New? Update – July 22, 2005
These are indeed interesting,
exciting, and often distressing times. There is much to be concerned about
and also much that is encouraging.
This belated update
will be longer than usual. So much has been happening that I want to take
the time for a more complete report. I’ll do this in no particular
order - just as topics occur to me. Anything I omit will have to wait
until another update.
A number of new or
updated resources will be included in the following paragraphs, and some
additional new resources will be mentioned toward the end of this column.
I was in London
during the July 7th bombings and their aftermath. It was sad to be part
of a city in trauma - not unlike being in New York during and after the
9/11 disaster. I was heartened, however, by the cooperation, resolve,
and, yes, heroism demonstrated by so many Londoners.
One of these heroes
is Lil, a brilliant woman who works with the Colchester Rape Crisis
Line. Lil, who participated in both Healing the Healers retreats
in the UK, was a passenger on one of the trains that was hit. Uninjured
herself, she stayed on the train to help care for the wounded until the
paramedics arrived. With characteristic modesty Lil didn’t tell
me about that part - someone else let me know about her heroism.
I’ve met many
heroes over the past few months. I’ll tell you about some of them
in this column.
In late May and early
June I was in New Zealand conducting a series of day
long professional trainings - in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch
- sponsored by Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care (DSAC).
These were followed by a residential weekend workshop for male survivors
in the magnificent countryside outside of Christchurch on the South Island.
I had the good fortune to spend time with old friends in New Zealand,
and to meet new ones. Here are some of the highlights:
-Meeting a Maori
(indigenous New Zealand native) woman who came to the Auckland training
from the far north of the country. She spoke about working exclusively
within her own family/tribe and the specific requirements of living
and working within one’s own family and cultural group. We talked
of the special needs when working with different ethnicities, linguistic,
and subcultures - and how important it is to examine and question eurocentric
the trainings included a good number of people from non-European backgrounds.
Their contributions to the discussions were especially valuable.
-The visit to New
Zealand provided a mini-reunion for some of us who were at last year’s
Healing the Healers Retreat in Yorkshire, UK: Ann Williamson
from Leeds and Naoko Miyaji from Tokyo - as well as
New Zealand’s own Ken Clearwater. It was good
to see them, continue to learn from their diverse perspectives and experiences,
and see once again how we are forging an international network of survivors
and those who care about them.
to Japan, Naoko spoke on the radio about her experiences
in New Zealand. It is well worth listening to. It offers a perspective
that is different from the more common eurocentric assumptions. To listen
to it, go to http://cner.law.hit-u.ac.jp/audio
Then click on the link Audio:Trauma and Colonialism.
(I’m afraid I can’t help you if you aren’t able to
open the audio link. I don’t know enough about computers to make
useful suggestions. Perhaps it would be best to ask a 10 year old. Good
was also in New Zealand during this trip. He met with a number of professionals
around issues of sexual abuse by clergy - including a faculty member
at a major divinity school.
Ken Clearwater organized the male survivors weekend workshop. As far
as I know this was the first such event in the Southern Hemisphere.
It was certainly my first one. But I doubt that it will be the last.
Ken is thriving, as is his organization, Male Survivors of Sexual
Abuse Trust (MSSAT). Ken has been speaking out against injustice
wherever he encounters it. As you might expect, he encounters resistance
- but my money is on Ken. He is too powerful and dedicated to be defeated.
And he is being joined by more and more allies. Check out the link to
MSSAT’s Web site on my Resources page.
-Men came to the
weekend workshop from as far away as Western Australia. Three brilliant
men from Perth (Western Australia) and one from Darwin (Northern Territory)
provided a strong Aussie flavor to the mix of Kiwis (and a lone Yank).
Also adding to the power was the presence of two Maori warriors. We
were edified and moved by hakas (look it up) and speeches,
songs, and blessings in the Maori language. The sense of brotherhood
-And speaking of
heroes, here’s an example of how survivors let nothing stand in
the way of getting the resources they need: One of the men was on a
bus from Dunedin to Christchurch on his way to the workshop. The bus
driver fell asleep, and this man commandeered the bus and drove it on
to Christchurch. The police and bus company officials could hardly punish
him, as the other passengers hailed him as a hero. I can’t disagree.
Another participant from Invercargill drove over 8 hours through snowstorms,
over closed roads, and disregarded police warnings to get to the workshop.
outcome of this weekend is the commitment by the men from Western Australia
to organize a male survivor weekend there in 2007. Watch this site for
details - and save your pennies for the trip. It will be a great event
in a beautiful part of the world.
