Reynhard Sinaga case: why male victims and survivors need their own support system

The crimes of Reynhard Sinaga described by prosecutors as “the most prolific rapist in British history” have shocked and horrified many people. But the case has also highlighted that rape doesn’t just happen to women.

Sinaga was jailed for a minimum of 30 years for 159 offences against 48 men who were lured to his Manchester flat, drugged and raped. Police believe that the total number of his victims is likely to exceed 190 men

Published in The Conversation

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Reynhard Sinaga’s conviction must shatter the myth that rape doesn’t happen to men

The recent conviction of Reynhard Sinaga, described by the media as the most prolific rapist in British history, has brought into public consciousness what for many had previously been invisible or inconceivable: the rape and sexual abuse of men.

When I was raped as an 18-year-old Manchester University student in circumstances uncannily similar to those in the Sinaga case, all the socialisation I’d been subjected to throughout my life told me that rape wasn’t something which happened to men. There was a part of me that knew that I had been the victim of sexual assault – yet it didn’t even occur to me to seek support or report it to the police. Even then, if I had sought help I suspect I would have struggled to find it considering local charities such as Survivors Manchester simply didn’t exist.

Published in The Guardian

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UK’s most prolific rapist gets life in prison for targeting 195 men

A man described as “the most prolific rapist in British legal history” has been sentenced to life in prison with a possible release after 30 years following his conviction for sexual offences against 48 men.

Authorities said the evidence against 36-year-old Reynhard Sinaga indicates he had many more victims, with roughly 195 men apparently having been filmed while being abused when they were in his apartment. Many were unconscious at the time.

Published in Stuff

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Focus on traumatized boys critical to gender equality, new research shows

TORONTO — Boys in poor urban areas around the world are suffering even more than girls from violence, abuse and neglect, groundbreaking international research published on Monday suggests.

The study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, along with similar new research, suggests an adequate focus on helping boys is critical to achieving gender equality in the longer term.

Published in CTV News

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From the Chairman’s desk, December 2019

Phillip Chapman, MSA Chair (Copyright ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ)

Kia ora koutou,
The end of 2019 provides a welcome opportunity to pause, reflect and re-energise as we approach a demanding schedule of work in the first half of 2020. This update highlights some of our achievements over the last six months, but it also signals some important and demanding initiatives that will focus the activities of Trustee and the leadership of our Member Organisations (MMO’s) going forward. Our key initiatives for the upcoming year include:

  • Launching our effectiveness for Māori strategy;
  • Establishing new MMO’s in Tai Tokerau, Taranaki and Gisborne;
  • Ensuring that MSA and all of our MMO’s achieve MSD Level 2 accreditation to enable
    future funding contracts;
  • Increasing awareness of our services through our communications program; and
  • Continuing our focus on the quality of our services and the education and training of our people.

It’s a very busy year ahead. I hope that you are able to take time out to enjoy the Holiday break with your families and friends.

My sincere thanks to my fellow trustees, and the trustees, management and staff of our MMO’s for all of your good work in ‘enabling the wellbeing of male survivors of sexual abuse’.

Effectiveness for Maori – Kia Maarire

2020 will see the realisation of an important strategic initiative (Kia Maarire) aimed at increasing the effectiveness of the support services offered by MSA and its MMO’s to Māori male survivors of sexual violence. The essence of the initiative is to enable and support the MSA Board and the leadership of its MMO’s to engage effectively with Māori Kaupapa Services and other Iwi-based services, fostering understanding and collaboration to achieve the best outcomes for Māori survivors who form more than 50% of our male survivor community.

To execute this strategic initiative MSA have established a Te Rōpu Tautoko that will operate as an advisory subcommittee to the MSA Board of Trustees. The founding members of the Te Rōpu Tautoko, appointed by the MSA Board, are:

  • Oliver Sutherland,
  • Ta/Sir Mark Solomon (Ngai Tahu, Ngati Kuri),
  • Shane Graham (Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Ranginui),
  • Dexter Traill (Ngati Kahungunu, Rangitane), and
  • Dr. Lorraine Eade (Ngati Toa, Ngati Rarua, Ngai Tahu).

MSA have established a new role – Pouarahi Māori (National Māori Coordinator) – and hope to make an appointment during the first quarter of 2020. This initiative will be critical in enabling and supporting MSA’s intention to expand its services network especially within regions where effective engagement with Māori service providers is essential, for example Te Tai Tokerau.

