Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Calls to male rape survivor charities surge after conviction of Reynhard Sinaga, ITV News finds

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner

Charities which help male survivors of rape say they have seen a sharp rise in the number of calls following the conviction of a man dubbed "Britain's most prolific rapist", an ITV News investigation has found.

Manchester-based Reynhard Sinaga was jailed last week for a minimum of 30-years for drugging and raping more than 40 men over a two year period. Police believe there could be many more men preyed on by the rapist yet to come forward.

Of the organisations spoken to by ITV News, four organisations said they had seen a surge in calls following the conviction; with one helpline supporting a man who was raped more than forty years ago but had not spoken about his experience.

While there is no suggestion the calls come from people sexually assaulted by Sinaga, all the organisations contacted by ITV News say the reporting of such cases help survivors come forward.

Two national helplines, Rugby-based Survivors Trust and the National Male Survivors Helpline operated by Warwick-based Safeline, said they had seen the number of calls increase five times since the conviction.

Increase in calls still 'tip of iceberg', says helpline boss

National Male Survivors Helpline CEO Neil Henderson believes high-profile convictions, like Sinaga's, help survivors come forward and dispel the myth that it is only women are the target of date rape drugs and only gay men can be raped.

The organisation said among those it has supported are a man in his 90s - who called to talk about a sexual assault he experience more than eight decades ago - and a man in his 70s, abused as a child, who called in the wake of Sinaga's conviction.

It's CEO, Neil Henderson, told ITV News the conviction has had an affect on his organsation "in the sense that over the two or three days following the court verdict, calls to the helpline increased 500 per cent."

He believes although such an increase is not untypical after a high-profile conviction, it is a positive sign that more men are coming forward. He credits story lines in soaps like Coronation Street for delivering for "massive spike in calls to the helpline."

"Even though we had 29,000 contacts last year, it's still the tip of the iceberg. There's still millions of men out there we need support."

He called for the collapse of gender-norms, which dissuade many men from coming forward, adding phrases like "man-up" combined with the trauma of abuse is "debilitating" for rape survivors.

Survivors Manchester, which is based in the city where Sinaga conducted his "monstrous" crimes, said it had recorded calls increasing three times in the last week, with the number of referrals increasing to 54 in a week from 14. The charity said the conviction and sentencing of the Indonesian-born offender has pushed people to call.

A fourth organisation, London-based Survivors UK, said it had recorded a 60 per cent increase in calls in the week after the conviction, including a call from a man abused 40 years ago who was coming forward for the first time.

The charity also recorded an increase in social media interactions of around 1000 per cent since the conviction.

Police say there could be more than 190 people who were targeted by Reynhard Sinaga, with many more yet to come forward or to be identified.

Greater Manchester Police has specialist officers and survivor support staff on standby to help anyone who may have been approached by the mature student.

  • If you wish to speak to police and make a report relating to Reynhard Sinaga, then please contact 0800 092 0410 (calls made from within the UK) / 0044 207158 0124 (international calls).