Suffolk man who was drugged and raped as teenager urges other survivors to come forward

Alex was attacked when he was just 18 years old. Credit: ITV News

A man who was raped as a teenager has urged others to speak up, as new figures suggest that the number of men experiencing sexual abuse could be hugely under-reported.

Alex Bryce still lives with the trauma he suffered as an 18-year-old student. He said he thinks he was drugged during a night out and then raped.

He never reported the attack.

"When it happened, to be honest, I'd been socialised to believe that rape was something that only happened to women," he said.

"So it was quite a long time before I knew something bad had happened and I knew intellectually, that it was a rape, but I didn't put the two together.

"So for quite some time I was trying to come to terms with and find the right words for what happened to me. And reporting to the police never even really occurred to me, to be honest."

Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner TIm Passmore is urging men and boys to report abuse

Research which was carried out by a charity that specialises in supporting male victims, and revealed exclusively to ITV News, suggests the scale of abuse may be even bigger than previously thought.

Mankind says half of more than 1,000 men questioned in a survey said they had unwanted sexual experiences.

One in 10 said they had been raped. Much of the problem is hidden with only an estimated 1 in 20 males reporting abuse to the police, said the charity.

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said it was an issue he was focused on and encouraged anyone to get help from the sources available.

He said: "It is very much under-reported. I think sometimes men and older boys have a difficulty in reporting it but we are very clear that they must report it.

"We do take it seriously and will continue to do so."

The Safeline charity says calls from men and boys have soared Credit: ITV News

The Safeline sexual abuse charity said calls from men and boys to its helpline rose by 110% last year. The charity maintains anonymity for both callers and call handlers as it says this produces the best results. 

A spokesman said: "We give people reassurance that they're not alone in their experiences, and reassurance that there's nothing wrong with them. Very often survivors carry such a sense of shame and blame and guilt for what's happened to them.

"Men are often forgotten about. The government launched a strategy last year to call violence against women and girls, which was absolutely needed.

"But the title of that piece of legislation in itself marginalises certain groups, and we need to stop talking about something it harms to one particular gender that harms a lot of people. So the more we start being more inclusive about that, the better."

A Home Office spokesperson told ITV News: "We recognise that men and boys also experience abusive and violent crimes that fall within the umbrella of violence against women and girls.

"That is why in 2019 we published the first ever cross-Government Male Victims' Position Statement and the Home Office continue to fund the Men's Advice Line, run by Respect, to provide support to male victims of domestic abuse." 

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