Research on men abused as children welcomed

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2012
Ken Clearwater
Ken Clearwater

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A "well-overdue" study on men sexually abused during childhood has been launched by Otago University.

It is the first national research project to look into male sexual-abuse victims, and some survivors hope it will raise awareness on an "ignored area of pain".

Dunedin School of Medicine clinical psychologist Tess Patterson started the investigation into sexual-abuse risk, resiliency and treatment factors this year.

The project will cover the impact and consequences of male childhood sexual abuse, support systems, and sexual offending by victims.

One Christchurch sexual-abuse survivor who has been involved in the research said it was "bloody hard" to openly talk about his experience, but he was "actually quite stoked" someone was taking an interest.

The 42-year-old man, who wanted to remain anonymous, was sexually abused between age 11 and 15.

He went on to have "difficulties dealing with life", got involved with drugs and alcohol and spent many years in prison.

"You look at yourself and think you are weak and hopeless that you let it happen in the first place.

"So for a male to come forward and admit that kind of stuff, it's a pretty heavy thing," he said.

"In my opinion, people need to be aware about this. It doesn't just happen in storybooks and it's important someone does something for us males. We really need it."

Christchurch-based Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust manager Ken Clearwater has been pushing for research for years and was pleased it was under way.

He said most of New Zealand's sexual-abuse research was targeted towards women, and it was "well overdue" for someone to focus on male victims.

Clearwater, who was raped at the age of 12, said he had no support systems after the offence and he did not believe much had changed for male victims in the past four decades.

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- The Press

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