‘Real Men Get Raped’ Highlights London Ad Campaign


In an attempt to raise awareness of sexual violence against men, Survivors UK is putting a simple message before users of London’s Tube: “Real Men Get Raped And Talking About it Takes Real Strength.”

The ads appear in 140 escalator panels in Tube stations across London and are also slated to appear on two billboards in the city and big screens at Waterloo station.

The central image used in the ad, shown above, depicts a punctured rugby ball. Coinciding with the Six Nations rugby tournament, the inclusion of the rugby ball is meant to draw on the hyper-masculine image of the rugby game to communicate that being a victim of sexual violence does not make the victim weak or in any way less of a “real” man.

“We’ve chosen to use an alpha male sport in our advertising to challenge assumptions about the type of men who get raped” Michael May, spokesman for Survivors UK, is quoted as saying. “It’s just as likely to be a rugby player as a librarian, a suited city banker as a hooded gang member. And we hope that by challenging our innate assumptions about the identity of male victims, we can make it even fractionally easier for a male rape victim to ask for help.”

While some have criticized the use of the “real men” idea, Kim Etherington, a professor at the University of Bristol, has stressed the importance of tackling issues that might prevent men from opening up about sexual violence:”Males are taught from a very early age that they should be ‘strong’ and ‘in-charge’.To be successfully masculine is to be sexually potent, competitive with other males in sexual matters, and dominant with sexual interactions. Being raped challenges and negates all these preconceptions.”

According to Male Health, estimates suggest that, at most, only 11% of male victims will go on to report being sexually violated. Figures indicate that in 2009-2010, 945 sexual assaults against men were reported in London, though the true figure of assaults is likely to be much higher.

Indeed, a 2011 rape report issued by Baroness Stern acknowledges that the vast majority of male victims of sexual violence will not report those crimes because of a belief that their failure to fend off the attack makes them appear weak. They also fear being ridiculed or not believed.

The National Center For Victims Of Crime reports that around 3% of men in the U.S. have reported being raped.

To find out more about the campaign or to get support materials on issues dealt with in this post, visit Survivors UK.

Related Reading:

Male Rape as a Weapon of War (VIDEO)

Success! FBI Changes Its Definition of Rape

Fox Pundit Says Women In The Military Should ‘Expect’ To Be Raped

Image taken from ad campaign under fair use terms, no infringement intended.


Tom R.
Tom R.6 years ago

This is some BULLSHIT. anyone's violence can beat anyone elses, it's a matter of will. this campaign is doing nothing but making all of society feel like it's ok to be a victim, ok to be weak, and you can, but it is a choice, not forced, a victim is a lifestyle choice, pure and simple. anyone who is for this is a coward afraid to believe in themselves.(this goes for men, women, and children)

Sarah M.
Sarah M6 years ago

We need greater global awareness of all rape, period.

Roger M.
Past Member 6 years ago

I'm a Londoner and support the campaign, but I'd like to see a lot more by way of support for women who are raped. I'm racking my brains here and can't remember anything lately on the Underground about this.

KS Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W6 years ago

Thank you for sharing

Sandy Erickson
Sandy Erickson6 years ago


Holly Lawrence
Holly Lawrence6 years ago

What is a *real* man ????

J.L. A.
JL A6 years ago

if there were greater awareness of this, politicians might not be so willing to turn their backs on domestic and sexual violence because they realize they could also become victims...

Heather M.
Heather Marv6 years ago

Whether male or female - sexual predators need to understand that they will not get away with it. It takes courage to stand up to people like this and so others need to help the victims when they do make a stand. It is not acceptable to violate a man, woman or child and if they do there will be consequences and this needs to be put out there so hopefully it will deter. Oh for a better world where this doesn't happen, one can dream.

Silja Salonen
silja salonen6 years ago

rape is not about sex
regardless of gender