Five million men have been sexually abused in the UK, that’s one sixth of all men. Abusers do not discriminate, abuse can happen to anyone of any gender, age, race, class or sexuality. For a long time the world has much neglected the stories of men when it comes to sexual assault and rape. The images and stories widely shared have for the most part focused on women and female experience and of course the message is important and there should always be support for women in their fight against sexual crimes. It is also important to know that it was reported that between 2019 and 2020 155,000 men experienced rape or sexual assault. It is crucial to stress the importance of male suffering and stories at the hand of sexual predators. It can be hard as a man to know where to turn when you have become a victim to this crime and when you should be pursuing criminal charges with the assistance of a sexual offence solicitor.
How do I know if what happened was sexual assault and when do I ask for help?
There is so much stigma around this topic, first you need to have an understanding of the overall definition of sexual assault or indecent assault and that this is different to rape.
Sexual assault or indecent assault is defined as: ‘An act of psychological or mental abuse, or physical and emotional violation in the form of a sexual act, inflicted on someone without their consent. It can also include forcing or coercing someone to watch or take part in any sexual act.’
The legal definition of rape: ‘When another human intentionally penetrates a person’s vagina, mouth or anus with a penis, without having acquired the other person’s consent. Sexual assault through penetration happens when a human penetrates another human’s vagina or rectum with any part of the body other than a penis, or by using an object, without the person’s consent.’
If you think either definition has happened to you or you are unsure we would recommend getting in contact with experts in this field. Survivors UK is a charity specially for men and non-binary people who have suffered sexual abuse. They have a team of independant sexual advisors who are trained to provide you with both emotional and practical advice regarding sexual assault, sexual abuse and rape. They do not mind if you have contacted police already or are thinking about doing so. They are not part of the police or criminal justice system. If you decide pursuing criminal proceedings is an avenue you wished to take, that is when you could contact a sexual offence solicitor.
How do I recover?
Sexual assault, abuse and rape can leave scars on a person that aren’t visible. Working with professional services to understand the trauma you have been through can be helpful in the road to recovery. Many charities offer counselling services, and group therapy sessions. We also highly recommend visiting your GP to see what services are made available to victims in your local area. Safeline is another organisation that can help you in your journey through this, they have a specific support line for men and other further services of counselling, therapy and creative therapy.