Assisting Male Survivors of Sexual Violence
Ken Followell, Howard Fradkin  -  2011/8/31
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
So much of current sexual assault practice concerning men is to ask them to help prevent SA of women. How do male SA survivors react to these efforts?
 
1.  Alex
 This issue also highlights the importance of promoting bystander intervention. In promoting more gender-neutral prevention efforts, we can help to level the gendered perceptions of sexual violence.
 
2.  Howard Fradkin
 Most male survivors of abuse are keenly aware there are many women in their lives who also have experienced sexual abuse. Because those efforts have framed men as perpetrators, it does make it harder for male survivors to come forward, since they have been told they cant be victims. Those efforts also make it difficult for male survivors with female perpetrators to come forward as society is picturing women as the victims. It would be great if male and female survivors could come together to all work toward the elimination of all forms of sexual violence.
 
3.  KenF
 The practice of engaging men to be involved in prevention of SA against women is difficult for a male survivor of SA because the message reinforces the idea that the male role is as the aggressor and not the victim. Which means if a boy/man has been victimized then his masculinity is called into question. It makes seeking assistance with recovery very difficult, especially if the agency which offers recovery services is the same one which is reinforcing this negative stereotype of the aggressor male that needs to be controlled.
 
 
Have you seen (as our population ages) an increase in any senior males (60+) that are victims?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 I can't speak statistically, but I can tell you from my experience that more older men are finding the courage to speak their truths. Thanks to an increasing number of books on the subject, organizations such as MaleSurvivor and 1:6; last years two part Oprah show on the subject of male survivors, and the increased disclosure of men such as Tyler Perry, Don Lemon, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Sen. Scott Brown, who are coming forward as survivors, men are feeling more permission to speak their truth.
 
 
Hi my name is Juan Vega and I want to know about the myths and misconceptions of male rape because where I live there is not much information about it. And also want it to know can a grown man be raped because I know in jail can happen but there is not much information about everyday men. Many of the male survivors were raped when they were kids. And I know is a little bit harsh to say this but here in Puerto Rico, most of the information that can be found is for women. Thanks in advance.
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 Hi Juan-1 in every 8 rape victims is a man. About 3 or 2.78 million men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Absolutely grown men can be raped, by men and by women. Rape is an act of violence and a victim is never responsible.Rapists tend to pick vulnerable men who they believe won't resist them, and it is not your fault if you are picked. Most importantly, if you have been raped, it is important to know you are worthy and deserving of help.
 
2.  KenF
 The myth that rape is always a matter of physical strength being used to overpower the victim affects both men and women. It causes victims to question if they raped if there is an absence of physical injuries. Many things can be used to overpower a person and victimize them sexually. Things such as weapons and threat of bodily injury as well as social pressures such as employer/employee, teacher/student, parent/child and other types of power imbalances can be used to sexually victimize both men and women.
 
 
I'm interested in age of victimization and age of victim when you feel you can best help with therapy.
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 Therapy can be helpful to boys and men of any age. It is preferable for a male to get help where they are abused or assaulted, but unfortunately, many men keep their abuse a secret for a long time. So the best age is the age when the man or boy asks for help.
 
 
Jury Compatibility: Generally speaking, when picking a jury in a male on male sexual assault case, how does gender impact juror suitability?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 I wish I could answer your question, but it is a legal question and way out of my area of expertise. It would make sense that women could in many cases be presumed to be more sensitive to a victim; but many women and many men in our society still deny that men can be abuse survivors.
 
 
What have you found to be a good approach for some of the first counseling sessions that you start with male survivors of child sex abuse?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 It is important in the first sessions to work on building trust. Sometimes men come to counseling because they want to talk about their abuse, but many come for other reasons. Even if a man starts therapy to deal with his abuse, I want to learn about how he is living today. I will encourage him to tell me his story only as he feels ready. I encourage him to know this is not a race, and I would rather he take his time telling me. I teach men about grounding and centering techniques, and keep reminding them of the importance of breathing slowly and being very compassionate with themselves. This is very tough work to do for any survivor, and they need not only my support, but hopefully outside support as well.
 
 
What is the statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse in the state of Kansas?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 I don't know about Kansas. The statute of limitations varies in every state. There is a nationwide movement to remove the statute of limitations as many men and women repress their memories, sometimes for decades, and they need a lot of time even after memories surface before they feel comfortable bringing charges. Unfortunately in many states by the time a survivor feels ready to press charges it is too late. What I believe is that pressing charges in and of itself is rarely therapeutic; it must be done with the support of psychotherapy and a good outside support group as it can be grueling.
 
