EastEnders just wrapped a harrowing domestic abuse storyline. Now, the iconic British soap is embarking on another issue-based storyline, this one dealing with child abuse.
Fan-favorite character Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) is revealed to have been sexually abused by a carer, Katy Lewis, when he was just 12 years old. Katy then had a child, Frankie (Rose Ayling-Ellis), who tracked down Mick in Albert Square.
Meeting his long-lost daughter sent Mick into panic attacks as he remembered his abuse. Though Mick repressed these memories for decades, he'll now struggle with the long-term effects of the abuse.
EastEnders has worked closely with organizations National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and SurvivorsUK (which assists male, trans, and non-binary victims of abuse) on story elements. EE's team also spoke with survivors.
EastEnders executive producer Jon Sen said:
Our work with SurvivorsUK and NSPCC has been vital in informing and grounding Mick’s story very much in reality. We hope this storyline will help to challenge the perceptions, the stigma and the shame – particularly experienced by male survivors.
Kamaljit Thandi, head of the NSPCC Helpline, stated:
We know that abuse can have a devastating and often lasting impact. This storyline reinforces how difficult it can be for those who are victims of non-recent abuse to process and come to terms with what has happened to them. It can also be hard for men to speak openly about these experiences, particularly when the perpetrator is female.
Alex Feis-Bryce, CEO of SurvivorsUK, added:
Research suggests that it takes male survivors an average of 26 years to speak out and seek support and the impact of sexual violence can be devastating. When I was raped as a teenager I felt so alone partly because I’d been socialised to believe that this was something which doesn’t happen to men and it took me years to speak about it properly to anyone. I know many of the people we support at SurvivorsUK experience similar feelings.