‘ONE in SIX males are victims of sexual abuse’ Charity CEO reveals shocking UK figures

Duncan Craig, the founder of Survivors Manchester, a charity for male victims of rape and sexual abuse, detailed the figures which showed a shocking amount of men are abused in Britain.The CEO explained to Express.co.uk how difficult it was for men, in particular, to talk out about the issue, as he interpreted figures from the Home Office and Ministry of Justice as well as academic research.He said: “About one in 10 reported rapes will be male, about 72,000 men are victims of sexual offences each year.

“From academic research we can surmise that one in six males will have experienced sexual abuse at some point in their life. So massive figures.”

Mr Craig founded Survivors Manchester in February 2009 after he discovered a lack of support for male sexual abuse victims in the north west.

Duncan Craig

Duncan Craig explained that male victims need to know there is support in the UK for them

Survivors Manchester, which works alongside other UK male sexual abuse charities, helps around 380 males on average every year, including around 25 females who are usually partners of those joining the charity.Having been a victim of sexual abuse, Mr Craig said he feared that not enough men know there is support out for them across the UK today, and explained the difficulties behind why men do not speak about their abuse.He added: “The idea that a male can kind of have his power taken away from him, in the most abhorrent way using sex as the tool, I think is just too much for people to get their head around.

“I think that gets people to start questioning masculinity and gets them to start questioning men and maybe the very fabric of their belief systems.

“We have got to accept that boys and men are affected by sexual violence as victims, as well as partners of women that are affected by sexual violence.

Man holding phone

The charity founder insisted that public opinion surrounding male sexual abuse was slowly changing

“We have got to start to give permission for men to cry. We have got to start to give permission for boys and men to understand themselves and show emotion. We have got to create spaces for men to talk, that isn’t down the pub.”Mr Craig claimed that men have to learn an “emotional language” when talking about sexual abuse.He said: “Men kind of want you to fix them. So they come in, they want you to tell them what to do, give them the manual, be fixed and leave, and if we could kind of do that in half an hour that would be great.

“There is all of that unpicking that we kind of have to do. In a way, men have to learn a language which is about emotions. A language which we haven’t traditionally been taught.

“Younger men have an emotional language, older men don’t. In a way you have to teach them a brand new language.”

The charity receives funding through the NHS and several grants and the founder is attempting to make men across the UK more aware of the help that is available to them.

Duncan Craig: Men need to learn an emotional language

Mr Craig explained how difficult it was getting the charity set up due to public opinion of the subject, and claimed there are still issues when raising support for male sexual abuse victims.
He said: “This is an organisation and a subject where we are just dealing with male victims, so boys and men who have been affected by sexual violence.“It wasn’t a topic that anybody wanted to talk about. I can remember knocking on the doors of decision makers and funders and it was like nobody wanted to know.“Nobody wanted to know about boys and men, it was like it wasn’t palatable, nobody wanted to listen to it.

“That was the biggest challenge then, and I think it’s still probably one of the biggest challenges, although I think something is changing and the way we view men and masculinity is changing.”

Mr Craig finished by reiterating that mistakes in the past surrounding male sexual abuse cannot happen again.

“I think enquiries have shown how we have swept things under the carpet over the years and we have got to stop doing that, I think we are getting better at being truthful, but there is a long way to go,” he said.

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