Ontario funds services for male victims of sexual assault

Ontario recently announced a plan to create comprehensive network of services to specifically address the needs of male victims of sexual violence. The government will invest $2.2 million over two years to create the network. The network will include existing services that will coordinate to provide training and education to help male victims. This is one the few instances where a government chose to address the issue of sexual violence against males, and to my knowledge the only instance of a government investing millions of dollars to help male victims.

However, the move is not without its critics:

Yes, the provincial funding is a serious and, I’d suggest, sincere acknowledgement of the need to help male survivors of sexual abuse. But it’s only a trickle of funding. If men want more, they are going to have to fight for it, just like the women did and continue to do.

“You start somewhere and you see where the demand is. This is an estimate of what will be required,” said Chris Bentley, attorney general and London West MPP, who defended the new system while hinting the funding could rise as demand rises.

Bentley said the agencies were chosen based on their ability to help survivors. Somehow, with perverse irony, Bentley and others think the Roman Catholic church can help. For instance, the Men’s Project in Ottawa, a counselling centre many consider the role model for its work with male survivors, was rejected as the lead agency overseeing regional services. No, that job went to a Catholic-based agency.

Then there are the sexual assault centres that for decades ignored these men — and rightly so — to focus on women, that are now getting the funding, despite objections from some male survivors who say women’s centres are ill-suited and have mostly been unwilling to help in the past.

The latter is a troubling revelation because many of those centers may not actually use the funds to help male victims.  So far there has been no mention of any oversight to ensure the funds go where they are needed and, more importantly, mandated to go.

Another problem is that existing organization like the Men’s Project may get left to the side. The articles seems to suggest that these organizations may lose their funding as the money gets shifted to the broader network.

The glaring problem, however, is just how little money this adds up to:

Each region will receive about $215,000 a year and the province-wide crisis line will receive about $150,000 a year, the ministry said.

“The amount of funding doesn’t even scratch the surface of what is needed,” said John Swales, a London survivor and advocate.

Even a small agency such as Hearing Healing Hope of Owen Sound spends about $75,000 a year on helping a caseload of seven men. That agency received an award Thursday from the Ministry of the Attorney General for helping victims of crime.

Simply put:

“It’s less than a cup of coffee per survivor,” said Tom Wilken, founder of Silence to Hope. But he added, “a cup of coffee is better than no cup at all.”

At this stage, something is better than nothing. It took years to get to this stage, and the recent change occurred due to the hard work of  organizations like the Men’s Project, not organizations focused on helping women. Since the latter does not provide much assistance to male victims, even this small funding could go a long way to getting some men and boys the help they need. It is also possible that if the request for help is great that the Ontario government may increase the funding to meet the demand.

9 thoughts on “Ontario funds services for male victims of sexual assault

  1. I have serious doubts about catholics leading such an effort.
    They have pretty much proved not trustworthy enough to spearhead something like this.

  2. “Then there are the sexual assault centres that for decades ignored these men — and rightly so — to focus on women” – this makes me SO angry!!!

    What is so “right” about ignoring victims of violence???

  3. What is so “right” about ignoring victims of violence???

    I assume the author meant that because more women report abuse that it is “right” to focus on them rather than male victims. It is an illogical argument, but many people do agree with it.

  4. Toysoldier: “It is an illogical argument, but many people do agree with it.”

    Which makes me wonder to what extent is the human race worthy of being called “Enlightened” and “Empathetic”.

  5. Which makes me wonder to what extent is the human race worthy of being called “Enlightened” and “Empathetic”.

    Being the misanthrope that I am, I am not the best person to ask.

  6. Empathy is truly the operative word here. The problem is not a lack of empathy by the human race in general, but the existence of a gender specific lack of sensitivity to male emotional damage. “Fempathy” is the distinct predilection of women to only concern themselves with their own emotional needs. Hence the hegemony of the “women & girls” socio-political victim industry. Denial of male emotional damage is really an expectation of the same old “strong, silent type” chauvinette bigotry. This emotional repression has remained uncontested for ages. That is until now.
    Here’s a classic example of Fempathetic Denial. As I’ve mentioned before in Toysoldier posts, I spoke briefly from the audience for the very first show to deal with men who were sexually abused as children. When Oprah first started out she boldly dealt with the issue, and rarely, if ever, mentioned it again. Then recently, she finally brought up the topic with her “200 Man Show.” She tried to rewrite her own “herstory” by claiming it was the first show of it’s kind to deal with men abused as children. Either she’s lying, she’s stupid or the issue took 25 years to develop some resonance with her sense of fempathy. Oprah even had an O-gasmic revelation on the show’s pt.2, when she supposedly realized that she “had no idea abused men would have problems with intimacy,” or that child sexual abuse plays a huge factor in adult male criminal behavior. She knew better 25 years ago and chose to do nothing.
    The universal denial of maternal abuse and/or male childhood victimization, perpetuated by women like Oprah and her pals Eve Ensler, Gloria Steinem et al., provide ample reason for the President to intitiate the White House Council on Men and Boys. Because when it comes to “Men’s Issues,” men need to stop letting women do all the talking for us, when historically they’ve never had much to say.

  7. I’ll tell you one thing, the poor 17 year old victim in this story sure could use the support of the kind mentioned in this blog post.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/12/teenage-girls-assaulted-boy_n_848342.html

    The gist of it: Two teen girls lure a 17 year old disabled boy into their home and proceed to sexually torture and rape him at knife point.

    Even this disabled boy still gets people in the commentary sections smirking about his predicament.

    Toy Solder, can you do a blog entry on this article?

  8. I linked to it in my last Bulletin Board post. The lead girl was charged as an adult, while the other girl was charged as a juvenile. Even though the lead girl faces serious prison time, it is more likely that she will get to plead out and receive a lesser sentence. The other girl will probably walk away with nothing.

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