2.  KenF
 I do not know that answer since the law is outside my area of expertise.
 
 
Our program provides counseling for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, male and female. We recently added a drop-in support group in our community (in a public library meeting room) which we hope will become a safe and welcoming forum for support (not a treatment/psychotherapy group). Some members of the community enthusiastically embraced this idea at the outset, but energy and attendance quickly dropped off. We have advertised modestly and have made adequate preparations to seed discussion and maintain a supportive, safe environment. Any other ideas what we can do to increase participation? Thanks.
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 drop in support groups, including 12-step groups, typically go through periods of more or less participation. You know the need is out there. The setting of the public library may make it difficult because they may feel way too exposed and vulnerable. Some men will feel much more comfortable with men only, just as some women would rather women only groups. Know that offering help is very important, and even if 2 or 3 attend, you are still providing valuable help. Do as much outreach as you can, and know it takes a lot of time to establish credibility that survivors can trust you.
 
2.  KenF
 As a male survivor, I would be very hesitant to attend such a broadly defined group. With the broad base I would be worried about becoming the target of someones rage against their attacker. Co-ed groups can be very threatening for a male survivor.
 
3.  Alex
 Sometimes making a group closed (do brief intakes with participants before the group starts) and assuring all group members that once the group starts that will be the group they stick with for the set period that the particular group will run, can help people to feel safer and more likely to participatefeel comfortable sharing. These types of groups can be more widely advertised and hopefully reach a larger group of people.
 
 
In assisting a male survivor in setting boundaries, is there any gender specific information that might need to be addressed?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 It is important to help men look at male socialization; ie the messages they got about being a man; and help them to confront some of the lies that will impact on their ability to set boundaries. Some men learn it is their job to take care of others, and they may learn that they shouldn't have any emotional needs; rather they should take care of others. This of course could be one example of a block in being able to effectively set a boundary so that the man would value his own needs too in the relationship.
 
 
I am a Sexual Assult Nurse Examiner who also teaches the classroom part of training - I have several questions relating to male exams. First, several nurses have asked is it better to have a female or a male perform this exam? Is there any difference if the nurse handles this in a professional and compassionate behavior? Are there any new research studies out there that may impact our services to our male patients? Any new information that we should be passing out to our male patients?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 Also encourage your male patients to reach out for support; go to websites such as www.malesurvivor.org and 1in6.org where they will find many men like themselves. this type of support is vital to helping with minimizing shame and developing courage to keep speaking the truth.
 
2.  philip cook
 The only research on this is very limited. However, in answering survey questions only-not an exam. There was a difference. Male respondents gave more information when the questioner was female, vs when the questioner was male.
 
3.  Howard Fradkin
 I agree with Ken. Gender of the nurse is not as important as the way they approach the man who has been victimized. It is always preferable for a man to have a choice as to who does an exam, and to give them permission to ask for what they need. Especially if this is an exam right after being abused, the man is going to be feeling very, very vulnerable and may have trouble asserting himself. As for current research and literature, I invite you to check out www.malesurvivor.org and click on the tab bookstore, where the latest resources are available.
 
4.  KenF
 The patient should be empowered and allowed to decide if a man or a woman conducts the exam. The perpetrator may have been either sex so that may have an impact. It is important to behave in such a way that a male patient is not made to feel as the exception. There is nothing unusual in a man being victimized and in no way should be allowed to impact how they are perceived.
 
 
There has been minimal work done addressing men who have been sexually assaulted at an adult age. Do you feel this will ever change in the therapeutic community? Or will there continue to be the assumption that the work done for CSA over the last several years covers this sector of male survivors as well?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 Male rape is a very serious problem, and I believe there is every reason to hope for change. Organizations such as MaleSurvivor and 1 in 6 are working hard to make it clear that men and boys are abused. the program I co-chair, the MaleSurvivor Weekends of recovery, welcomes men who have been abused/assaulted/raped as adults.
 
2.  KenF
 I hope this changes, MaleSurvivor.org has recently created a forum for men abused as adults and the lack of material for them is a common complaint.
 
 
Have your worked with male survivors of sexual abuse/harassment or assault who have served in the military? Does this traumatic experience affect them differently than non-military survivors?
 
