The lack of support for male survivors is shocking. There is research and many articles outlining how common child sexual abuse is in men. There are lots of statistics and societal calls to create for space for men. However, it is extremely hard to find. There are a few national organizations dedicated to changing this reality, such as 1in6.org, but when male survivors search locally there are very few, if any, options for support.
Individual therapy is the absolute best place to start your healing journey. I know seeking therapy is a huge step for most men, and I encourage any readers who are male survivors and want to heal to find a therapist. I promise you won't regret it.
As you have read, it took me years and years to seek help, and I am the son of a social worker and minister. My parents were rooted in helping others, but it still took me years to seek the support I needed. I know male survivors will meet many obstacles as they start their healing journey.
They will certainly have to face the social stigmas of masculinity and male vulnerability. They might also have to face families with uneducated, and maybe harmful, beliefs about sexual abuse (and almost certainly male sexual abuse). They might live in towns and communities with no space for conversations about sexual abuse. You have seen the stats. You have read about the stigmas. Healing is a tough and gritty journey for male survivors.
What was most shocking was the lack of support for survivors even when they have come forward and sought treatment. About 6 months into my therapeutic journey, I was longing for a group therapy setting to compliment my individual therapy. I wanted to feel supported. I wanted to be supported and emotionally embraced by a community of men who had the same experience as me. I live in Portland, a liberal mecca, but there was nothing locally. My therapist searched and searched. She reached out to her local therapeutic community and contacts, but she found nothing. I kept searching and found nothing. I even joined a male focused therapy group, but it turned out to be focused on marriage and relationship issues. There was not a single survivor in the group.
This is a problem. How can we break down stigmas and start an open conversation about male sexual abuse when we can't even support survivors? How can we create more space for male survivors? These were the same boys who rode bikes through your neighborhoods. These were the same boys and young men on your sports teams. These were the same kids who walked the same hallways as you. These are still the men who support and build your communities. They are helping raise your kids. They are the men you know and love. We must work together to make space for them. They deserve it. The deserve to heal and finally live their truth. They deserve to finally be fully present in the amazing lives they created for themselves.
I am writing this blog to make change. Every day I grow stronger and more focused. It has created a mission inside me through the support of the people reading this blog and those sending messages of gratitude and support. I want to be part of the conversation on male sexual abuse. I want to help support others. I want the impact of this blog to live long past the 30 day project I started just 14 days ago.
So today I take the first tiny step. I want to create space for the male survivors reading my post. I have started a super confidential online group aimed at creating a small space for men to support each other. It will be heavily vetted and only for male survivors. It might only begin as a few, maybe none at all. But I just want the male survivors reading this blog to know it is there if and when you need it. Maybe this is your first step down your own healing path?
If you are interested please send me a DM on socials or click the contact tab on this blog. We can start a private and confidential conversation and see if you would like to join the group. Let's create space together. Let's support each other. Let's help each other heal. If you are a male survivor or know a male survivor, please reach out.