Charity gets welcome lottery boost

THE BIG Lottery Fund (BIG) has awarded a Newhaven charity more than £100k to enable it to continue its work through the tough economic environment.

Mankind, the only specialist support service in the South East for men who have been sexually abused, sexually assaulted or raped, has received a grant of £100,609.

According to figures from the organisation, which has experienced a 248 per cent rise in the number of men seeking support over the past four years, three men out of 20 are affected by sexual violence at some point in their lives.

Mankind now has a team of 12 counsellors trained in the complex aspects of sexual violence trauma, as well as two independent sexual violence advisors (ISVAs), who can offer practical support around the criminal justice system.

Martyn Sullivan, chief executive of Mankind said: “BIG has thrown us a real lifeline, the funding will help us to research a range of funding streams and the BIG money will enable our services to continue while these new streams are being implemented.”

Many men who experience childhood sexual abuse and/or adult sexual assault harbour intense feelings of guilt and shame, partly owing to stereotypes about men having to be strong, able and in control.

Mr Sullivan said: “Traditionally, sexual assault is associated with women so it can be very confusing for a man to identify and acknowledge what has happened to him.

“In an effort to suppress these difficult feelings a man may withdraw and become isolated from family and friends, use drugs and alcohol to numb the pain or in more extreme cases engage in overtly aggressive behaviour and/or sexual promiscuity to prove his masculinity.

“At Mankind we understand these reactions and work with clients to help them understand their feelings and behaviours. We are the only male specialist support service in the South East and the new funding will ensure that we are able to offer this vital service long into the future.”