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Male rape victims urged to speak out

MatrixMen says male rape victims should not be afraid to come forward.

An organisation for male rape survivors says victims should not be afraid to come forward. Picture: Stock.XCHNG

CAPE TOWN - An organisation that assists male abuse survivors says more men need to come forward to break the silence.

In recent weeks there has been a major focus on violence against women and children in the wake of several high-profile incidents, including the rape and murder of Bredasdorp teenager Anene Booysen.

The founder of MatrixMen Martin Pelders says many men have similar experiences.

A study by the South African Medical Research Council revealed that one in every five men fall victim to sexual abuse.

Pelders says he feels there is not enough awareness about the issue.

"It's very prevalent and the issue is that nobody talks about it."

He says just because it is uncommon to hear of such offences does not mean they do not occur.

"Men are very shy when it comes to talking about this because there's so much pressure. There's this whole thing that boys can't be raped, that it doesn't happen so don't talk about it."

MatrixMen's goal is to reach more men who have fallen victim to sexual abuse.

"We need to raise awareness and tell these men they are not alone. The fact that they were abused is not their fault; they are not freaks, they are not perverts, they will not turn out to be a paedophile, they are just hurt and there is help available."

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