Trigger warning: suicide, sexual assault, rape.
Commemorated Friday 19th November, 2021 International Men’s Day allows us to value the important and positive male role models we have in our lives. Similarly, the day also raises awareness of men’s issues. These topics include: breaking the stigma around male mental health, the prevalence of male suicide, the issue of toxic masculinity and male sexual assault.
One of the main reasons why International Men’s Day is so important is to focus on tackling the issues and stigma surrounding male sexual assault.
On average, it takes men twenty six years to speak out about sexual abuse or rape they have experienced. This statistic is staggering and saddening with the fact that it reinforces the stigma surrounding this issue as well as male sexual assault being widely unreported in society. ManKind UK, an initiative which helps male victims of domestic and sexual abuse, is pleading for more attention to be paid to male sexual assault survivors. They’re calling for more attention after a UK study has found that approximately half of men have experienced unwanted sexual advances and abuse.
Unreported male experienced sexual abuse also comes under the topic of mental health. This is why International Men’s Day is so important to pay attention to as so many of these issues are linked to one another and intertwine. There is no denying that there is still a stigma surrounding male mental health. Even in 2021, men are still regarded as “weak” or they are told to “man-up” even in the most vulnerable and painful of situations. Suicide is seen as the biggest issue amongst men as in England in 2020, males ages between forty-five and forty-nine have continued to have the highest suicide rate; this being 23.8 per one-hundred thousand. This statistic is distressing. It shows we need to do something more than ever before.
LSU CASH (Consent and Sexual Health) are here to listen and stand with anybody who wants to speak up about their experiences. Even if it just somebody you need to talk to, we are here to listen to all male survivors. The same goes for HeadsUp. HeadsUp is an amazing committee at the University tackling the topic of mental health and are further wanting to break the stigma surrounding male mental health.
I do believe that International Men’s Day is a day not many people are aware of but, we should be. It speaks about so many issues we, as a society, need to tackle and break the stigma of.
Important and Useful Resources
Survivors UK – https://www.survivorsuk.org
ManKind UK – https://www.mankind.org.uk
Loughborough HeadsUp – @lboroheadsup on Instagram
Loughborough Nightline – 01509227650
LSU CASH – @lsucash on Instagram