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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Looking For A Few Good Men...

About a year ago, Tyler Perry appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show with 200 men that shared devastating stories of being molested and sexually abused by family, friends, and trusted adults. According to national studies, 14% of reported rapes involve men and boys as victims and 1 in 6 reported sexual assaults are against males. Unfortunately, studies also report that less than 2% of male victims ever seek services. This show opened a door to a conversation many are fearful to process or admit: that men can be victims. There are many false beliefs out there that male victims are gay or tend to be weaker or inferior. The truth is that sexual violence, whether the victims be male or female, is motivated by the desire to dominate and use sex as a weapon against the victim. Moreover, the majority of perpetrators are heterosexual men.

Certainly, it was challenging for the viewing audience to see Mr. Perry and those 200 men speak out about how other men took advantage of them. We are often socialized to believe men are strong, invulnerable, and in control of their bodies, which creates a culture that narrowly defines manhood and excludes men as victims. This is the reason so few male victims seek services or much less share what has happened to them, even with those they trust. Still, male victims experience feelings of guilt, powerlessness, shock, anger/rage, flashbacks, humiliation, concerns about sexuality, and finding sufficient resources or support.

At MOCSA over this past year, we have seen a steady increase in male victims showing up at hospitals, seeking support on our crisis line, and requesting counseling services. Maybe it's related to Oprah's show and maybe not. Regardless, we want to make sure these victims/survivors are provided the same opportunity for support as we have been able to provide for women over the years. We are in great need of a few good men to volunteer and be trained as male advocates to meet this growing demand. MOCSA's next volunteer training starts October 17th and provides over 40 hours to prepare volunteers for supporting victims in crisis and hospital situations. If you are interested, please contact Beth Schild at 816-285-1373 or follow this link to apply online to volunteer for MOCSA. As our motto goes, "Someone you know needs MOCSA, and MOCSA needs you."

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