At the end of April 2018, I’m following in my partner Clare’s footsteps, all 84,389 of them, by running the London Marathon for SurvivorsUK and hopefully reaching 2 important goals. As a runner, I’d love to get a personal best of 3hrs 30mins and as a supporter, I’d like to raise enough money to keep SurvivorsUK’s group therapy going.
I’m running for SurvivorsUK because I’ve supported friends who are survivors, both male and female, and seeing the lack of help available for men shocked me. The gap in both services and public understanding is huge and I’m not trying to be contentious in saying that SurvivorsUK is harshly underfunded for its vital work. Between 13 and 14% of sexual abuse trials are for male survivors, yet the only national charity for these survivors will receive only 2.7% of the government funding for 2018/19, with the rest going to services for women. All these services do essential work, but I want to help where the help is most needed.
It doesn’t come up much in everyday conversation, I tend to blather about my cat, board games or roller derby more, but I try to counter myths and misinformation about male sexual abuse when it comes up. Supporting friends in coming through their experiences has had a profound effect on me and made me passionate about helping people access the services they desperately need as soon as possible – no-one should have to face this alone.
So in the bleak midwinter I’ll be picking up my training, swapping mulled wine for mild whines and braving the cold to prepare for the marathon. You don’t have to head outside though – all I’d ask of you is to sponsor me if you can see the value of SurvivorsUK’s work, and maybe spread the word if you know anyone else who’d like to support them.