Survivors Manchester, a charity that supports male survivors of sexual abuse and rape, has welcomed two new celebrityambassadors to help break the silence on sexual abuse towards men and boys.
Hollyoaks star, James Sutton and Comedian, Richard Gadd, have joined forces with the Manchester charity to raise awareness on the importance of speaking and opening up about abuse and, in turn, to help support survivors of sexual abuse, rape and sexual exploitation.
Actor, James Sutton, is best known for playing schoolteacher, John-Paul McQueen, in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks. His character, suffered months of homophobic attacks and was raped by one of his 16-year-old pupils in a controversial and gripping 18-month storyline in 2013.
Following his extensive research of the issue, James wanted to get involved with the work of Survivors Manchester, as he sought to better understand the issues faced by men and boys following sexual abuse. James says: “Having seen first hand the incredible work that the Survivors Manchester team do, it felt like the natural step to get involved on a more practical basis. I have a voice and a profile, and the more awareness I can help raise for Survivors Manchester, the more chance they have of helping as many men as possible.”
Richard leapt at the opportunity to work with Survivors Manchester, following his own experience of sexual assault, on which he based his award-winning comedy show, ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’.
Richard says: “Around about the time I was assaulted I felt extremely alone and vulnerable. I didn’t take advantage of the services that were on offer to me and as a result, I do believe it delayed my headling. Charities like Survivors Manchester are there to help people open up in a safe environment and if I can help spread the message that men are not alone in their plight of sexual abuse – and that there are safe places you can go to open up and talk – then that is essential work I cannot say no to.”
As ambassadors, Richard and James will use their high profiles to promote a positive healing process for survivors of sexual abuse, while ensuring no man or boy goes without the support they need.
CEO and founder of Survivors Manchester, Duncan Craig, says: ‘We’re very proud to have both Richard and James on board as part of our dedicated team of ambassadors. Their support and passion in spreading the message of Survivors has an enormously positive effect on what we’re trying to achieve.
“Figures suggest that over 3 million* men and boys are victims of sexual abuse and violence in the UK right now, although due to unreported assaults this figure is likely to be much higher. With the support of our ambassadors we want to make a difference to these figures, by helping survivors find their voices once again.”
Survivors Manchester is a voluntary organisation led and run by survivors of sexual abuse. Duncan Craig, a survivor himself, started the charity when he was looking for support in Manchester, and realised there were no services available for male survivors of historical abuse. Now, with the support of his team and his new ambassadors, Duncan aims be able to offer a first class service to adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape, regardless of when the event happened.