READER REPORT:

Fighting for male victims for sex abuse

KEN CLEARWATER
Last updated 05:00 13/01/2014

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I have been working with and supporting male victims of childhood sexual abuse and rape as adults since 1996.

Are there male victims of sexual violence in this country? Definitely. How big is the problem? We are not completely sure. There has never been any research done on the sexual victimisation of men and boys in New Zealand.

There is also a lack of or no research on female offenders in New Zealand.

Our agency, Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust (MSSAT), started in 1991 in Christchurch as a peer support group for male victim of childhood sexual abuse.

MSSAT throughout this country works with hundreds of men who as boys were sexually violated or raped by mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunties, uncles, family friends, priests, scoutmasters, caregivers and, on rare occasions, strangers.

There are now trusts in Christchurch, Auckland, Waikato, Wellington and Dunedin and there is a peer support group in Nelson.

The biggest issue in the last 17 years has been to get the needs of male victims recognised and to obtain the appropriate funding to help those affected.

Up until the end of last year all agencies in New Zealand struggled with funding and we are hoping the select committee into funding of the sector will change that.

In the meantime we battle on.

We will never know how many victims there are. We we can do is see the results of this abuse.

Many victims have issues with drugs and alcohol, relationship problems, some will end up in prison and many will mental health issues, some will become prostitutes and those who are unable to live with the shame and the guilt will take their own lives.

Can we change this? First as a nation we must accept we have an issue then we must make sure that the services are provided and funded properly.

Ken Clearwater is the national manager of the group Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse.


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