-Plans are also
underway to begin a male survivor group in Darwin. If you know people
who might be interested in either of these events (either as organizers
or participants), please let me know.
I always love visiting
New Zealand. It is a stunningly beautiful country with wonderful people
and fascinating cultures. I look forward to my next visit.
I was home less than
two weeks (barely enough time to recover from jet lag) catching up with
all the work that piled up in my absence, when I left for England.
UK events were as powerful, profound, and challenging
as last year’s. Again organized by Bob Balfour
of Survivors West Yorkshire and Purple Phoenix,
Healing the Healers 2 and Victims No Longer 2
were held at a lovely setting in Cumbria (The Lake District) outside the
village of Grasmere.
Participants in HTH2
were exactly evenly divided between people who had attended last summer’s
retreat and newcomers. It was a wonderful reunion for the veterans, and
the newcomers held their own and quickly became old friends. We had roughly
equal numbers of women and men, and people came from all over England
as well as from Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, and the
United States. Powerful, creative work was done and there was lots of
fun as well:
-Six people attended
from Glasgow, Scotland. They have created a new counseling
service for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse who are aged 18
or over. It is called Thrive. You can contact them
They are a wonderful, diverse bunch, and I’m sure will be making
a powerful impact.
-Two men who attended
are starting a male survivors group in Oslo, Norway.
They, too, are impressive, dedicated individuals. There is no Web site
yet, but I’ll post it as soon as there is. For further information
contact Torbjørn Herlof Andersen at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Jan Bjarne Sodal at email@example.com
people attended from Aberystwyth in North Wales.
They are excited about their new building and many services offered
by their organization, Mind Aberystwyth: http://www.mind.org.uk/Mind+in+your+area/Regions/cymru/Aberystwyth.htm
of Survivors Sheffield facilitated an important day
on professional and survivor activism.
-For the second
year we had six powerful women representing the Colchester Rape
Crisis Line: http://www.crcl.org.uk/
. Four were returnees from last summer; two were new. All of them reminded
us of how awe-inspiring this group is.
And, again, we had
three people from Rugby R.O.S.A.: http://survivorguide.co.uk/default.asp
R.O.S.A. is preparing an important new guide for survivors.
I’ll provide information when it is available, or check their
Web site. Among the group was Fay Maxted of R.O.S.A.
and Survivors Trust. Fay (another hero and a force
of nature) said that she wants to see me offer a weekend similar to
Victims No Longer but for men and women survivors together. I told her
that I would be happy to do that if she co-leads it with me. She agreed.
So plans are underway for this event - probably next year. I’ll
keep you posted.
The locations aren’t
yet set for future HTH and VNL events in the UK, but some possibilities
are under consideration. Don’t be surprised if future years bring
workshops and retreats in Norway, Ireland, and Switzerland.
No Longer men’s weekend was also powerful and offered many
challenges. As with HTH, participants came from many parts of England,
Scotland, and Ireland, and also Spain, Brazil (via Chicago) Florida (via
London) and Trinidad (via London). Feelings were expressed, memories were
encountered, creativity was presented, alliances were established, and
difficulties were encountered. I was honored to be part of this group
of men and look forward to meeting each of them again. And the environment
can’t be faulted. If you want a lovely place to stay - for a holiday,
retreat, or family vacation, you could do a lot worse than this Quaker
operated country guest house, Glenthorne: http://www.glenthorne.org/
A happy surprise was the quality of the food and the helpful, sunshiny
international staff. There are magnificent walks and hikes just off the
Glenthorne property. I’d return in a heartbeat.
After the events in
the Lake District, I was able to visit the folks in Aberystwyth, and Coventry/Rugby.
All dedicated, loving people doing important work.
My last several days
in the UK were spent with friends in London, and, as I said earlier, I
was there during the bomb attacks. Several days after the bombings I went
with two good friends (one of them Steve Bevan of Survivors
Swindon) to visit a London mosque that was having an open house
for the community. We felt strongly that they needed and deserved a show
of support (in the face of over 70 reported incidents of anti-Muslim backlash
following the bombings). It was a moving and informative experience. The
more we break down barriers between people and cultures, the better our
chances for peace and healing.
