I Applaud '13 Reasons Why' For Shining A Light On Male Rape

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We Need to Talk More About Male Rape

It was a quiet Sunday morning in the police station office. I hated station officer duty; it was tedious, annoying and the last place I wanted to be with a hangover. Most of the time it involved getting people to sign what we called the Crazy Book and taking endless reports of petty crimes while you listened on the radio to your colleagues who seemed to be having a much more exciting time than you. The times between 6am and 9 am was the worst as not only did you have the drunks to deal with, but you were alone until your civilian counterpart came to rescue you. It was raining outside and the station office had a slight stench of vomit and stale lager from the night before.

The buzzer went and I less-than- enthusiastically pressed the release button to allow the unknown person to enter.  A bedraggled, timid young boy entered, pale and clammy, and stumbles over to the desk, mumblings something incoherent.  I immediately thought that he was on drugs and tried to listen as best I could. He looked about 12 and I was worried for him. I listened for a while and he made no sense; he kept talking about a friend. I asked if I should call home or get an ambulance but he got more and more agitated. Then he burst into tears and I sensed that there was more to the story so I took him to a side room and continued to talk as best I could with him.

A few hours later I, along with my sergeant, a detective and a few officers for back up found myself in the home of a middle-aged man who in his spare time drugs and rapes young boys. We save his friend, arrest two people and make sure both boys are receiving medical attention.

It was a moment that still haunts me

It was a moment that still clings to me today, despite the passing of some 24 years. It was haunting, harrowing and the first time many of us had dealt with this kind of case before. Male rape was not something that we came across a lot in the police but when we did, the circumstances always seemed somewhat more shocking. While we were used to dealing with female rape and prepared for it, male rape always seemed to catch us unawares. The ones I dealt with always seemed to involve, drugs, other objects, horrific internal injuries and a shame that while still as devastating was difficult from female rapes.  And we had little training for these sorts of circumstances, always not sure what to say, not sure if they wanted a male or female officer, not sure what we should ask or not ask. And I think to this day it is still something that as a society we do not talk about a lot, or even think about.

Thank You Netflix for Starting This Conversations

While everyone else seems to be fighting to ban the horrific male rape scene in Season Two of 13 Reasons Why, I applaud them for shining a light on something that we are so uncomfortable thinking about, let along talking about.

Despite Season One containing a female rape scene, the majority of people appeared to have the biggest problem with the end suicide scene, with a mere passing mention of the female rape, while Season Two has had people asking for an outright ban on the male rape scene. Yes, it is a horrific scene but surely it is a good thing that we are beginning to talk about something that for many victims is not spoken about enough.  We are so use to talking about female rape and seeing it (which when you think about it is a really odd thing) but I can think of three series off the top of my head that covered male rape. Now I’m not saying that rape scenes should be shown more on TV, of course not, but I think TV and media has an obligation to start conversations and show a more balanced view and I think that whether we like it or not 13 Reasons Why highlighted an issue that we as a society seem unable to talk about. 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales alone every year and, while it is lower than the female statistics, that is a lot of men that need help and support and need us to be talking about this situation more.

So while I wish we lived in a world where no kind of assault ever happened and I wish we weren’t as conditioned to seeing female rape on our screens, or that we didn’t need to see such violence to start a conversation, I for one applaud Netflix for shining a light on an often-overlooked and unspoken crime.

This article was first published on The Huffington Post under the title 'I Applaud '13 Reasons Why' For Shining A Light On Male Rape"