OutUK's Adrian Gillan has been talking with the national support group Survivors UK to lift the lid on male rape and abuse.

"One call we had recently was from a grandfather who was on holiday with his family and grandchildren and was raped," says Adam Chugg, National Co-ordinator of Survivors UK. "It can happen to any man, anywhere."

Survivors UK was set up in 1986 to support men who have experienced sexual abuse, assault or rape, by providing a national telephone helpline, one-on-one counselling and group counselling services. "The helpline is called by over 400 men a year, and we offer counselling to up to 100. With more resources, these numbers would be far higher."

"Male rape and abuse is probably where female rape was a generation ago," asserts Adam of a manly taboo. "Despite all the evidence, many people want to deny either that it exists or that it is as common as it is. Some people refuse to believe a man can be at risk in everyday life. It does not fit with the stereotype of 'being a man' and looking after yourself. But male rape does happen, it does have bad consequences, and there is help available."

He continues: "We receive calls from adult men of all ages and persuasions, from sixteen to sixty; gay, straight, and bisexual. Around two thirds of callers last year were abused as children, with the remaining third assaulted as adults. Moreover, many straight people believe it only happens to gay men, yet around 60% of callers who were happy to disclose such information identified themselves as heterosexual, 35% as gay and 5% bisexual."

Common psychological effects found in men abused or raped:

Negative body image.
Hyperconsciousness of appearance.
Overachievement or underachievement.
Violence or fear of violence.
Split or multiple personalities.
Substance abuse.
Eating disorders.
Fears of repeating the cycle of abuse.
Embarrassment, guilt and isolation.
Lack of trust.

Survivors UK is keen to stress that healing and recovery is always possible.
"For those abused as children," says Adam, "the list of perpetrators includes: father, brother, stranger, peer, neighbour, teacher, mother, other relative, family friend, scoutmaster or youth worker - with more men abused from within the family than outside."

"Again," he goes on, "for those men abused as adults, more were raped by a person they knew than by a stranger or strangers, including the following: friend, acquaintance, work colleague, date, relative, partner, ex-partner, sister's partner or male nurse."

"Everyone's story is different," explains Adam. "We have men who are 'frozen' by the experience and very isolated in their lives. We have other men who have become sex addicts or have other forms of compulsive behaviour. The effects vary in nature and strength depending upon what took place, how serious, prolonged or repeated the assault was and whether support was received immediately after the attack."

If you need support following male rape or abuse, visit SurvivorsUK's website www.survivorsuk.org or email them in confidence info@survivors.org or call office number for more information on 020 3598 3898.

Surviving Male Rape Part 2 - Andy's Story


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