1.  Alex
 A support resource for people dealing with sexual violence in the military is called Safe Helpline is owned by the Department of Defense and operated by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and available to adult Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard members of all genders. The confidential, free hotline is available at 877.995.5247 from anywhere in the world. People can text 55.247 (inside US) or 202.370.5546 (international) to receive information on the nearest Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. There is also a secure, live chat at www.SafeHelpline.org and the website has other helpful information about sexual assault, for survivors and supporters.
 
2.  Howard Fradkin
 there is an excellent new book, Honor Betrayed, by Mic Hunter, which addresses abuse in the military. The biggest issues are shame and fear; there is tremendous fear in the military that you won't be believed, you'll be stigmatized, or thrown out if you speak the truth of your abuse, especially if it is a superior who committed the abuse. The culture of the military is just beginning to change to make it possible to seek help, but it has a long, long way to go.
 
3.  Susan Cleveland
 Hello,I have some experience with the military and military life and believe that there is another layer for military men that have been assaulted. They are supposed to be extra tough...having gone to war, etc. So it seems to me that the experience would be that much more damaging to their self-image, friendships with other military members and other aspects of their lives.
 
 
What are the statistical differences between sexual violence against women and men?
 
1.  philip cook
 However, these figures apparently do not distinguish between rape of a man by a man vs a woman as perpetrator? Nor, adult to adult vs adult woman to boy? 1 in every 8 rape victims is a man. About 3 or 2.78 million men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. One in 10 men reported inappropriate noncontact sexual activity by age 16In summary: ONE IN FOUR MEN (28) have a sexual abuse history (& even this figure is likely to be underreported)
 
2.  Howard Fradkin
 It is believed 1:3 women are sexual abuse survivors; it is believed 1 in 6 boys is overtly sexually victimized before the age of 18; 1 in every 8 rape victims is a man. About 3 or 2.78 million men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. One in 10 men reported inappropriate noncontact sexual activity by age 16In summary: ONE IN FOUR MEN (28) have a sexual abuse history (& even this figure is likely to be underreported)
 
 
What are some stereotypes that impact male survivors' ability to seek services for their sexual assault?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 Men have trouble seeking help because of many societal beliefs about masculinity, such as men shouldn't need help; men can't be victims and if they are, it is because they are weak; men should always be in control, especially when it comes to sex. If a man is abused by a woman, the shame is even greater because it is believed men should always be powerful over women
 
2.  KenF
 The biggest stereotype is that males are not victims but are perpetrators of sexual violence. This prevents men for coming forward.
 
 
In my state there are no support groups for male survivors or at least none that I have been made aware of. There are co-ed groups but none for just males. How do you suggest going about getting a male support group going? And then training staff to facilitate those groups?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 You can also contact MaleSurvivor and let us know if you are wanting to start a group, and we can post that information on our website. It is important to know it is likely it will take some time. If by chance we have some men who have participated in our programs, they might be willing to help too. it takes a lot of outreach to reach men, and I encourage you to know you would be offering a very valuable service that in time, will be utilized.
 
2.  KenF
 Contact the therapeutic community to get the word out to potential members. Carefully consider the time the group meets so it does not require time off work for most attendees. The staff should have experience working with men in a one on one basis before trying to run a group.
 
 
I work at a rape crisis center that serves folks of all genders in our county but we rarely have male survivors seek services. In your experience, what are some of the most effective ways to reach out to male survivors?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 Men need to see other men speaking out about being survivors of rape; as you know from working with women, it is tough for them to reach out for help. I encourage you to do PSA's that feature male survivors of rape; that address how he learned that asking for help was an act of courage and strength, and that the Rape Crisis Center staff were supportive and non-judgmental and gave him specific tools to help him cope. reach out to the therapeutic community too and let them know you work with men. Put posters up in gyms, do public speaking engagements where men hang out.
 
2.  KenF
 It is a matter of changing the image of rape crisis centers as womens centers and truly focused on sexual assault.
 
 
Hello! In my organization, there are three advocates who do on-call work (among many other things) and carry a client load of victims of sexual assault and abuse. I chose to specialize outside of my usual client load in male survivors as I have known so many and the struggles they come up against in seeking help. My question is simple: what resources are out there? I use 1in6.org and malesurvivor.org but they are very limited in what resources I can seek elsewhere. Any advice?
 
1.  KenF
 You are right the resources are currently very limited. Experienced advocates such as yourself sharing with others are a valuable resource. the MaleSurvivor conference is a place where that sharing occurs. Next one ins November 2012 in New York City.
 
