EastEnders to air ‘extremely powerful’ male rape storyline with Ben Mitchell

EastEnders to air heartbreaking male rape storyline with Ben Mitchell

EastEnders is set to air a heartbreaking yet important male rape storyline later this year centred around Max Bowden’s character Ben Mitchell.

The soap star said he was “honoured to tell such an important story” with bosses confirming his character will be sexually assaulted by Albert Square’s newest barman Lewis, played by Aidan O’Callaghan.

Airing later this spring, the storyline has been created in collaboration with a number of charities, including Male Survivors Partnership, to insure that the issue of male rape is dealt with sensitively.

Bowden said: “Alongside some wonderful charities, and some very inspirational survivors of male sexual assault in the UK, I think we’ve been able to really strive to tell the most truthful account we can, and I hope we can raise awareness and understanding on a topic that is rarely covered.

“I’m honoured to be given this opportunity to tell such an important story.”

Alex Feis-Bryce, a trustee of the Male Survivors Partnership, said: “This is a really important storyline and will resonate with many survivors of sexual violence, particularly gay men.

“Storylines like this can be extremely powerful for survivors suffering in silence and I have no doubt that this one will help people speak out and get support.

“It also captures the complexities of sexual violence taking place in the context of modern sex lives and, unlike many media depictions, reflects the reality that most sexual violence is perpetrated by someone known to the victim.

“It was a pleasure to work with EastEnders to ensure that this storyline feels real and reflects the experiences of many survivors.”

EastEnders has not previously shied away from including LGBT+ storylines, with Albert Square introducing a gay bar, it’s first Pride parade, and a host of diverse characters in recent years.

In perhaps its most iconic queer moment, Ben Mitchell‘s dad Phil, who previously struggled to accept his son’s sexuality, punches a homophobe in the face after he called Ben a gay slur.

Twitter users loved the character refusing to let his son be verbally assaulted, and praised the dramatic punch, with one user calling him “the people’s hero”.

“Lesson of the night: Don’t be a homophobe or Phil Mitchell will come and punch ur lights out,” another said.