While I feel that it is positive progress to acknowledge that men too can be victims of unwanted sexual experiences, it concerns me that this inclusivity may not be seen as something that should consistently and continuously run through our language when discussing sexual abuse.
Kylie Jenner has shared a heartbreaking story of a young man who was physically, sexually and emotionally abused by his partner
I'd like to publicly say thanks Kemi. Thank you for highlighting in Greater Manchester, there are an estimated 35,564 males that have experienced sexual offences in the past four years. Thank you for highlighting there are an estimated 34,177 that didn't report anything. Thank you for taking the time and effort to stand up and use your voice to help male survivors.
Talking about the sexual abuse, rape and sexual exploitation of boys and men is an everyday occurrence for me (including my own survivorship), but standing in front of these audiences reminded me how difficult this subject is for much of society to hear and still very much a taboo to talk about.
Gender norms are so fixed that we refuse to recognise male victims of sexual violence just as we refuse to identify female perpetrators. As a woman, I was taught from a very early age that men are always after sex, the same way I was taught that sex is not a primary drive for women. Ridiculous as both these statements sound, they're still inscribed on our social psyche.
When I tell people I've been sexually harassed, and worse, by women, people laugh, or call me a liar. It's all happened to me- more than once. Could it be that our tendency to see women as harmless and men as tough leads us to refuse to even think that the average woman is capable of harming a man.
In October of last year, when Hollyoaks announced the introduction of a male rape storyline, many commentators queried the decision. A number suggested the issue had been "done already", citing the gang rape of Gary Lucy's character on the same soap back in 2000.