2.  philip cook
 www.safe4all.org and www.saveservices.org
 
3.  Howard Fradkin
 There are a whole host of resources on both websites; on www.malesurvivor.org there is a tab called resources I believe, and it lists many organizations. There are also many books in our bookstore. I am the Co-Chairperson of the MaleSurvivor Weekends of recovery which is a great program for men 18 and older to get support.
 
 
In past experiences, minority men have been extremely hesitant and uncomfortable in taking a leadership role in confronting sexual violence and initiating those conversations within the community. What are some strategies to get minority men to take a more empowered approach of addressing sexual violence, such as starting a men's movement?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 thankfully there are some great new role models of minority men who are speaking out, such as Tyler Perry and Don Lemon. These men spoke out because they see the need in their community and the community in general, and because they are brave and courageous. I think it is important to appeal to the bravery and courage of any minority man, especially if he is a male survivor, who is willing to take a leadership role in confronting sexual violence. It is not easy for anyone, and since minority men are at even greater risk for being abused, the needs are great, and hopefully they can be inspired by men like Perry and Lemon to step forward.
 
2.  KenF
 If you are asking men to take a leadership role in addressing sexual violence, then it must be from a stand point of the entire issue. Not simply address the portion of the issue which is males assaulting women. If you define the man as the threat he will retreat from any empowered engagement.
 
 
What are top three challenges that juvenile victims face in overcoming sexual abuse.
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 The biggest challenge is to be able to speak his truth, and to believe someone will be willing to listen, willing to believe, and willing to help. Unfortunately, we have heard way too many stories of juveniles who have spoken their truth only to be ignored, judged, or blamed themselves.Juveniles need a lot of reassurance to know that they were not at fault. Many have the challenge of thinking the abuse was not abuse: so they need help in confronting the truth--the practices of grooming by perpetrators make it very confusing, because it seems the perpetrator is nice and does nice things, and it then becomes difficult to speak out because they grow to feel loyal to the perpetrator; this takes much time to help them know it is okay to speak the truth.
 
2.  KenF
 For a male. Gender confusion - what does this mean about my sexuality? Who can I tell - no one will believe this happened to me. Fear of social ostracism - people will think I will hurt them now.
 
 
Do you have any book recommendations in working with a male sexual assault survivor?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 Victims No Longer; Mike Lew - Beyond Betrayal, Richard gartner - evicting the perpetrator, Ken Singer - For the professional: Betrayed As boys, richard Gartner ... many more books at the bookstore at MaleSurvivor.org
 
2.  KenF
 Mike Lew and Ruchard Gartner both have good books available. There is also an extension listing of books at MaleSurvivor.org. I would also keep my eyes open for a book currently being written by my co-host Howard Fradkin. It should be amazing.
 
3.  philip cook
 Sexually Aggressive Women-Guilford Press-1998.
 
 
How do we make space in our women-centered agencies/organizations for male survivors? How can we make these typically women-centered spaces more inclusive?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 Male survivors all over are thrilled you want to do more to help men, and male survivors need that help. As I have stated in other responses, it is a key that you have to destigmatize that asking for help is a sign of weakness, which is a key component in men hesitating. They need to hear they are welcome; they need to hear you are trained to help them; they need to hear you offer non-judgmental help. Most importantly, they need to hear men talking about being raped and assaulted, and hear how they got help from you when they spoke their truth.
 
2.  Kaleigh
 I think that most orginzations that work with survivors have typically grown out of the women's movement and have been established to assist female survivors. However, I'm well aware that men AND women are survivors (and perpetrators for that matter). We can't help where we started (40+ years ago) but I want suggestions and how we move on and evolve. We're already working with some men but we want to do more!
 
3.  Howard Fradkin
 It is important to train your staff first so they will be prepared for male survivors. Then, advertise, advertise, and connect with organizations such as MaleSurvivor and 1:6 who have access to men who have been abused, and can help you. Your expertise in helping women will be of great value to male survivors, and they need to know they are welcome and will be treated with the same degree of respect and compassion as you have always offered women.
 
4.  KenF
 First thing would be to ask why the centers are gender based when the crime is not. Continuing to exist in a gender based model furthers the misconception that the gender matters. Sexual crime is committed by all genders against all genders.
 
