Doncaster Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Service (DRASACS) have launched a free drop-in service specifically designed to support male victims of rape and sexual abuse.
Funded by the Big Lottery, the new, fortnightly service is the idea of DRASACS’s counsellor, Caren Horsfield, who has identified a distinct gap in this particular area of men’s health in Doncaster.
Explains Caren: “1 in 6 men in the UK have experienced rape or sexual abuse in their lives. These men have to overcome the numerous barriers that prevent them from coming forward and those barriers are often very different to those faced by women.
“Many feel that if they’ve been abused as a child, they’ll automatically be viewed as a perpetrator. Many men have relationship issues and are frightened of getting close to their children or even having children with their partner. This impacts hugely on their everyday lives as, over time, they become isolated and unable to cope.”
Continues Caren: “During my 14 years at DRASACS I’ve worked with many men to offer counselling and support and delivered a counselling service for male survivors within a custodial setting where these same issues arise time and time again.
“Through my work, I understand that men often don’t want therapeutic sessions, they want peer support and general socialisation with other men who feel the same as they do. The drop in provides an ideal way to do just that.
“Group therapy is not what we will offer in these informal drop-in sessions. It’s not necessarily about disclosure; it’s about offering a supportive, confidential environment in which members can negotiate their needs from the drop in with each other in a respectful and self-responsible way. Members can attend as often as they wish and there is no charge. If at any point they feel they require any counselling on a one-to-one basis or group therapy we can provide that”.
Adds Kevin Hill, manager at DRASACS: “We are working to bust the myths that only women and girls can be victims of sexual violence, and that coping alone is not the only option. I would encourage anyone who has been impacted by sexual violence to seek support either in groups or through individual counselling that is available at DRASACS.”
Concludes Caren: “I want to appeal to any men who have experienced rape or sexual abuse, or anyone who knows any man who identifies with any of these issues, to get in touch because we really can help to break the silence and change lives.”
All calls and emails are treated as private and confidential.