I would like to acknowledge Shane Graham, a member of the MSA Board, for initiating this strategy and also MSD for providing the funding to make it possible.

Service Development

Consistent with our ambition “to establish a sustainable national network of quality support services for male survivors in Aotearoa” we have been progressing a number of national initiatives. As anticipated in the June update, we opened the doors of our new Tauranga-based Service Centre in August.

The centre hosted two opening events which were well supported by local civic, health and social service organisations.

The last few months have been focussed on quietly establishing the centre with services intended to be fully active from February 2020. Male Survivors Bay of Plenty will initially provide peer- support and referral services for male survivors throughout the Bay of Plenty with the possibility of an extended service to Rotorua and Taupo in the future.

I would like to acknowledge the special contribution of Mike Holloway (Male Support Services Waikato) for initiating this venture and for his energy and commitment that has been a critical factor in establishing the centre.

We are also pleased to welcome Mosaic as a new Wellington-based MMO of MSA. Mosaic is an established organisation providing peer support and counselling services for children, adolescent and adult survivors of sexual abuse and brings a special focus on the University and LBGTQ communities in Wellington. Mosaic will be working alongside our other Wellington-based MMO – Male Survivors Wellington – to strengthen and expand the services available in the wider Wellington region.

Mosaic is also hosting a conference and symposium in February 10 -14, 2020 focussed on “Male Trauma and Sexual Abuse Recovery”, which will be led by a well-known trauma expert, Rick Goodwin. More information is available.

The MSA Trustees are also exploring opportunities to provide support services in other major other North Island centres where there is a high demand for male survivor support. Our current focus is on Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) with a support centre based in Kerikeri. Consultation with other service providers will take place in February 2020 with an objective of establishing the service centre in July.

We are also in discussion with interested parties in Taranaki with a view to establishing a new service centre in New Plymouth; and we are exploring options to develop a service centre in Gisborne.

Our Auckland-based service (Better Blokes) has recently established a new peer-support service in Manukau City in collaboration with the Salvation Army. This ia an important and welcome initiative to increase our engagement with Pasifika peoples in South Auckland.

A Fresh Focus on Communication

EXHIBITIONS: The Bristlecone project was an important participant in our first International (South-South) conference held in Christchurch in 2018. The photographs and stories of 23 survivors exhibited at the Canterbury Museum presented a confronting and yet engaging account of male survivors of sexual violence.

The Canterbury Museum have now gifted this exhibition to MSA and we plan to exhibit it around New Zealand over the next two years as part of our community engagement and survivor awareness strategy.

POSTER CAMPAIGNS: Using Bristlecone exhibition photographs and with the permission of the survivors we are creating a set of seven black and white A2 campaign posters that will support awareness campaigns to be launched in major centres over the next two years.

We are also publishing a set of A3 posters that we hope will help to encourage male survivors to seek help and support from our MMO’s across the country.

We will be releasing more new posters in the new year that reflect the diversity of our male survivor community. We hope to have posters featuring Māori and Pasifika survivors available in the first quarter of 2020.

If you want to obtain copies of these posters to display within your organisation please contact your nearest service centre.

BROCHURES: MSA have also recently published the following wallet size information brochures, initially for use by our Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Otago service centres. These brochures are designed for a multipurpose audience – to inform survivors and their supporters as well as organisations, colleagues, friends and potential supporters, about who we are and what we do.

Early in 2020 we will be publishing the first in a series of booklets to further inform male survivors about our services. The first publication titled Peer Support will provide information about this core service.

WEBSITES: MSA has also enabled the establishment of a new website for Male Survivors Bay of Plenty and the refreshment of the Male Survivors Otago website.

We welcome your feedback on these new/updated websites and any suggestions to improve them.

Peer Support Training

Group breakout session at MSA’s IPS Training HQ – the beautifully restored Fairfield House in Nelson

Intentional Peer Support (IPS) continues to be the essential strengths-based philosophy underpinning MSA’s peer support services. Another successful introductory course held in December with 18 participants takes the total number of peer workers trained in IPS to more than 55. However, this last course was a little different as for the first time it included four MSA sponsored participants from other organisations reflecting our intentions to work more closely with the crisis services; educate counsellors about peer support; and enable our Australian friends who work with survivors.