 
When dealing with male survivors who are adolescent to teen boys, have you ever noticed the instance of boys using the method of smearing fecal matter on walls or household objects after using the bathroom as a coping mechanism? What could this mean in your expert opinion? I have a case in which this is actually ocurring with a 12 yr old boy who was abused by an older male of 18 yrs of age. I'm just intrigued to hear your take on this and what might be causing this type of behavior and furthermore, how it can be tackled by the people in his life to insure he finds a better coping mechanism. Thank you!
 
1.  Timothy Irwin
 Thank you very much for your response Dr. Fradkin. I saw you speak @ the 2009 Male Survivor conference @ John Jay. Thanks so much for providing inspiration and guidance to survivors and professionals alike.
 
2.  Howard Fradkin
 I don't work with adolescents or teens, however I would work to engage the young man in talking about what he thinks about and feels as he engages in the behavior. If he could use words instead of smearing the fecal matter on the walls, what would the words be? GIve him full permission to use any language he would like. It does seem he is trying to gain control and express some internal rage and shame through the behavior, so of course it is important to give him permission to express these feelings directly.
 
 
What has been the one aspect that seems to prevent males the most from reporting?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 Shame, shame, shame. Men have learned they shouldn't be victims. There is great fear in being judged; great fear they won't be believed; great fear in the consequences as men are sometimes threatened if they ever speak they will be hurt.
 
2.  KenF
 Fear of being labeled a freak or danger is probably the leading aspect. Unfortunately, they are many reasons not to seek help and it is difficult to get past them.
 
 
How are male victims of sexual violence different from female victims? And what steps can I take to better suit their needs?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 The biggest difference is that men have a much more difficult time asking for help, and feel a great deal more shame around the abuse. Men often code abuse as sexual initiation rather than abuse, and this also complicates treatment. Men typically give themselves much less permission to feel, whereas women and girls learn this is okay; so it makes recovery much more difficult.
 
 
How can we get law enforcement to take this issue seriously? What kinds of education tools are most effective?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 Law enforcement officials are people, and if sexual abuse can be made personal, and if they can come to understand it is highly likely someone they know is a male survivor (even likely one of their colleagues), and you can work to increase victim empathy, that will help. It has taken a long time to help law enforcement be more sensitive to women; it will take a long time, but it is very important, that the same compassion be offered to male survivors. If you help them consider it could be their son, it would help them take it more seriously. watching videos, such as Boys and Men Healing, could be very powerful.
 
2.  KenF
 Law enforcement does not change easily, but finding survivors willing to tell their story is the most effective tool we have. Putting a face on the words matters.
 
 
We conduct a hotline for students to call for students who are victims or would like information to call. How do we increase our visibility and usage by male students?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 You have to specifically let students know your services are for male survivors too. And work to destigmatize that asking for help is weak....promote that asking for help when you've been assaulted and victimized is a sign of strength.
 
2.  philip cook
 There are free brochures available at www.safe4all.org that specifically are aimed at heterosexual male and gay men (as well as lesbian/transgendered). The brochures focus on domestic violence but all mention sexual assault as well. You can print them off the website.
 
3.  KenF
 Increase your visibility by making sure your promotional material show both males and females as potential victims. If the victim pictures are all female, your callers will be all female as well.
 
 
Do you see a rise of male clients in the past decade?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 Absolutely there is a rise, thanks to much more publicity, such as this forum, the Oprah shows, stars and public figures making their abuse public. And many more books on the subject. So more and more men feel safer to speak out, and seek help.
 
 
Curious about interviewing techniques a female detective can use, when assisting adult male victims of sexual assault.
 
1.  Trisha
 Thank you, your advice helps. My experience has been just that...victims in denial about actual 'abuse'. And KenF you absolutely correct. I believe a few times I have 'lost' the cooperation of victims because they are already on tenuous ground talking to me to start. The slightest 'misstep' on my part (albeit unintentional) and the victim either shuts down on me, or refuses any further contact or assistance. The result The offender walks...
 
2.  Howard Fradkin
 It is important to recognize that men do not always code abuse as abuse. So it is better to be vague; to ask more general questions about inappropriate touch; how comfortable or uncomfortable did you feel? It is important to let the survivor take his time. Depending on the gender of his perpetrator, he may have an easier or more difficult time with you being a female.
 
3.  KenF
 Be very careful not to manipulate the victim. Allow them to set the limits of what they are ready to talk about and what is too soon. Any pressure or manipulation will shut down the victim.
 
