A survivor of childhood male rape has called on others to speak out against their abusers in order to free themselves from “living a lie”.
The man, who is in his 20s and lives near Dundee, spoke to the Tele about abuse he suffered at the hands of a relative when he was 11 years old.
He says telling people about his traumatic experience “lifted a huge weight” he had carried for more than a decade.
He hopes by sharing his story he can help to break down the barriers associated with sexual abuse, especially among men.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the man said his relative had groped him before moving on to more extreme abuse.
He said: “I was 11 years old when it first happened – it was at a relative’s house. He groped my buttock. He was making out that it was a joke and that it was fine.
“Before then he had been a really fun person – I had looked up to him.”
A month later, he was forced upon and raped.
“Straight afterwards, he said to me, ‘Don’t tell anyone’. He bribed me with things – games and that.
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“Two months later we were on a holiday and he forced me to carry out a sex act on him, telling me it was fine.
“The way he said it was so convincing at the time. He would say things like ‘it was our wee secret’, but it soon turned threatening, that I ‘better not tell anyone’.
“It was only as I grew up, watched films, spoke to friends about girls and that, that I realised it was wrong.”
For more than a decade, he self-medicated using alcohol and prescription drugs bought online – convinced he would not be believed if he spoke out.
However, earlier this year, he took the step of telling a close friend and then his wife – before filing a report with the police. But officers were never able to bring a case against his relative due to lack of evidence.
He said: “I don’t blame the police for the fact they couldn’t charge him – but if anything it shows why it is important to speak out, because it could help you to get justice if you do it sooner.
“I can’t praise Victim Support enough either.”
Last month, the Tele revealed that nearly three times as many men have reported being raped since April than in the year to March 2019.
Campaigners say men have struggled to have their claims taken seriously in the past.
The man added: “People don’t think this sort of thing happens to men. As a man, you worry about what ‘the lads’ will think, but everyone has been so supportive.”
He hopes other abuse survivors will feel encouraged to speak out by reading his story.
“What I felt for all those years was almost like a terminal mental illness – you can’t think straight at all.
“I was using medication and convincing myself I was taking control but I wasn’t.
“It is so important that you don’t suffer in silence because it will make things worse.
“Now I’m putting what happened behind me. I feel like a survivor, rather than a victim.
“The more you speak about it, the easier it gets – you will be believed.
“I’m not going to lie and say it hasn’t been hard or scary – but it has been a huge weight off my shoulders. I’ve won. I’ve come forward. I’ve spoken about it – I’m the bigger man.”