Reported Cases of Sexual Abuse Against Men Triple in England and Wales

Greater awareness has also been sparked by the outpouring of testimony from women about sexual harassment and abuse as part of the global #MeToo movement. That has spurred more men to speak out, experts say.

“Although the campaign was centered on women, it empowered male victims to also speak out about their experiences,” said Noah, who did not want to be identified by his last name because there are still people close to him who do not know of the abuse he suffered.

The reported numbers for men which were released Friday are still far lower than those reported for women and girls, which themselves increased by 81 percent over the same period.

Reported Cases of Sexual Abuse Against Men Triple in England and Wales
Reported Cases of Sexual Abuse Against Men Triple in England and Wales

“There has been quite a significant change in how willing society is to listen to these experiences now and take them seriously, which has led to more men coming forward,” said Andy Connolly, the acting chief executive of Survivors UK, a male rape and sexual abuse organization.

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A study conducted by the charity in 2016 found that it took a male abuse victim 26 years on average to come forward.

“The pressures and the barriers for men to come out are different to women,” Mr. Connolly said. “There are issues around ideas of masculinity and the ideas of what it means to be a man.”

Noah said that while growing up with three brothers and an abusive father in northern England, he was taught to always be tough and take care of himself.

“I don’t even think my Dad knew that male rape existed,” he said. “I could never talk to him about it. I know he would blame me.”

The authorities are still investigating his case, he said.

An estimated 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales each year, according to Rape Crisis, a support group for victims of rape.

Male victims who spoke to The New York Times noted key differences in how their cases are treated, compared to sexual assault against women. Some news media outlets, they say, use different terminology to report on male and female sexual abuse, often describing female predators as “having sex” with a victim instead of “raping” or “abusing” them.

But media coverage is improving, men say. As more predators are being brought to justice and cases are publicized, more men also appear to be gaining the confidence to report abuse to British authorities and seek help for trauma, experts say.

Since the #MeToo campaign began, Survivors UK said, it has seen a record number of men calling its help lines in January.

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