It’s been a tough watch so far but already, the male rape storyline involving Coronation Street’s David Platt has seen calls to charities rise by hundreds of per cent – and this figure continues to grow as David’s ordeal inspires real life victims to speak out about their ordeal.
İt is believed that 1 in 10 rapes in the UK have a male victim but a huge majority don’t talk to anyone or report what has happened to them. Producer Kate Oates has been clear about her desire to raise the issue on an huge platform like Coronation Street and the effects are already being felt. While some reckon that it isn’t suitable for Corrie, most believe that there is no better outlet than a serial drama viewed by between 8 and 9 million people to raise awareness and encourage victims and survivors to seek support. Along the way, Coronation Street have been aided by Survivors Manchester and real life victim, 23-year-old DJ Sam Thompson, was the one who inspired the details of David’s story. He has been clear that he wants the story to be portrayed realistically, without shying away from the horrific nature of the crime. Speaking on Lorraine today, he discussed how he wanted to turn his ordeal into something positive for all of those who have faced what he has been through.
Speaking about his ordeal, he told Mail Online: ‘I didn’t know if it was a dream or a nightmare. I only remember snippets of it, and my memory of the whole ordeal is hazy. It was the way I was in pain – that was the biggest indication. ‘When it was over I got up and left and started walking home to my flat where my girlfriend and friend were waiting for me. When I got back to the flat I just burst out crying.’ Sam explained how two men took it in turns to rape him in an ordeal that lasted hours and he then wandered out into an unfamiliar city. He shared: ‘It was weird – difficult to describe. I was in shock and I don’t think it had really hit me. It sounds strange but I went into Morrisons and bought a drink.’ ‘It was only when I got near home that it all hit me and the panic and frustration kicked in. I had feelings of not wanting to live with this.’
It was after he got home when the terrible nature of what had happened hit him in full. He burst into tears and told his girlfriend and friend that he had been raped before he was then persuaded to go to the police station. He continued: ‘I just burst into tears. They didn’t know how to react. Brady put his arm around me and my girlfriend just broke down in tears. I hadn’t expected this to happen. I just wanted to have a shower but they told me to go to the police. ‘My girlfriend went to call my mum and I asked her to tell her because I couldn’t bear to tell my mum what had happened. She put my mum on loudspeaker and she was the voice of reason. She said “you need to report it, now”.’ He admits to finding the questioning and the forensic examination ‘harrowing’ but understands why it all had to be done – and he now encourages anyone else who has been sexually assaulted to report the crime.
He said: ‘I don’t like to say to other people in my situation “you must report it to the police”. In an ideal situation we would all go and report straight away. If you have got it in you, go and do it and they will get the evidence they need should it go to court. But I know speaking to the police can be an extra ordeal.’ It took Sam a long time to come to terms with his ordeal and he ended up retreating into his shell and found that it took a long time to build up the courage to return to being a DJ. He had a support network around him and started talking through Survivors – something which he says helped him. He still works with Survivors to this day and has nothing but praise for Coronation Street for tackling the often taboo subject. He added: ‘Coronation Street has a massive voice and people have a connection to David Platt. The storyline breaks down myths about male rape and explores what happens afterwards. Rape is nothing to do with consent. Because of the act of rape there’s a lot of confusion and people don’t understand what it is and that it can happen to anyone.’ In the wake of David’s attack, the soap will put a heavy focus on how he battles with his mental health as he bottles up his ordeal. Over the next weeks and months, David will start to fall apart but Coronation Street will be striving to tell an honest portrayal that will encourage others to make the brave step of speaking to someone.