 
Suggestions on how to help victims when a convicted person asks to amend probation conditions.
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 A survivor's biggest need is to feel safe. I am not exactly sure what situation you are referring to, but if the survivor has to deal with the possibility of their perpetration being more free than they would like, I think it is very important to help them work through their feelings about the changes; to continue to help them heal from the abuse; and perhaps, to help them look at the possibility of examining forgiveness as a route to further recovery.
 
2.  KenF
 Listen to their concerns and respond to the actual concern. Allow time for thought and be comfortable in the silence until the victim is ready to respond.
 
 
What is an effective approach to allow males survivors to feel comfortable sharing their stories?
 
1.  Steve B
 I let clients know that I am also a survivor of csa and rape, and tell them they can say whatever they like, with no constraints on language used or judgments made, and almost all of them appreciate the chance to be honest, with me and themselves
 
2.  KenF
 Ask first if they want you to interrupt to ask questions or wait until they have finished. Let them know that they can always stop when they need to and not answering questions is OK. Sharing their story is about saying what they need to say, not about getting all the details right.
 
3.  Howard Fradkin
 Build trust; let them know you are willing to listen to all the details; encourage them to tell the story in pieces, rather than all at once. I tell them I would rather you stay present while you tell your story, and allow yourself to have feelings while you tell it, rather than just spit it out and get all the details out, but be numb or feel a need to go numb yourself because you're now feeling too vulnerable. Pace yourself, listen inside to how safe you are feeling.
 
 
What are some specific differences when treating male children who have been sexual abused vs female children who have been sexually abused?
 
1.  KenF
 Boys and men have a learned fear of not being tough or strong enough. We are taught that males are strong and being victimized feels like the ultimate example of weakness. Male survivors need to be taught that seeking help is a strong thing to do. It is not an admission of weakness.
 
2.  Howard Fradkin
 The biggest difference is that males are programmedlearn to deny and minimize abuse and learn they shouldn't need any help. Girls typically learn they have the right to ask for help, and are programmed to learn they very well could be abuse victims. Boys most often don't get those warnings, even as we know 1:6 get abused before 18
 
 
Are there any grants available that address sexual assault against males?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 I believe there are some federal agencies that are starting to make funds available for services to men, as a part of overall services to men and women. It may be grants from Health and Human Services, but I am not sure.
 
2.  JR
 Each state provides compensation to eligible victims of crime. Regardless of gender, an eligible victim can be compensated for mental health counseling. The amount awarded varies from state to state.
 
3.  philip cook
 VAWA grants are available for use to serve men, but only from agencies that primarily serve women.
 
4.  Judith Burke
 I'm funded under a grant for women. So perhaps my question should be, are there grants that are NOT gender-specific?
 
5.  KenF
 The only gender specific grants I am aware of are for women.
 
 
Are male survivors reporting more in 2011?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 I don't know these statistics; I can tell you that MaleSurvivor is seeing much more activity; our Weekends of Recovery have seen a significant rise in participation; 1 in 6 is also assisting in creating an environment in which men are much more able to speak out.
 
2.  KenF
 I believe they are, but I also believe the reporting rate is exceptioanlly low.
 
 
I am curious whether you can recommend any literature on the incidence of sexual victimization among young males engaged in community violence (i.e. shootings, gang affiliation, etc.). I am curious whether there is a connection between past sexual victimization or trauma and current violent behavior among these young males.
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 I am not aware of any literature. I know the correctional system is filled with men with histories of violent behavior who are survivors of sexual abuse. My colleague, David Lisak, Ph.D., who is on the board of 1 in 6 (see their website) does research in this area.
 
2.  KenF
 I am not aware of any such literature.
 
 
I am interested in support groups as a resource for victims of male sexual abuse/assault. What are your recommendations around successfully establishing support groups for male sexual abuse/assault and also what improtance to you put on the group dynamic as part of a male SA victim's recovery/healing process?
 
1.  KenF
 The group dynamic was very important in my recovery. The feeling that I was the only one this had ever happened to was only dispelled when I was looking in the eye of another man who had been through sexual assault. I first experienced this at a MaleSurvivor Weekend of Recovery and then went home and spent 18 months trying to findstart a group of my own.
 
2.  Howard Fradkin
 MaleSurvivor has a whole guidebook we have developed to help folks establish support groups. You can write to Ken, and he can get that to you. groups are very, very helpful for survivors; they need to know they are not alone, that other men have experienced similar forms of abuse.
 
