Coronation Street male rape storyline to highlight 'culture of silence'

Jack P Shepherd Image copyright Getty Images

Coronation Street actor Jack P Shepherd hopes playing a victim of male rape will help survivors to come forward.

Jack, who plays David Platt, is the centre of a plot in which his character will be drugged and raped by his new friend, mechanic Josh Tucker.

He said he hopes it could help victims "realise the need to open up and speak to somebody".

The soap's producer Kate Oates said the soap wanted to highlight the "culture of silence" around male sexual assault.

Image copyright ITV
Image caption David Platt (left) is raped by Josh Tucker after a night out drinking

In episodes which will be aired on 16 March, David and Josh enjoy a night out drinking having become friends in recent weeks.

David wakes up the next day in Josh's bed and realised he's been drugged and starts to remember what happened.

He makes his way home and has to make the decision whether or not he can face reporting the crime.

Viewers will see the character struggle with what has happened - including keeping it a secret from his friends and family.

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Corrie producer Kate Oates says the soap wants to highlight the 'culture of silence'

Jack met with Survivors Manchester, a charity which supports male survivors of sexual abuse and rape, after being told about his upcoming storyline.

"That was when I realised the gravity and significance of it.

"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."

Producer Kate said the soap is covering the topic of male rape to "help try and highlight the culture of silence that surrounds male sexual assault."

She said it will also tackle issues surrounding male mental health in general.

Duncan Craig, founder and chief executive of Survivors Manchester, said the charity had a number of inquiries linked to the storyline in the first 24 hours after Coronation Street bosses revealed they were going to cover it.

Ryan Clayton, who plays Josh, said the issue of male rape is "an important story that needs telling".

If you're struggling with any of the issues mentioned in this article, you can find help at BBC Advice.

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