Coronation Street is to air a male rape storyline, in an effort to highlight the culture of silence around male sexual assault.
The plot will feature David Platt – son of long-serving character Gail Platt – as played by actor Jack P Shepherd.
David will be raped by new friend and car mechanic Josh Tucker, played by Ryan Clayton, on the soap.
Shepherd said he hoped the story would help victims ‘realise the need to open up and speak to somebody,’ reports the BBC.
‘I think in his head it isn’t sexual assault’
According to MEN, Ryan has described the scenes as such: ‘He just wants to have sex. That’s what he wants, that’s what his motive is.’
He furthermore added: ‘It’s one-track minded for his character Josh. I think in his head it isn’t sexual assault. He doesn’t see it as that.’
Corrie producer Kate Oates has also said she hopes the storyline helps change the ‘culture of silence.’
Jack moreover revealed he has visited the charity Survivors Manchester to talk to victims like his character. He furthermore said: ‘That was when I realised the gravity and significance of it. David’s reaction and decision to remain quiet because he feels ashamed about what has happened is not uncommon.’
He also added: ‘Hopefully people will start talking about the storyline and it could help someone who has gone through something similar to realise the need to open up and speak to somebody.’
The storyline will feature in episodes screened from 16 March.
ITV’s Coronation Street is the longest-running British soap in the UK. The first episode aired in 1960.
Over on Channel 4, British soap Hollyoaks became the first to tackle a male rape storyline back in 1999. Gary Lucy played victim Luke Morgan.
He recently returned to the soap, with creators revealing that his rapist will also be returning in upcoming episodes.