Normalizing the Conversation: Male Sexual Trauma

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – More than 40 community professionals including staff from Santa Barbara County Behavioral Wellness, psychologists and local therapists recently gathered for a one-day training hosted by Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA). The training, led by clinician and trainer Rick Goodwin, MSW, RSW, focused on how men may respond differently to sexual trauma and how providers working with male survivors can be sensitive and responsive to their specific needs. This was the first time that the 1in6 “It Happens, It Matters: Male Sexual Trauma and the Recovery Process” training has been offered in the Santa Barbara County. 

1in6 has been providing services and support for male survivors of sexual abuse and assault for over 10 years with the mission of helping them lead fulfilling lives. Researchers have found that at least 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual abuse or assault, whether in childhood or as adults. Male survivors of sexual abuse and assault often face stigmatization when disclosing their experiences. According to Mathew Ennis, President and Chief Executive Officer of 1in6, “the stigmatization experienced is an effect of the intersection between male socialization and male victimization”. By generating misconceptions that men cannot be raped, the strict socialization of the male gender serves to devalue or discredit male sexual abuse trauma. The work done by 1in6 validates the experiences of male survivors and offers them support through healing. More information on the services and support provided by 1in6 can be found at www.1in6.org. Likewise, STESA staff are trained to work with males impacted by sexual trauma and counseling services are available.

Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA) has been providing counseling and support services since 1974 to the communities of Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Isla Vista, and the San Ynez Valley. STESA supports sexual assault survivors of every gender identity through crisis intervention and subsequent stages of healing. We are also committed to changing attitudes and perceptions that create an environment where sexual assault is tolerated through our prevention education programs. Please visit our website at www.sbstesa.org, for more information about our services and programs, or call (805) 963-6832. Confidential and bilingual services are also offered through the 24-hour Hotline (805) 564-3696.

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