A FATHER-of-two has told of the difference a new rape counselling service specifically for men could make for victims.

Upper Heyford-based Clean Slate launched its Adult Rape Outreach Service (AMOS) and Talking Young Men service (TYM) on Monday, with the help of £9,500 National Lottery funding.

AMOS will provide counselling, help and advice to men over 16 and TYM will offer the same service to boys between age nine and 16.

Forty-four-year-old Paul Huxford is a user of the charity’s services, having contacted their existing women’s services first.

He said he was raped by a man in a shelter in a park in High Wycombe when he was 14, after running away from home following a family row.

Mr Huxford said: “I was just sitting there and then the next thing I know he just attacked me and raped me in the shelter. He told me that if I told anyone he would find me and find my parents and cause a lot of trouble. I didn’t say a word to anyone until I was 42, I kept it inside for 28 years.”

He tried to commit suicide as a teenager and said he suffered from depression and alcohol abuse due to the attack.

He eventually told his wife Jacqui, 42, three years ago, after the birth of his daughter, Lucy.

About a year ago Mr Huxford contacted Clean Slate, which already helps female victims of abuse, and asked them if they would help him.

The finance officer at Milton Keynes Council said: “I just wanted to get away from the feelings of guilt and self loathing. I have been seeing them (Clean Slate) for about a year now and they are helping me a lot with my self-esteem.

“If I had had someone like that at 14 I would not have had to carry it around with me for 28 years.”

Clean Slate said male on male rape has been shrouded in secrecy due to the stigma associated with it, and it is also a myth that males cannot be raped by females.

Project manager Nadia Brown said that the new services at the group near Bicester would help reduce this stigma and make more men and boys seek help.

She said: “It makes it more likely for men to come forward if they know there is a service where men can talk about it to someone and start to deal with it.

“Hopefully more men will come forward to get emotional support which will enable them to move on.

“When men come to us we do an assessment and find out what the issue is. We can then see if it requires counselling, education, workshops or group work and being around men who have had similar experiences to see how we can help them.”

According to Thames Valley Police, 22 men were raped in Oxfordshire in 2013/14 and a further 36 were sexually assaulted.

There were a total of 693 sexual offences reported across the county in the same period.

Clean Slate said more men were raped than figures suggest, as men found it too difficult to come forward.

For more information, contact Nadia Brown on 01869 232461 or visit cleanslate.org.uk

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