I was pointed to this article about how the internet helps abuse survivors on Twitter a few days ago, and made a note to read it in further detail later. As I did read it, one section jumped out at me.
?The study also revealed some interesting facts and three main overriding reasons why online resources were being used. These were:
the use of online anonymity to discuss issues, often shrouded in shame, that participants find difficult to discuss face-to-face in an offline environment;
the importance of being able to connect with others that have had similar experiences to one’s own that allow one to feel less isolated, whilst still retaining a level of anonymity; and
most interestingly, and contradicting the need for anonymity, the fact that there is little or no face-to-face or offline alternative to online support as a male survivor of childhood sexual abuse
Frankly, that response struck a cord with me, and reminded me of something I had an email discussion with a friend and fellow survivor, but had decided against writing about here at the time. Years ago, when I was still doing the whole therapy and trying various things to find support locally, I had a very difficult time finding any resources that were specific to me. I had to attend a therapy group of sexual abuse survivors where I was the only male in the group. (Yes, much of the other members anger wound up being directed at me, solely because I am male. I don’t blame them, that’s where they were in their healing and they needed to be able to express that somewhere, however I do blame a system that didn’t have any other options for me. )
Over the years, I had hoped things had changed, and I think they probably have to some degree, but I’ve been reminded on a few occasions over the last year or two that resources dedicated to male survivors are still very few and far between. Locally, where I was living at the time, there were some resources dedicated to male victims of abuse, but they were run by, and designed for, the local gay community. Not being gay, those resources would still be unavailable to me. For straight men, there’s really nothing. I fear that is the case in most places, inside and outside of the USA.
Thus, I’m glad that the internet allows us all to have the resources that will assist us in our healing. The technology allows us to have a myriad of choices in our healing, and allows you to find the ones that work for you. Maybe it can even help you find people local to you to communicate with, and develop some face to face support that you might not otherwise have. Even if that doesn’t happen, online support beats no support any time, any day!