Manchester men who were sexually abused as children are cycling to London to raise awareness about the lack of help for male victims.
The group, who call themselves the Shatter Boys, have set up a support network for men to talk about the issues that they face.
Co-founders of the group, who waived their anonymity for MM, now hope to broaden their network across the UK with the bike ride acting as their first public appeal.
“We don’t want it to be a fly-by moment, we want to be able to make sure that it’s got through to somebody in the towns that we’re going through,” co-founder David Norman told MM.
“On the way, I’d like to stop off at other services who deal with what we deal with and connect with them.”
The men will make the 220-mile trip from Manchester to London before attending a performance of Stalking the Bogeyman at the Southwark Theatre.
The play, which is making its UK debut, tells the tale of a man coming to terms with being sexually abused as a child.
“The play is particularly relevant to us because all of us, at some point, have felt like seeking revenge on the perpetrator,” said co-founder Daniel Wolstencroft.
“We’re not prepared to go to jail though – healing is our best revenge.
“I think the play will have a positive effect on the lads and so will the whole experience of the trip down there.
“It’ll be a chance to bond, have a laugh, camp out, get fit and create some good memories being part of something good.
“Some of the lads have never been out of Manchester, let alone been to the theatre.”
The group have also been working closely with the Real Stories Gallery, a New York-based organisation that uses art to raise awareness about the sexual abuse of boys.
The foundation also works with the Smash Street Boys, a group of young men who have contracted HIV from the abuse they suffered.
“These brave young men are true survivors, the Smash Street Boys inspire us,” Daniel said.
The Shatter Boys currently hold biweekly sessions in Manchester, and are set to go weekly due to a high demand in the city.
The group are also hoping to launch similar members groups in Liverpool, Essex and London, with a waiting list of 200 people in the capital already.
Completely self-funded, the group have recently set up a Just Giving page to pay for day trips and activities for members.
“The cash raised will fund a for group members to go away for the weekend to create some positive memories,” said Daniel.
“We aim to do some real fun old school stuff – fish and chips, sandcastle building and go to the funfair.
“Stuff that our lads missed out on because they were getting abused at the time – it shadows any chance of having child-like fun.
“It’s about reclaiming your childhood.”
The group will begin their journey from Manchester on July 27.
Image courtesy of Shatter Boys UK, via YouTube, with thanks.