This PSA was created by Our VOICE supporter Kayleigh Rhatigan.
The One In Six Men’s Program was launched in response to the growing number of adult male survivors of sexual violence seeking Our VOICE counseling services.
The One In Six Men’s Program provides a licensed male counselor who works one-on-one and in groups with male survivors of sexual assault and abuse. The counselor will also be conducting outreach in the community and partnering with agencies to support the mission of the program.
In 2001 the counseling staff at Our VOICE worked one male client; by 2011 this number had jumped to over 40. Several men who participated in an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show contacted Our VOICE in 2010 to have a screening at The Fine Arts Theater. That groundbreaking episode can be found here. The bravery of these men combined with the growing need for services prompted Our VOICE to seek funding for the One In Six Men’s Program.
Overcoming the stigma around sexual assault to provide effective outreach and counseling is challenging. When addressing the problem of male sexual abuse this challenge doubles. According to The National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization, males under-report for fear of being questioned or ridiculed about their sexuality. Male survivors often face differential treatment by police officers and hospital personnel. Males often fear that people will assume they are weak or homosexual, particularly if the perpetrator is also male. Male rape threatens traditional masculine gender roles of being aggressive, strong, and sexually driven. The NC Department of Justice defines rape as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” Male rape falls under a First Degree Sexual Offense and involves any “sexual act” thus softening the definitions, limiting data on male survivors, and associating male rape as a less severe crime.
Public exposure of the issue of male sexual abuse such as in the Penn State Sandusky case and Boy Scout/Catholic Church abuse cases can be the silver lining for those who have experienced abuse as it helps to decrease the shame and fear a male survivor may feel.Our VOICE believes that everyone deserves the right to be free from sexual violence; we are willing to work within the challenging framework because we believe male victims of sexual violence deserve the right to heal.
To learn more about this program, schedule an appointment with the counselor, or sign up for a support group, please contact Our VOICE at (828) 252-0562.