The soap will explore the character’s sexual abuse as child, revealed in this evening’s episode
EastEnders has begun an important storyline for Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) which will see the character coming to terms with the non-recent sexual abuse he experienced as a child.
“Viewers have always been aware that Mick spent many years in care, which has been the cause of his fractured relationship with Shirley but now the audience will discover just why Mick’s childhood has been so traumatic. This storyline will see Mick having to confront the demons of his past, something he has desperately tried to avoid for many years and face up to the realisation that he experienced abuse whilst he was in care. 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.” – Jon Sen, Executive Producer of EastEnders
Mick was recently left rattled by Frankie (Rosie Ayling-Ellis) – a relative newcomer to Walford – after he found out that she had been surreptitiously taking photographs of him and his family. An unsuspecting Linda allowed Frankie to spend time with Ollie, which led to Mick confronting Frankie at the park about her interest in his family.
Mick, however, wasn’t prepared for Frankie’s response as she told him that he is her father. Mick was adamant she had got the wrong person, until Frankie mentioned her mum’s name, Katy Lewis, taking Mick back to his childhood.
Unable to confide in his family about Frankie’s relation to him, things took a turn in tonight’s episode (12th October) when Tina happily reminisced to Frankie and the Carters about Katy, stating that she was their beloved care worker when she and Mick were in care.
Immediately realising that Mick was 12 years old, and her mother older, Frankie was silently appalled but Mick, clearly confused about his past, privately told her it’s not what she thinks. The storyline will look at the impact the revelation has on Mick and his ongoing struggle with abandonment and understanding that what he experienced was abuse.
Having repressed what happened to him, the story will portray Mick suffering with some of the long-term effects of abuse with his emotional difficulties, panic attacks and mental health problems worsening as a result and how this impacts his family.
Both NSPCC, the UK’s leading children’s charity, and SurvivorsUK, a specialist service for male and non-binary sexual violence survivors, worked closely with the EastEnders team on the storyline.
“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.
“That’s one of the reasons we are really pleased that EastEnders is raising awareness of such an important issue and we hope that this storyline will help to give those who find themselves in a similar position to Mick, and any other victims of abuse, the courage to speak up.” – Kamaljit Thandi, Head of NSPCC Helpine
The NSPCC has highlighted that female perpetrators are not always recognised or talked about as much, which can add a layer of secrecy which discourages and prevents men to speak up about abuse.
“We’re proud to have worked with EastEnders on this storyline which will really resonate with many men who have experienced sexual violence. They have approached the subject with sensitivity and taken into account the voices and experiences of survivors throughout.
“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.
“Whenever sexual violence features in the media, and particularly in soaps like EastEnders, it can empower people to come forward to speak out about their experiences and seek support. The fact that the perpetrator in this storyline is a female also challenges the myth that sexual violence is something perpetrated by men against women. The reality is that anyone can experience sexual violence and it is perpetrated by people from all backgrounds and identities.” – Alex Feis-Bryce, CEO, SurvivorsUK
The NSPCC Helpline is there for any adults who have concerns and want to get advice – they can call the Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email email@example.com. Young people can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or via 1-2-1 chat on www.childline.org.uk