Manchester-based soap Coronation Street covered the important issue of male rape during an episode aired on Friday night (March 16).
In the shocking storyline, one of the soap’s main characters, David Platt, was drugged and raped by a new friend, Josh Tucker.
The storyline reflects real-life events experienced by a young DJ, who not only spoke out about his ordeal, but helped scriptwriters cover the issue.
Josh and David's night is about to take a dark turn…
— Coronation Street (@itvcorrie) March 16, 2018
Sam Thompson, a DJ, advised the show’s writers on the script after he was raped by two men following a night out in Manchester two years ago.
The 23-year-old was attacked in a hotel room in the city centre in an ordeal which lasted for hours.
Sam had just moved to Manchester with his girlfriend at the time, when he got separated from his friend with no phone and therefore no way of contacting him.
He bravely spoke out about his ordeal in a bid to raise awareness.
Sam spoke directly to UNILAD about the night of his attack:
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I met a group of people and they asked me to go for a nightcap with them. I didn’t think anything of it, I have met lots of people in that way before.
So I decided to go with them back to what I later found out was a hotel room.
I had a few drinks and everyone else bar two people had left. Those two then decided to take it upon themselves to rape me.
His memory of the night is very hazy and Sam believes he may have been spiked by the two men as he was ‘more with it until [he] had that final drink with them’.
Sam spoke about how he felt during the ordeal:
While it was going on I tried to block out that it was happening. I just laid there and flopped.
Essentially that is one of the responses that your body can have, you can either fight or flop. I flopped. It is a natural reaction.
I remember bits and bobs. The next morning was like when you wake up from a dream and you can remember certain details but not the whole picture. That is how I felt.
When Sam woke up he had no idea where he was and he only found out from the police later on it was a hotel room.
I was in this room and I just left. The first thing I remember was the arches on Dale Street car park.
I then walked back to my flat and as I walked back I was still in shock.
When I came to the bridge near my flat it all hit me and I started to think ‘I don’t want to live with this, I don’t know what to do’.
If it wasn’t for the thought of the devastation for my family and friends, I would have jumped off that bridge.
i love that @itvcorrie are using david platt for this storyline instead of a girl, this is a widespread problem that doesn't only affect women. can't believe there are such vile humans talking about it like it's a laugh, you're a part of the problem #CoronationStreet
— Lo ✨ (@plainbabyjane) March 16, 2018
When Sam arrived back at his flat he saw his best friend, as well as his girlfriend at the time and immediately burst into tears.
They told him to report it to the police straight away even though all Sam wanted to do was ‘have a shower and get the smell of these people off’ him.
Sam told UNILAD the police response was not the best:
I felt I wasn’t believed and their questions seemed irrelevant. They were asking me about my sexuality and whether I’d ever cheated on my girlfriend.
I’d gone to report something that was about consent.
When I went to St Mary’s, which is where they take forensic evidence, the way they dealt with me was brilliant and if I hadn’t had the officer I had, I don’t think I’d have given all the evidence I gave.
I think the police reacted in that way because they don’t deal with males as often as they deal with females.
Maybe they haven’t got the same level of compassion as I think they should and this should change.
The police quickly made arrests but decided to take no further action and Sam explained to UNILAD what this meant:
Unfortunately, as in a lot of rape cases, it comes down to the issue of consent.
It happened behind closed doors, I voluntarily entered into that room and left that room and there isn’t a way they can prove it.
I know it happened and they know it happened but unfortunately, unless other evidence comes to life, that’s all that can be done about it.
It’s irritating knowing they’re still walking the streets and it’s upsetting knowing they can do this to another person.
For Sam the first weekend after the ordeal was particularly awful and stated:
The only thought going through my head was I don’t want to deal with this, I want to die.
It resulted in me being horrible to my family, chucking tables and chairs, losing control of myself, screaming that I want to die.
That first month I didn’t leave the house. I couldn’t even leave for a cigarette as the anxiety would take over and I would start panicking.
However, when Sam was offered a DJ booking, a passion of his since he was a teenager, he took it, as it was a venue he was familiar with in his hometown and his brother offered to go with him. This was the first time Sam had properly left the house since the ordeal.
Sam believes although there’s more support for male survivors now, a change in attitude is still needed, saying:
With regards to male rape we have to accept that we are all human, we are all the same.
It’s okay for a man to talk about what happened. It was just a situation we were put in and it is no different than if we were female.
With women it’s drilled into them you need to keep yourself safe but this applies to all of us.
The most recent UK government statistics estimate about 78,000 people in the UK are victims or rape or attempted rape and about 9,000 of these are men.
Research suggests the notoriously low report rate is particularly true among men.
If you are a victim of rape – or know someone who is – you can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 11