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Attitude Pride Awards 2019: The rape survivor speaking up for male victims of sexual violence

Finlay McFarlane hopes to improve the help on offer for male victims after becoming a victim of rape at 18.

2019-07-05

Finlay McFarlane has been honoured with an Attitude Pride Award for raising awareness for male survivors of sexual violence after he was raped when he was 18.

After he had just turned 18, Finlay went out with a group of friends to a local gay bar in his hometown in west Scotland for the first time.

Although he was initially having a good time, someone came up to him and offered to buy him a drink. The man disappeared into the crowd and came back with a drink. Finlay drank the drink and woke up the next day.

Finlay had no recollection of what happened but his friends started to grow concerned about him but just thought he had gone home.

"So they all decided to leave and thought, 'He must be back at home'," he says. "And as they were leaving, they were a wee bit merry, whatever, and they were shouting my name and then they realised that there was a few people gathered in the Tesco car park, down on the waterfront.

"And they were nosey to see what was going on cause there about three people stood there and I was lying down unconscious on the ground."

Having spent the night throwing up, Finlay woke up in his own bed and his friends told him they found him with his jeans unbuttoned and his scarf tied around him 'like a makeshift belt'. But he still could not remember anything about the night. 

Weeks later, Finlay finally met the man on a train. He sat opposite Finlay and typed a message into his phone and turned it around to let Finlay read.

The message confirmed he was the man from the bar and that he had raped Finlay.

"It felt like he was goading me," Finlay continues. "It was horrible. I still don't have my full memory of that night, but I have, it's like, light on, light off, light on, light off.

"I just remember this sensation of just nodding and agreeing to everything he was saying even though I couldn't understand what he was saying. It was so weird, so weird."

As Finlay was not out to his family at the time of the attack, he did not report the incident to the police and was worried if he told someone he would have to come out to his family.

He says: "The longer I kept it a secret to myself the harder it got, because then I thought, now they will ask me, 'Why didn't you tell us at the time? We could have done something about it'.

"And so, the longer it got, the years that went on, where I was just on my own with it then it was even harder and harder to tell them. Or to do anything."

After years of suffering from PTSD, Finlay started opening to his friends and says his healing started to begin after he started being vocal about what he had gone through.

However, after seeking helping from a charity, he was told that they could not help him because they do not 'deal with male rape victims'.

After meeting Alex Morgan from the charity Stay Brave, Finlay started to raise money for the charity and opened up about his ordeal in an article with The Telegraph.

"The response to that was overwhelming," he continues. "All the amount of anonymous messages that I received from men, some in their eighties, for the first time saying to me, 'I've just read that article, it's happened to me too'."

Listen to Finlay's story below: