the Harper Studio Theatre. UAA’s production of “Stalking the Bogeyman” is the third rendition of the play. Working on the play has allowed Holthouse to develop of a way coping with the tragic memory.
“I never know what type of reaction I’ll have to it,” Holthouse said. “Sometimes I am separated from it and feel like just another person in the seats, and sometimes I’m like holy shit that’s me up there.”
Christopher Evans, a UAA student plays Holthouse’s attacker in the play. He first met Holthouse after being cast for the play at a script reading.
“It was very intense, the man has a lot to say without saying anything,” Evans said.
Holthouse will be reading some of his articles from the 90s he considers to be examples of gonzo journalism at a discussion in the UAA bookstore on Tuesday. He also has decided to do his premiere reading of his second installment of the incident titled “Outing the Bogeyman.” According to Holthouse this will be the first and last reading of the piece. In this piece Holthouse discusses the events of the face to face meeting with his attacker as well as finally releasing the man’s identity to the public. Holthouse claims to have had multiple offers to read “Outing the Bogeyman,” for radio networks but realizes it connects more to what he is discussing in Tuesday’s reading.
“I plan on reading ‘Outing the Bogeyman’ once and only once, and then walking away from it forever,” Holthouse said.
Rachel Epstein, special events coordinator for the UAA Bookstore scheduled Holthouse for the event. Epstein believes that Holthouse will give a memorable reading.
“Its big, I’ll be recording it as well as many others I’m sure,” Epstein said.
The discussion and reading is titled, “The Weird Turn Pro” after a quote from Hunter S. Thompson, “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Holthouse will be reading some of his early 90s works, taking questions, and discussing the changes in journalism today in addition to his reading of “Outing the Bogeyman.” This event will take place on Tuesday March 29 at 5 p.m. in the UAA bookstore and is open to everyone.