 
How can advocates make sure we are meeting the needs of male victims?
 
1.  Dora Dowell
 Our agency does a telephone screening and schedule an appointment to meet in the office. We find sometimes the questions could be delicate for a male survivor to go over the phone especially if they are not ready to fully disclose what has happened to them.
 
2.  michelle eppel
 I think the best way to is to ask male victims female and children what they need. You could do a survey. Its hard to know unless your a victim as well we our so different after the crime we loose who we were. Form a whole new idenity our live was stolen the way we knew it. ty michelle
 
3.  KenF
 One of the big benefits of the MaleSurvivor conference (next in New York City November 2012)is that it gives survivors and advocate the opportunity to share openly about what works and what does not. Often it is difficult to ask a client what else you can do because the client relationship gets in the way of an completely honest answer.Look for opportunities to speak with survivors that are not dependent on you for services.
 
4.  Howard Fradkin
 Keep getting the word out about your services. We know that most men do not talk about being abused, so it is going to be a long, long time before you'll be able to reassure yourself you are meeting the needs of male survivors. Do your best to get the best training you can, and if you do a good job with current clients, they will refer others.
 
 
Every boy or man survivor that I have worked with who was abused by a male has wondered if that meant that they were gay. What is the best reply that you would suggest?
 
1.  KenF
 Having felt this confusion myself, I know how common this is. It is important to let the survivor know that abuse cannot make you either straight or gay. Orientation is not that easily determined. It is also important to let they survivor know that however, he decides what his orientation is that it is OK. It is not a matter of deciding between a good and a bad orientation.
 
2.  Howard Fradkin
 This is a common consequence, to be confused about one's sexual orientation. Abuse does not cause anyone's sexual orientation. It is absolutely not advised to reassure them, as many survivors are in fact gay or bisexual. But it wasn't the abuse that caused it. It is important to gently help them talk through what makes them wonder. It is normal they may have felt pleasure in the experience, and it is impt to help them know that doesn't mean they are gay.
 
 
What is an example of noncontact sexual activity?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 One of the most common is being shown pornography, or being filmed to be the subject of pornography. I have had clients who had no privacy in the bathroom, or whose parents humiliated them about their bodies or their genitals. Hearing about the sexual activity of adults when you are just a child.
 
2.  KenF
 Showing sexually explicit material to a young boy. Having a victim watch while contact activities are done to others.
 
 
Are there any good literature resources out there that would be beneficial to use and give to male clients that have been sexually abused? Thank You.
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 check out the bookstore at www.malesurvivor.org ; there are lots of resources there. My current favorites are: Beyond Betrayal, by Richard Gartner; Victims No Longer, by Mike Lew;a film called Boys and Men Healing; many men find autobiographies helpful
 
2.  Maryann Gorski
 Take a look at Rescuing Little Roundhead by Syl Jones. The author did a reading in my area. It addresses the repercussions of male sexual abuse in the African-American community through the story of a young boy assaulted at an early age. Here's a link: http://www.amazon.com/Rescuing-Little-Roundhead-Syl-Jones/dp/1571312153/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314817475&sr=8-1
 
 
Are there rape kits for male victims?
 
1.  Judith Burke
 Yes, there are. Our local SART personnel are using them (California).
 
2.  KenF
 I do not know the answer to this.
 
 
Discuss how life experience and societal influences impact elderly male victims (age 60 and older) speaking out and seeking support/assistance in case of sexual violence.
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 Men 60 and older grew up in a time when talking about these subjects was absolutely taboo; they would have even a much more difficult time speaking this truth. at the same time, the men I know who are 60 and older are finding an incredible freedom now by speaking their truth. It is very painful at the same time because they come to understand how much their life was negatively impacted by their abuse.
 
2.  KenF
 If the victimization occurs after age 60, then embarrassment about the loss of manliness will often stop the victim from speaking out. If the elderly man was a CSA survivor, he often thinks it is too late to make any difference for him .
 
 
How do you help men have conversations about how sexual abuse (they received) is affecting their sexual marital relations? Is it best done in the context of a male group, or a marital group? How is this component best healed?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 It is very common to have problems with sexual intimacy for male survivors. these problems are best addressed first in individual therapy, as they are likely to be accompanied by a lot of shame. Then talking in a group, and eventually with a partner is very important, especially because partners tend to blame themselves or are operating in a vaccuum, knowing there is a problem, but not knowing what it is.
 
