Coronation Street star hopes male rape storyline becomes talking point
The actor at the centre of a male rape storyline in Coronation Street hopes it will become a talking point and will help viewers who have had similar experiences.
An upcoming plot will see David Platt (Jack P Shepherd) drugged and raped by his new friend mechanic Josh Tucker.
The ITV show’s producer Kate Oates said the soap wanted to highlight the “culture of silence” around male sexual assault.
In the scenes to be aired on Friday March 16, the pair enjoy a night out drinking after becoming friends in recent weeks.
David wakes up the next morning in Josh’s bed and although Josh is not around David realises that he had been drugged and starts to remember what has happened to him.
Ashamed and disgusted, he makes his way home but then has to make the decision whether or not he can face reporting the crime.
In the coming weeks David will struggle with what has happened and internalise the attack, keeping it a secret from his friends and family who grow increasingly worried about his behaviour.
Shepherd said: “When I was told about the storyline Kate Oates and I met with Duncan from Survivors Manchester and that was when I realised the gravity and significance of the storyline.
“David’s reaction and decision to remain quiet because he feels ashamed about what has happened is not uncommon.
“Hopefully people will start talking about the storyline and it could help someone who has gone through something similar to realise the need to open up and speak to somebody.”
Oates said: “We decided to cover the topic of male rape to help try and highlight the culture of silence that surrounds male sexual assault, and issues surrounding male mental health in general.”
She added: “Over the next few weeks of Corrie, our message is to talk: it’s hard to speak out, but if you’re suffering in silence, there are people out there willing to listen and support you.”
Duncan Craig, founder and chief executive of Survivors Manchester, said: “The day the story broke that Coronation Street were tackling male rape as a subject, there was a flurry of activity on social media and Survivors Manchester was being talked about.
“Within 24 hours, we’d had a number of inquiries directly linked to the story. A number of men, and a few girlfriends of men, were contacting us asking about how they access our service, that just fills me with so much hope for this whole story.”
Ryan Clayton, who plays Josh, said: “Male rape is unrepresented in the media.
“There was a recent BBC documentary about it and in the first few minutes one victim said the public just don’t see it or hear about it and I thought it seemed an important story that needs telling.”