Male Survivors Partnership is a network of front line service providers for males who have suffered sexual violence. We also have a ‘friends of MSP’ network for individuals who want to join us and be a part of our mission to end sexual violence against boys and men.
Recently, Edwin Rothwell, joined as a Friend of MSP and we thought it was important that we shared his story so that it might help others in a similar situation.
In 2007, at age 18, Edwin was on a night out when he was sexually assaulted by an older man, in an attack that would go on to have a long-term and life-affecting impact. Edwin blamed himself, and it took years to accept what had happened. The assault caused depression, social anxiety, intimacy fears, and PTSD, which he still lives with.
It was only when Edwin saw the 2012 Hollyoaks storyline being discussed on ITV’s This Morning, that he realised what had happened was a crime. From there, he bookmarked the Survivors Manchester (now We Are Survivors) website and would read it from time to time, promising himself to one day get support, when he was ready.
In 2016, he tried to access support locally in the North Yorkshire area, but there was nothing available, there were only domestic abuse services at that time, which didn’t fit with Edwin’s experience. He knew the closest specialist support he could find would be in Manchester, and he got help from Survivors Manchester…
Nine years after the assault, he reported it to police. An investigation took place, however Edwin felt that it was not complete, and the police had failed in a number of areas. He complained, and the complaint was partially upheld. The complaints process is still ongoing.
Through Male Survivors Partnership, Edwin heard about the 2022 storyline in EastEnders, which saw Ben Mitchell raped by Lewis Butler. The more Edwin learnt about the story, and the specific spotlight on male survivors within the LGBT+ community, he recognised that it was similar in some ways to what had happened to him. Edwin was grateful to the producers of EastEnders for bringing attention to this, and he felt it was was the right time to share his experience. You can read more of Edwin’s article, written by Patrick Kelleher here
If you’re a male who has been affected by sexual violence, there are organisations who can help – today. Reach out to Safeline or Survivors UK on this page on the MSP website.