THE BLOG

Let's Break the Silence Around Male Rape

11/12/2014 23:12 GMT | Updated 10/02/2015 10:59 GMT

Communication has never been so easy - almost all of us have mobile phones, email and social media accounts - yet for all the noise in our lives some topics are still seen as out of reach.

One of these is male rape and sexual abuse; a very real subject for thousands of victims each year but which is still seen as taboo in society at large.

For anyone who's been a victim of sexual abuse, asking for help to recover is a big step, yet to move forward and cope with what's happened it can be crucial. This can be difficult though if you don't know there is help available, or where to start looking.

That's why the Male Rape Support Fund was created by the Ministry of Justice as part of its Break the Silence campaign. We want to help tackle the stigma that surrounds male victims of sexual violence and encourage them to seek help. I also hope it will encourage more male victims to report the crime and bring their offender to justice.

It is estimated that around 75,000 men are victims of sexual assault, or attempted assault, a year according to data from 2012/13, and around 9,000 men each year are the victims of rape, or attempted rape, according to figures released in 2013 - that's more than one in ten of all victims of rape or attempted rape.

Staggeringly, police-recorded figures show that fewer than 3,000 incidents of male rape or sexual assault were recorded by the police in 2013/14. That's why this Government has launched the only dedicated money - more than £1million - for victims of male rape or sexual abuse to support organisations the length and breadth of England and Wales to deliver counselling and advice to those men who need it.

We have also commissioned a website specifically tailored to victims of these crimes to help ensure that no matter where they live they will be able to get help anonymously and at a time that suits them.

I am confident this fund will help increase male victims' access to crucial information, myth busting and emotional support - either in person, or online if they find that more accessible. Ultimately though I want to change how male rape or sexual abuse is viewed - it's vital these victims are helped to cope and hopefully recover from what is a hugely traumatic crime.

Break the Silence, launched earlier this year, has already gone a huge way towards this and was supported by Channel 4's Hollyoaks which was the first British soap to feature the issue of male rape in a storyline.

So let's hope this is the start of a wider discussion around the issue of male rape and sexual abuse, and that men are able to find support in a way that suits them, no matter where in the country they live.

Let's spread the message, because these survivors need support.

For more information on the issue of male rape and sexual assault visit www.survivorsuk.org