1in6 and RAINN recently co-created a service to allow male survivors to talk with each other and professionals online:
Male survivors of childhood sexual abuse have a new way to find support and community online. 1in6 has partnered with RAINN to launch the Peer SupportGroup (PSG), a new online service for peer-to-peer support among male survivors. This is the second online support service launched by this dynamic partnership, beginning with the Online SupportLine in 2009.
“What started as a dream, where we would be able to provide anonymous, safe, and therapeutically-sound support groups to men in real-time, has become a reality,” said Steve LePore, founder and Executive Director of 1in6.
The first Peer SupportGroup session took place in early October 2015, with positive reviews from both users and moderators. The service functions similar to a group chat, where male survivors of childhood sexual abuse can support other men in their journey of trauma recovery. Men from all over the country can chat back and forth with one another and share their experiences during a 90-minute online session. Each session is moderated by a licensed clinician who provides therapeutically-sound guidance and a “gatekeeper” who has gone through extensive training to ensure the anonymity and safety of every participant.
This an awesome move. Forums like MaleSurvivor provide some instant support with its chat rooms. However, I think having a professional moderating the space makes it a much better experience. It can reduce some of the hesitancy and tension that happens in chats. It is can also prevent any altercations that occasionally occur. I think most important is that it will provide the men with some helpful information from people who treat male survivors.
It appears that 1in6 is handling the day-to-day functions while simply using RAINN’s technology platform. I think that is important because over the years RAINN has done little to assist male survivors on a large scale. The organization often takes a disinterested view of the issues male survivors face unless the topic is in the news. Certainly the information they have on their site and their willingness to track how their partnered rape centers treat male survivors needs improvement.
The Peer SupportGroup sessions will be available to a limited extent:
Men can access the Peer SupportGroup during 90-minute sessions every Tuesday and Wednesday. These sessions are currently limited to 12 users per group to ensure that each participant receives the attention and security they deserve. Visit 1in6.org to learn more.
For those looking for a more continuous service, 1in6 still provides the Online SupportLine. This is a one-on-one chat service for those looking for information and resources. This is available 24 hours a day. For those looking for a support community, I would suggest MaleSurvivor’s forums. They are very supportive, and it can often help to hear from other people who experienced the same thing you did.