Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping today highlighted the support available for adult victims of male rape following a high profile storyline in Coronation Street.
The number of adult men coming forward to access counselling services is expected to rise nationally as a result of the soap’s bid to tackle the “culture of silence” that exists around sexual violence against men.
Around 100 men come forward to report male rape to Nottinghamshire Police every year however there are significantly more men who are affected by rape and attempted rape who do not report their experiences to police.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping jointly funds a number of support services providing long-term emotional and practical help for victims of rape and sexual violence – both men and women.
One of those, Nottinghamshire Sexual Violence Support Services (NSVSS), delivers a range of bespoke services to meet the individual needs of victims including tailored support specific to men.
The service offers confidential counselling enabling victims to gain greater understanding of their experience and find the inner strength to assist them in regaining control of their lives.
Counsellors hope Coronation Street’s portrayal of the issue will give victims greater strength to come forward.
One former service user – a 45-year-old victim of male rape from Nottinghamshire – has seen his life transformed since turning to NSVSS’s trained counsellors for help.
The survivor initially contacted the service’s helpline after experiencing suicidal feelings. Upon meeting a counsellor for the first time, he showed extreme anxiety with uncontrollable shakes, strong stomach cramps and nausea.
The victim, whose perpetrator is now serving a lengthy prison sentence, was only getting a few hours’ sleep due to flashbacks and nightmares and was drinking heavily.
He was offered face-to-face counselling to treat the high-level trauma symptoms he was experiencing and following several sessions, slowly began to rebuild his life. The victim now has a new job, has been promoted to a management level and has drastically reduced his alcohol intake. He is also enjoying hobbies and making plans for the future for the first time since he was raped.
Mr Tipping said: “Experience shows us men are far less likely to report sexual assault or male rape to the police and even less likely to access the support they need to recover from their experiences. This can be seriously detrimental to their mental health and wellbeing and lead to a multitude of other problems, sometimes involving dependency on alcohol or drugs.
“We’re hopeful that this brave storyline which highlights many of the issues surrounding male rape will encourage men suffering in silence to take the first steps to getting help. There are services available in Nottinghamshire that have transformed the lives of men and women and given them the coping strategies they need to move forward with their lives in a positive way.
“I would urge anyone who has been affected by sexual violence – man or woman – to have faith in our services. Our trained volunteers will listen, counsel and stand by you to get you back on the road to recovery.”
NSVSS runs a confidential counselling helpline and also provides Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) which help victims and survivors with problems with housing, benefits and health services as well as supporting them through the criminal justice system. Help is free and victims and survivors do not need to report the rape to the police.
Novlet Holness, chief executive of NSVSS, said: “We welcome the recent line in Coronation Street. The rape of David Platt is a harrowing and difficult situation, we then see David’s problems in dealing with what has happened to him and not, so far, having told anyone.
“Within society, there are traditional views and myths of male and female roles and a belief that masculinity means not being weak or passive, being dominant and in control, not being the victim in confrontation and so on. Thus the notion that “real men” do not get abused exacerbates the feeling of shame, guilt, self-blame, loss of power, loss of control, gender and masculinity issues and other negative reactions attributed to the abuse for many men.
“We hope the story line raises understanding and awareness of male rape, the issues and impact for the survivor.”
According to Survivors UK, an estimated 12,000 men are raped in the UK every year, and more than 70,000 are sexually abused or assaulted.
Research has shown that men are less likely to disclose or seek help for issues of sexual abuse. However, there has been an increase in male reporting, which is reflective of the fact that there has been an overall increase in reporting of sexual offences (male and female), people are feeling more confident and encouraged to come forward to report and disclose what has happened to them, whilst also seeking support
If you or someone you know needs NSVSS’s support or further information, please call 0115 9470064 or visit www.nottssvss.org.uk.
NSVSS’s confidential counselling line can be contacted on 0115 941 0440. If your call is outside its opening hours, you can leave a message or contact the 24 hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 800 0340.
Survivors of sexual assault or rape can also contact the service by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Thursday 29th March 2018