2.  Howard Fradkin
 This is a very common problem for men, struggling with intimacy and sex. First, it needs to be addressed individually, before talking about it with a partner. In a group, men find out they are not alone, and can get support from others that real intimacy can be achieved. There are some good books on the subject, such as Ghosts in the Bedroom.
 
 
What are your thoughts about the effectiveness of week long recovery intensives such as ALTA in Utah, Hope Springs in Ohio, or Family Wellness Warriors in Alaska?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 Our Weekends of Recovery program is only a weekend, not a week long. Anytime you give survivors an opportunity to create the bond of support and understanding while learning new skills to further their recovery, it is going to be very powerful. We use a ratio of 1:3 staff: participant, which helps us to make our weekends as safe as possible. See our website, and look at the testimonials to hear what our alumni have said. I am not familiar with the family Wellness Warriors program, but if it provides a safe place for survivors to meet, and the staff is well-trained, my hope is it would be effective.
 
2.  fwwi
 Although we (in Alaska) agree that the presence and participation of mental health professionals is key and critical at all stages of healing, we do not agree that they are the only ones who should be an integral part of leading recovery groups, weekends or week long intensives. We find that for our Alaska Native people, the best healing comes through Natural Helpers trained to provide a safe environment for people to risk sharing their stories. Because the wounds are relational, they need to have that relational piece for healing (which traditional clinicians cannot provide).
 
3.  KenF
 I have attended the weekend programs such as Alta and it is the most impactful step I have ever taken in my recovery. I am not familar with the Family Wellness Warriors, but any intense program should have a low number of participants to facilitators and the facilitators should be mental health professionals. That is very imporant in my opinion.
 
 
In starting up a support group for male survivors of sexual abuse, would it be more sensitive for the facilitator to be of the female gender or male gender?
 
1.  KenF
 When I first started my recovery work I would not even consider a female therapist. Now it would not matter to me. The important thing is to allow the victims to have a say and value their preference.
 
2.  Howard Fradkin
 I think it is always preferable to have at least one male facilitator, but I know many female psychotherapists who run groups for men and are very competent. It may not be practical to have a male and female. And there will be men who won't attend a group if a woman is leading it, especially if they have been perpetrated by a woman. the most important factor is whether the facilitator has been trained in working with male survivors.
 
 
As a professional who works with mostly women survivors it's hard to keep your own biases against males in check, since most often males are the aggressors. I worry that my biases inhibit my ability to effectively reach out or support male survivors the same as my female clients. This feels awful to say out loud, but it is the truth. I wish this wasn't the case, but I fear that it is. Any suggestions?
 
1.  KenF
 You need to find balance. The men who victimize women are a small percentage of men. However, when you experience so often comes up against them it clouds your experience of reality. There are also mothers who physically and sexually abuse their children. this does not cause you to be biased against all mothers. Looking at the reality that gender is not either a cause nor symptom may help.
 
2.  Howard Fradkin
 yes, get some good training. Attend the next MaleSurvivor conference next November. read some professional books, like Betrayed As Boys, by Richard Gartner. Watch the Oprah shows (200 men) or read autobiographies so you can develop the same degree of empathy you have for women. And remember, some men are abused by women. thank you for your honesty and request for help.
 
 
What do you suggest when working with teenage boys who may have drug addictions or legal problems?
 
1.  Howard Fradkin
 I assume you mean teenage boys who are survivors. It is important to achieve some degree of sobriety in order to address survivor issues, or else the teen may just use after every session to numb out the feelings that have just surfaced. It is important to validate the need to numb out, and to empathize with how tough it is to acknowledge and speak the truth about being abused.
 
 
What do you think can be done effectively to assist male sexual violence victims in the corrections systems throughout the United States?
 
1.  TMatthews
 The Prison Rape Elimination Act was initiated by the federal government several years ago. It has standards that jails and prisons are to comply with. In Florida it is also part of our accreditation standards. It won't stop it completely but it helps with identifying those to may victimize and keeps them seperate and those who are victims and offers them support and treatment.
 
2.  Howard Fradkin
 While this is outside my field of expertise, I believe it is important for the correctional system to train therapists to work with male survivors, as there are many. There are also many, many survivors of prison rape unfortunately, so the correctional system needs to do a better job of preventing prison rape, which only makes one's prison term even more difficult if you were not already a victim. And if you are, it is doubly traumatizing. Trained therapists can help inmates to speak their truth.
 
Return to Discussion