In a storyline that kicks off this month, the soap is set to tackle the difficult subject of same-sex rape.
It will see long-running character David Platt drugged and sexually assaulted by his new friend, mechanic Josh Tucker who is played by Ryan Clayton.
The story line is set to be aired next Friday, March 16 and shows the pair enjoying a night out. They had become good friends having trained together for a charity boxing match.
In the following episode which is due to air on March 19, David wakes up in Josh’s bed the next morning and although Josh is not around, David realises he has been drugged and begins to recall what happened to him.
He makes his way home and has to make the decision of having to face up to reporting the crime or to keep it a secret.
In the coming weeks, David struggles with what has happened and internalises the attack, keeping it a secret from his family and friends who become increasingly worried about him.
Jack P Shepherd, the actor who plays David said:
“David thinks he has made a new friend in Josh. He hasn’t really ever had a male friend and no male role models because his dad is not around and Nick has moved away.
“He’s been trying to impress Josh with his training for the fight and he is enjoying his company. He has no reason to think Josh is anything other than a mate.
“When I was told about the storyline, [Corrie boss] 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 of 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.”
Coronation Street producer Kate 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.
“Survivors Manchester have been so generous with their time and knowledge, working with Jack, Ryan and the team, and I’m in awe of the work they do.
“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.
“Coronation Street is working closely with local charity Survivors Manchester to ensure the storyline is portrayed accurately and handled sensitively.”
Duncan Craig of Survivors Manchester, who is himself a survivor of sexual abuse, said: “From the first meeting, Kate Oates and the team at Coronation Street have been 100% committed to not only ensuring the story is told sensitively and authentically, but that it does something to help male survivors at home.
“As a survivor, I have felt the Coronation Street team have done everything they can to really listen to me and to our Ambassador Sam Thompson, whose own story of being raped has been drawn from for this story.
“Sitting down with Jack and talking through some of my own experiences as a survivor was a brilliant experience. Jack asked me so many questions and we talked about the idea of what it is to be male, why so many men stay silent after being sexually assaulted, and what it’s like living in silence.
“He was incredibly respectful and his hunger to understand will ensure that the man sat at home watching David will feel less isolated and that’s the start of breaking the silence.”
If you were affected by any of the issues highlighted in this article you can reach out to the following:
T: 01-872 1055 | W: www.gayswitchbaord.ie
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre
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