Text on a tortoise background saying No More Week 6-12 March 2022

No More Week is an annual, international opportunity to come together to raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence, inspiring individuals, organisations, and communities to make change. This year our Dahlia Ghassan explores the issues men face in this area.

"While of course any person of any gender identity or sexuality deserves loving and respectful relationships and autonomy over one’s body, there is little focus on the prevalence of men affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence or recognition of the impact on safety and wellbeing, with a scarcity of specialist support services for male victim-survivors.

"In England and Wales every year more than 150,000 men report experiencing rape or sexual assault, and 4.7% of all males aged 16 to 74 are victim-survivors (Rape Crisis, 2022); while 45% of gay or bisexual men specifically have experienced sexual violence (Savage, 2019). Alongside this, one in six men will experience domestic abuse (Mankind, 2022) and a quarter of all domestic homicide victims are male (ONS, 2021). The impact for male victim-survivors can be detrimental, with men describing loss of self-belief, low mood, suicidality, increased drug and alcohol use and poorer physical health, challenges with intimacy and relationships, and difficulties with work, finances and housing.

"Lots of men are not coming forward and the numbers of victim-survivors are likely much higher than those noted above. Less than one in five men report sexual violence to police (Rape Crisis) and half of male victim survivors do not tell anyone they are experiencing domestic abuse (Mankind). Often men do not speak out because they feel embarrassment, shame, struggles with the concept of ‘masculine identity’, social stigma, concerns they won’t be believed, or falsely accused as the perpetrator and lose custody of children (Huntley 2019). Alongside this there are fewer support options for men tailored to their specific needs, including talking spaces, Independent Domestic and Sexual Violence Advocacy Services, counselling and peer support, and in 2018 England and Wales had only 20 refuge beds set aside specifically for men - none of which were in London (BBC, 2018). At the same time, men who do talk to someone non-judgemental about their domestic abuse and sexual violence experiences express ability to identify abuse and improved self-worth, confidence and overall health and wellbeing.

"METRO says No More. No More to men experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence, No More to the lack of recognition of abuse against men, and No More to the scarcity of services tailored towards the needs of all male victim-survivors."

Dahlia Ghassan, SASH Care Coordination Manager.

If you would like support in recognising domestic abuse or sexual violence. Or perhaps support in identifying what healthy relationships and consent look like for you, and would maybe like to improve your confidence around communicating your needs and expectations in relationships - you can access our SASH services. These services include counselling, health and wellbeing coaching and peer support. We have a whole range of other services too, including services in other parts of London and across the south east, visit our services directory to see what we offer near you.