The United Kingdom has a sordid history of failing to acknowledge and address sexual violence against men and boys. Many cases of sexual violence against males are not prosecuted under the rape statutes, including offenses against boys. Women cannot face rape charges under UK law. The National Rape Crisis Network excludes organizations at assist male victims. All those things works against efforts to help abused men and boys.
However, the UK government recently decided to grant money to the Male Rape Support Fund:
Male victims of rape are to be supported with a new £600,000 government fund.
Twelve charities to be given money from the new Male Rape Support Fund were announced earlier by Victims Minister Mike Penning.
He said nationally about 75,000 men were victims of sexual assault in 2012-13, but few went to the police for help because the crime was “taboo”.
The fund will support the chosen charities over two years.
Its aim, announced by the Ministry of Justice in February, is to provide online information and face-to-face support at centres across England and Wales.
The article notes that there are only five support centers for men compared to 145 for women. Another article mentions that the Female Rape Support fund received £4 million each year since 2010 to create 15 new centers for women. It is good that the UK government finally acknowledged that men are victims and that they grossly under-report their abuse, yet it is sad to see men receive a fourth of the funding women receive
The majority of the funds will go to Survivors UK. That is the same group responsible for the 2013 “Real Men Get Raped” campaign. The organization previously provided limited in-person, telephone, and online support. It still provides limited online support, although it has expanded its in-person support. The group will receive an additional £400,000 to create “information, an online community forum, web-chat and blogs from survivors.”
That move did not come without complaints:
Another recipient, Safeline in Warwickshire, welcomed the fund but said it was a shame less was being given to face-to-face counselling services.
The charity successfully bid for £60,743 to set up a weekly support group for men.
Safeline chief executive, Neil Henderson, said: “This money will make a huge difference. Male rape is an area that’s been hidden and not funded at all previously so this is very welcome.
“Many victims don’t realise that specialist charities exist and they tend not to come forward, but then they’re severely damaged.”
Safeline also plans to establish a project for boys between 13 and 17, a mentoring service and to increase training for volunteer counsellors.
It is curious that the £600,000 meant for face-to-face counseling will be split between 12 groups, including Survivors UK, while the £400,000 will go to one solely for the purpose of creating the UK version of MaleSurvivor. I am fairly certain MS’s site runs on significantly less than £400,000 a year. The money would be better spent providing in-person services.
That said, at least the UK government is finally doing something about the issue of sexual violence against men and boys instead of its usual tactic of ignoring the problem.