Information for Men

Here for you, no matter what

We know how difficult it can be for men to talk about being raped or sexually assaulted. No matter what happened to you, where you were, or who did it - The Bridgeway can help. We're here 24/7, 365 days a year.

You may be confused about what has happened, overwhelmed, emotional or numb. You may feel alone, angry, ashamed or frightened - these, and many other thoughts and feelings, are all normal responses to being sexually assaulted or raped.

Call us on 0808 118 6432. At The Bridgeway we listen, believe and do not judge. We will explain the help that is available to you and support you to decide what you want to do next.


The Bridgeway can help

Our specialist team can offer you help with the following things:

  • Emotional and psychological support
  • Medical care, including sexual health
  • Practical help
  • Free counselling for you, and family or friends
  • Information about making a report to the police

Anything you tell us is confidential and you can also speak to us anonymously.


Things you may be thinking or worrying about

Men can’t be sexually assaulted or raped or this only happens to gay men

Sexual assault and rape can happen to anyone, of any gender, sexuality, age or background. Being raped or sexually assaulted will not change your sexuality so that you now become gay or become straight.

People who commit sexual assault can be men or women and they can be straight or gay.


People will blame me because I was drinking or took drugs

At The Bridgeway we listen, believe and do not judge. No-one has the right to have sexual contact with another person against their will or when they are unable to give consent because they have taken alcohol or drugs.


What if I have HIV or another sexually transmitted infection?

The rate of HIV in Cumbria is very low. Call The Bridgeway and we can discuss the risk with you. It is important following a sexual assault that you are screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as it may be possible that you have contracted an STI such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea, or a blood borne virus such as HIV or Hepatitis B. Details about the assault and person who committed the assault will help the doctor or nurse make an assessment as to the risk. Having this checked out can give you the reassurance and if any infection is found, ensure you get the right treatment. We can arrange a sexual health screening and if you attend for a forensic-medical examination, we may give you medication directly if medically indicated.


I’m in pain, what if I have been injured?

Injuries to the anus heal very quickly and it is unlikely that the assault will have caused any lasting physical damage. If you are sore it is a good idea to get checked out. This can be done at The Bridgeway, by your GP or at a sexual health clinic.


Will I be able to choose if I am seen by a man or a woman?

The Bridgeway can request the services of a doctor or nurse of a gender you request if you attend for an examination, however it cannot, at this time, be guaranteed that this gender of clinician will be available. We will try our best to give you the choice. All of our doctors and nurses are specially trained to carry out this kind of examination sensitively and understand the trauma you have experienced. You have the option to have support throughout the examination from the female crisis worker.

For Independent Sexual Violence Advisors and counselling services, we will take account of your preference and do our best to give you your choice. At this time, most of our staff are female. We will discuss your options with you when you contact us.


I’m gay but I haven’t told my family and I don’t want people in my town to find out; will contacting The Bridgeway mean they find out?

You can contact The Bridgeway through our 24/7 helpline and you do not have to give your name. We will always discuss with you how best to contact you again if we need to and we will get your consent before contacting any other organisation, such as your GP or support services. The Bridgeway's centre is on the Penrith Hospital site so other people do not need to know exactly where you are going. Once you are in the building, no one else will know that you are there apart from The Bridgeway's staff.

You can choose whether you want to involve the police and we can help you to arrange to speak to them anonymously about what is involved in reporting before you make your final decision.


I’m unsure if I want to make a report to police

It is entirely your decision if you want to make a report to police or not.

You can call The Bridgeway for medical care and emotional support now, then decide about talking to police later.

You can come to The Bridgeway for a forensic-medical examination by a specialist nurse or doctor. They will check you are OK and take samples which The Bridgeway can store in case you decide later that you want to speak to the police about what has happened to you.

You can also bring clothes bedding or other items for us to store if you think there may be DNA evidence on them.

You will still be offered services that you feel are going to help you at this traumatic time.


What other practical support is available to me?

We will offer to arrange support from an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor. If you decide to make a report to police, they will advocate for you while your case is investigated and make sure that you receive regular updates from the police. They will also make sure that you are well supported if your case goes to court.

An Independent Sexual Violence Advisor can also help with practical things. They might contact an employer on your behalf, help you to arrange meetings to sort out benefits or housing, or simply be someone to call if something related to your experience is worrying you. This will be discussed and agreed with your first.