Amid Government figures indicating an increase in the number of men being victims of rape, a charity has for the first time launched an advertising campaign to increase awareness of the issue. The campaign involves adverts which feature on the London underground as the Six Nations rugby tournament is taking place.
The adverts show a picture of a rugby ball with a nail entering it. The image is accompanied by text stating, “Real men get raped and talking about it takes real strength”. The charity launching the campaign, Survivors UK, seeks to help and advise male victims of rape.
Michael May, of the charity, stressed that any male risks being a victim of rape. “The alpha-male imagery of rugby is clearly suited to challenging the assumptions about male rape. A victim is just as likely to be a rugby player as a City banker or a gang member. And we hope that by challenging our innate assumptions about the identity of male victims, we can make it even fractionally easier for a male rape victim to ask for help.
“The posters are proving a bit controversial, but we need to get more men coming forward with their experiences and lose the taboos that hold them back from seeking help.”
Professor Kim Etherington, Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, said that traditional perceptions of masculinity need to be replaced by a more wholesome view which does not stigmatise male victims. “Males are taught from a very early age that they should be ‘strong’ and ‘in charge’. To be successfully masculine is to be sexually potent, competitive with other males in sexual matters and dominant with sexual interactions. Being raped challenges and negates all these preconceptions.”
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