I returned to Boston
on a Sunday and four days later Thom Harrigan and I left for the VOICES
in Action 25th Anniversary Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio: http://www.voices-action.org/
(I’m no longer sure where I am or in what time zone - but it’s
all good.) Thom presented a workshop on clergy sexual abuse,
and I did a gathering for male survivors and an address to the conference
called “Heroes”. I collect heroes in my travels
(they are valuable, duty free, and take up no room in my baggage). The
Conference was inspiring. Here are just a few highlights:
has expanded its focus beyond survivors of incest to welcome survivors
of all types of sexual abuse and trauma. I applaud this greater inclusiveness.
-It was impressive
to see more African-American people at this year’s conference
than in previous years - and than at most survivor-based organizations.
VOICES is committed to reaching out to more male survivors in general
and African-American men in particular, as well as members of other
minority groups. The growth and maturity of VOICES over the past 25
years is inspiring.
-In her stirring
plenary address, “All Survivors Have Voices”,
Holly Sowells-Jenkins, the President of VOICES, employed
her wit and wisdom to challenge survivors to move out of a victim identity
and take responsibility for their own lives and healing.
-Author and journalist
Robin D. Stone http://www.robinstone.com/home.asp
spoke movingly of her own history and how it led to her writing the
ground-breaking book No Secrets, No Lies: How Black Families
Can Heal from Sexual Abuse (2004 New York: Broadway Books).
Shelton showed her fascinating documentary “Searching
for Angela Shelton” http://www.searchingforangelashelton.com/
and gave a hugely rousing and enjoyable keynote address. Don’t
miss seeing this startling, important film - and seeing Angela Shelton
if you have the opportunity.
-Another fine resource
from another fine person who attended the conference is Ophelia’s
Love: Breaking the Silence. Check it out at http://www.opheliaslove.org/
-There was a strong
presence at the Conference of the Cincinnati chapter of Bikers
Against Child Abuse (BACA). I’m not kidding. Check out
their Web site for more information about these dedicated folks: http://www.bacausa.com/
-And there was lots
more going on in Cincinnati. People did their own work and got together
for fun. Lots of wonderful singing, dancing, and other creativity.
Now I’m back
in Boston with no major trips planned for a while. I’m catching
up on a number of things - including this column. Then, the first week
of August, I’ll be at Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
in Rhinebeck, New York: http://www.eomega.org/
They generously invited me there for a week-long personal retreat. I’ll
be doing a brief workshop for their staff, but otherwise I will get to
relax and be taken care of in beautiful, supportive surroundings. Do I
sound like I’m looking forward to it?
On the following weekend,
August 12-14th, Thom Harrigan and I will be offering
the 15th annual male survivor weekend recovery workshop
at Kirkridge Retreat Center in Pennsylvania’s beautiful
Pocono Mountains. The event is filling up quickly, so if you are interested
in attending, please don’t wait too long to register or you may
not get in. For information and registration contact Kirkridge or the
Events page of this Web site.
26th I’ll be in Newark, Delaware, giving
a three hour professional workshop on “Sexual Victimization
of Males” at the two day 11th Annual Conference
of the Criminal Justice Council. This conference is open to all
and is incredibly inexpensive (just $30 for two days including lunch and
continental breakfast). For information and registration contact Corrine
Pearson at Corrine.Pearson@state.de.us
And in early October
I’ll be in Oklahoma City for another conference
(see the Events page for details).
In addition to Robin Stone’s book, there are some other new releases
I’d like to bring to your attention.
to let you know that Richard Hoffman’s stunning,
important book Half the House: A Memoir will
soon be re-released by New Rivers Press in a new, expanded edition.
You can order it from Amazon.com or from your local bookstore.
I recently read
another impressive memoir by a male survivor - Martin Moran’s
The Tricky Part: One Boy’s Fall from Trespass into
Grace. (2005 - Boston:Beacon Press). Moran is an actor
and playwright who has written a deeply personal but universally accessible
account of sexual child abuse, denial, awareness - and triumph. I highly
recommend it. He has written a play with the same title. Search on “The
Tricky Part” or “Martin Moran” for information about
where it is being performed.
Gartner’s Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge
of Your Life after Boyhood Sexual Abuse (2005 - Hoboken,
NJ: Wiley) is currently available in hard cover.
Resources: The Men’s Resource Center Coalition has
recently changed its name to Men’s Resources International.
You can learn more about them and their work at: http://www.mensresourcesinternational.org/
more, but doing this update has taken most of a day, so I’ll end
it for now. I wish you all well. Peace-Justice-Healing-Love.
to list of other old updates