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November 30, 2011 / charityprofiles

Surviving The Inner Storm

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is among the most maddening of society’s afflictions. It’s very difficult to discuss, it’s largely misunderstood, and its survivors are left to carry the trauma and damage of their experiences for a lifetime. Without diminishing this issue as it pertains to female victims, sexually-abused males often have an even heavier load to bear, in that this crime often robs a man of his masculinity, leaving him without many of the character traits and strengths necessary for a man to perform the important gender functions of his life.

There is a place on the internet for such men: Male Survivor. MS was conceived in Minnesota’s psychology community in the late 1980s, as a support group for male victims of CSA. In 1995, MS expanded its outreach and support to the internet, where today it hosts a thriving community of CSA survivors.

It may not seem terribly profound, but Male Survivor’s discussion boards and chat rooms provide the only outlet of communication on this difficult subject for hundreds, if not thousands, of men. The power to openly communicate their feelings about their past, and how it affects their present and future, is immeasurable. After all, CSA is not exactly a hit topic at Thanksgiving dinner.

MS even provides a chat room and a discussion board for friends and family members of abuse survivors. Male Survivor also directs survivors to a wealth of resources for self-help and self-improvement, including references to in-person support groups and professional therapy options.

That Male Survivor currently lists nearly ten thousand members on its discussion board is a testament to the sad legacy of this horrible crime. Simultaneously, that’s nearly ten thousand men that are making at least the minimum of effort to help themselves, and for that, Male Survivor is a godsend to every community in which those men work and live.


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