Reynhard Sinaga – How did he manage to avoid justice for so long?
On Monday 6th January 2020 reporting restrictions were lifted on the trials of Reynhard Sinaga. Sinaga was convicted of raping over 40 men in the space of 2 years whilst living in Manchester.
However, the convictions are likely to be the tip of the iceberg. Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that since the reports they have received telephone calls from individuals who believe they may also have been assaulted by Sinaga. Having reviewed Sinaga’s phones, the police believe that he is likely to have assaulted at least 195 men.
The question now is: how did he avoid justice for so long?
We know the following:–
- That he posed as a Good Samaritan to encourage men to come to his flat
- That when they were there he drugged them
- That he maintained a façade of gentle kindness in everyday life so no-one would suspect the depravity of his crimes
But we cannot accept that those are the only reasons why he was able to assault men so frequently in such a short amount of time.
I believe that men did not come forward because of the stigma that is still, and unnecessarily, attached to male survivors of sexual abuse.
Most people believe that sexual assaults do not happen to men. Often survivors do not report sexual assaults because they do not think they will be believed. Add to this belief another layer of not being believed because of your gender and it will not be surprising to learn that only 1 in 6 male survivors of sexual violence report to the police.
Sinaga was able to capitalise on this stigma, arrogantly believing he would never be reported. And he was right. The police only caught Sinaga following a review of his mobile telephones. Even when he was reported to the police, he pretended that he was the victim of a crime. If it hadn’t been for him recording his crimes, he would still be on the streets.
So what can we do?
We need to work together to break the stigma that surrounds male survivors of sexual violence. We can do that by telling survivors that we believe them and supporting charities such as SurvivorsUK, a charity that works with male survivors of sexual violence.
At Bolt Burdon Kemp we know how hard it is for survivors to disclose their abuse. And we know how hard it is to obtain specialised support once they have disclosed. Which is why we are funding an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor at SurvivorsUK.
Our hope is that once people accept that men can be survivors of sexual violence and survivors are given the right support, more men will come forward and report the abuse they have suffered.
Siobhán Crawford is an associate solicitor in the Abuse team at Bolt Burdon Kemp. If you feel you may have a claim or are enquiring on behalf of a loved one, contact Siobhan free of charge and in confidence on 020 7288 4886 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, complete this form and one of the solicitors in the Abuse team will contact you. Find out more about the Abuse team.