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Praise for the courage of a male rape victim

I Salute Stephen Graham and the Belfast Telegraph for his bravery and courage in 'outing' his rapist (October 9).

Furthermore, I salute Claire McNeilly for her excellent journalism.

Stephen, I experienced rape also. Like you, I also waived my anonymity to publish my story in the Belfast Telegraph in March 2006, a step I have never regretted. Many nights before the release of the story I paced around the floor wondering if I was doing the right thing or not. The horrific flashbacks were back, but I was determined to fight on.

The support I received from Belfast Telegraph columnists, namely Gail Walker and Lindy McDowell, during that time was astounding. I will never forget the humanity and understanding both those fine women showed me.

At one stage they literally gave me the courage to fight for my life, although they didn't know that - until now, perhaps.

Without their encouragement and example as human beings, I doubt if I'd be alive today.

I also salute the Belfast Telegraph for their courageous stance in tackling such a subject as male rape.

It is a subject many media organisations feel uncomfortable with and shy away from.

However, the disgraceful reality for survivors of rape is that it is very difficult to even get a rapist as far as the court door. Survivors have to fight every step of the way. I believe current statistics show that only 5% of accused rapists ever go inside a jail cell. Those rightly put behind bars until now have been able to use their 'get-out-of-jail-free card' in the form of 50% remission.

Survivors get no remission!

Survivors are lucky if they can get counselling for a few sessions. However, rapists get counselling in jail with no thought of cost. Where is the justice in this?

Angus Smyth, Comber

Belfast Telegraph


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