Male rape and restorative justice – why I reported the crime when so many men don’t and chose to meet with the man who raped me.
In the UK, 12,000 men aged 16-59 are raped every year – figures have risen by a third in the last decade and are, in reality, likely to be higher as many feel unable to report this crime to the police. Chris Storey was raped by a stranger when he was a teenager and despite the significant fear and trauma he endured, he has always wanted to meet his attacker face-to-face.
He’s now waived his right to anonymity to encourage other men to report sexual assaults and to share how restorative justice has helped him to move on with his life.
Chris, who is now 33, was 17 years old when he was raped by a man following a night out with friends.
The offender – in his mid-20s – was a complete stranger who happened to be in the same city-centre taxi queue and who lured him to an alleyway, where he subjected him to a prolonged sexual assault.
“I’d got separated from my friends at the end the night and joined a taxi queue in the centre of town,” said Chris. “It was really busy and, after engaging in conversation with this man, he said there was another rank round the corner that had a shorter queue – I knew which one he meant so I thought ‘great, I’ll get home quicker’,” he said.
We both started walking in that direction, I remember we were just chatting and the next thing I knew I was pushed to the floor. I heard him say ‘Don’t move or I’ll slit your throat’. At that point, I thought I was going to get mugged or beaten up to be honest
Chris sat in a doorway for over an hour, too scared to walk through town in case he saw the offender again.
To add to his trauma, he eventually made his way back to the taxi rank where he told some people what had just happened and asked for help, only to be mocked by them. “It was really difficult,” he said. “I remember thinking if that’s the way complete strangers react, what will my friends and family think?
“The attack itself was sickening and the shame I felt is hard to describe. It was just instantaneous shame. He knew he’d done wrong and of course I absolutely knew he had too, but I felt like all my dignity was gone in that moment; I felt like a loser, like I wasn’t a man and that the version of me who I had just been, was now over.”
It was a taxi driver who helped Chris, driving him to the police station where he reported the assault. The offender denied two charges of rape and a third charge of causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent.