I’m an avid watcher of “Coronation Street” and have been since about four years old, I guess.
As the years have gone by and society has progressed, that soap has moved with the times.
Roy Cropper married a transexual, Hayley; there’s been numerous stories of alcoholics (Peter Barlow), drug addiction (vicar Billy), gay couples and serial killers (any of Gail Platt’s husbands it seems) but now, on Friday, they tackled something very taboo, massively taboo in male terms.
I remember watching Sheila Grant in “Brookside” years ago and her reaction to being raped and that acting by Sue Johnston is still etched on my memory, but “Corrie”, three nights ago, tackled something that few soap operas have ever done (Hollyoaks excepted) – the subject of male rape.
David Platt, played by Jack Shepherd, has been having a bromance with fitness fanatic and mechanic Josh, much to the derision of David’s girlfriend, Shona, but Friday, after having his drinks spiked with date rape drugs on a night out with Josh, David went back with Josh and, from what we could infer, was raped.
It’s a brave move for any drama, particularly one that is prime time television, often pre-watershed, but I applaud it wholeheartedly and here’s why.
David Platt realises that he’s been raped by Josh, but is torn about what to do or say and initially, apparently, goes for the male default option of saying nothing.
This is a true reflection of men’s attitudes to mental health and sexual assault.
Did you know for instance that a man who has been sexually assaulted or raped by another takes 25 years on average to report it?
Imagine what must go on in the victim’s mind for that length of time and it explains why men and women perhaps are only now coming forward to report the heinous crimes of their past.
I’ve never been sexually assaulted or raped, thank God, but many men have.
I read that there’s 70,000 men in Britain alone who are victims of sexual assault and rape a year.
David Platt is not an isolated fictional case.
This is Britain in 2018 in all its reality.
I’ll continue to watch “Coronation Street” as I have done for 48 years and will watch with interest what David Platt does next.
Will he remain silent for months and years? Or will he speak out? And, more pertinently, will he be believed?
I’ll keep you updated on this topic, one that really needs to be talked about.