An open call
After a couple of months away from my blog, I’m jumping back in with a different type of entry, an open call to male survivors of sexual trauma and abuse. It is almost six years ago I founded the Groupwork programme at SurvivorsUK, a charity who then worked with men, boys and Trans people, who had survived sexual abuse. A few months ago, I left the charity, moved out of London and have started writing a book about the male experience of sexual abuse.
The book is aimed at supporting men in therapy or who may not have found therapy or support groups, either because they have anxiety about starting therapy or support may not be accessible to them for whatever reason. It is also for professionals and loved ones helping male survivors in their recovery journey.
What's the books elevator pitch?
The book consolidates collective knowledge of six years’ worth of men’s, boys and Trans & Non-binary people’s sexual abuse recovery groups. Like each group session, each chapter examines a prolific issue that effect male survivors and provides psychoeducation and interactive support sheets. The book is written through an intersectional lens, acknowledging that ethnicity, disability, class, sexuality, neurodiversity and gender is affected by sexual abuse differently. The book frames this within the context of societal and health inequalities. The book promotes connection, reduces stigma and makes psychoeducation accessible. It’s aimed at survivors and professionals interested in providing psychological support to male survivors.
What are you asking survivors to do?
I believe that in any research, support resource, publication or service design, there needs to be the voice of survivors, particularly men’s voices, who often get marginalised in conversations about sexual abuse. Therefore, I would like to invite male and transmasculine survivors to be a part of the book.
I would like one testimony from a different survivor per chapter. The testimony should be on the same theme as the chapter. For example, a chapter on Masculinity should have a testimony on what Masculinity means to a survivor. A chapter on Sex, Sexuality and Gender should be someone’s story about how abuse affected one of these issues for them.
Your testimony will be one of the most important parts of the book and the readers healing journey. You only need to pick one chapter and write 200 – 500 words on it.
You can be credited anonymously, only with your first name or with a fake name. The choice is yours. However, because the book is about different identities, I would like to mention certain things about your identity. This could be age, disability, neurodiversity, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, class etc. What few books there are on male sexual abuse talk about men and masculinity as if they are the same for every man. We know, of course, this is not true. Different identities experience masculinity and abuse differently. I believe this is important to acknowledge. This is why I ask to share this information about you and why I especially welcome anyone contributing from one or more minority community.
If I want to write a testimony, how do I get in contact?
1. Copy and paste this link into a search engine. It will take you to a Google Spreadsheet:
You will see a short blurb and four columns like this:
2. Put your initials in the empty column box next to the chapter topic you want to write about.
3. Then fill out how you would like to be credited in the appropriate column.
4. Let me know how you identify in the appropriate column.
5. Email me at email@example.com and let me know the theme you have picked and your initials. This way, you are not sharing your contact details with everyone else who will see this document.
If someone has already put their initials on the chapter you’d like to write about, try and find a second choice, if that is not an option, contact me to see if we can work something out.
What do I get from doing this?
The book is a labour of love I am not being paid for. Because of this I am asking people to do this voluntarily. While I can't pay for your testimony, I hope your testimony will:
Your testimony will reach many people. Fellow survivors will be able to read your words and not feel so alone. It may even be the thing that supports them to get further help.
Your testimony will help with representation. I can write the book from a therapists perspective who has extensive experience working in the field of sexual abuse and with different identities. I cannot (nor should I try) to write about it from anyone else's point of view. I want to highlight inequalities but allow people from different backgrounds to speak for themselves.
The book will also reach professionals. Many male survivors will have had negative or re-traumatising experiences with healthcare professionals. The book aims to educate and support healthcare professionals, introducing them to areas they may need further training in and hopefully improve services for all survivors of trauma.
You will know that what you have to say will be read and believed by many people.
What if I'm unsure?
If you would like to write something but are unsure or have questions, I am happy to have a conversation, just email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @JeremySachs_
Please feel free to share this with as many people as you'd like and I really look forward to hearing from you.