The 12 participants in our next IPS advanced course (February 2020), including some repeat participants, will mean that we now have more than 20 fully trained IPS peer workers supporting male survivors across New Zealand.

Our special thanks to Lisa Archibald and the training team from IPS Aotearoa NZ; to Ken Clearwater our course support person; and to Louis Chapman from The Male Room who facilities the Nelson venue and special travel arrangements. And, of course, thanks to our member organisations who have co-sponsored the training with MSA. It is quite an achievement that over the last two years we together have provided more than 75 IPS training opportunities for our peer workers.

The Ken Clearwater factor…

Following on from his Christchurch community award and his recognition in the Queen’s Birthday honours 2019 as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM), Ken Clearwater has again been recognised for his outstanding contribution to male survivors across New Zealand.

Ken has now been awarded the Canterbury Local Hero award, part of a national local hero programme that recognises outstanding contributions by individuals to their local communities.

As we have said previously, Ken has not only been the face of male survivors in New Zealand for nearly 30 years, he has driven essential changes that have helped countless men in New Zealand to access a recovery pathway towards a better future.
Congratulations (again) Ken!

MSA Research in progress…

Last year, MSA’s research team, led by our Trustee-Research, Associate Professor Louise Dixon, established a project to “Examine the journeys of adult male survivors of sexual abuse and the services they need: identifying effective practice and gaps from a ready model of peer support in New Zealand”.

The research design and ethical approvals were finally completed in July. The Research Team (Louise Dixon, Chris Bowden, Philip Chapman and David Mitchel) is currently engaged in recruiting survivors to complete a research questionnaire.

The interviews will then enable live interviews early in 2020. This has been a slower than expected process and our thanks to the 50 survivors that have participated so far. We would appreciate your help in encouraging more survivors to become engaged in this important research project.

All going well we expect to present the outcomes of the research at a special on-day Hui in November 2020.

Continuing focus on quality service

ACCREDITATION: MSA and all MMO’s are required to be compliant with MSD Level 2 Accreditation Standards by June 30 2020. Although a challenge for our smaller and emergent MMO’s this requirement will help to assure the quality of our peer-support services.

The Government’s 2019 budget assured funding for MSA and our MMO’s for the next three years from Fiscal21 – Fiscal23. However, this funding will only be available to organisations that have MSD level 2 accreditation. MSA is currently working with MSD to ensure that our published policies cover all level 2 requirements and are all level 2 compliant. This will assure our MMO’s that their required policy compliance under their membership agreements will also meet the level 2 standards. However, they will still need to demonstrate that they have the operational processes and procedures that are policy compliant.

Supporting this accreditation process will be an important focus for the MSA Board.

SUPERVISION: During the first quarter of 2020, MSA will perform its first policy review in collaboration with MMO’s. Assuring compliance with the MSA Supervision Policy will be the focus of the review, which recognises the critical importance of not only assuring the wellbeing of our managers and peer-workers, but also assuring the quality of our peer-support services and the safety and wellbeing of the male survivors in our care. The review emphasis will be on encouraging policy compliance but also looking for opportunities to improve the policy and associated supervision processes.

NEW POLICIES: Recent additions to MSA’s published policies include our Access & Equity policy and Working with Pasifika. We have also published a policy discussion paper on Working with Gangs.

On behalf of my fellow trustees,
Noho ora mai

Phillip Chapman
Chair

Ngā mihi o te wā me te Tau Hou

Move to lift Catholic clergy sex abuse secrecy is too late, survivor says

A New Zealand church abuse survivor says the Vatican’s decision to abolish secrecy clauses for Catholic clerical sex crime cases is “far too late”.

Pope Francis this week announced “pontifical secrecy” would no longer apply to child abuse complaints. The decision meant abuse victims and witnesses would be freed from confidentiality obligations.

New Zealand author Mike Ledingham​ said the Papal announcement was “bull”, many years overdue, and a reaction to the perception churches could no longer dodge being held to account for child abuse.

Published in Stuff

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What is known about effective recovery services for men who have been sexually abused?

This literature review brings together current evidence about effective approaches to support men who have been sexually abused (as children and/or adults) in their journey of recovery. The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) commissioned this literature review to inform service planning. Because of the limited evidence base we have taken a broad exploratory approach to examine what is known about supporting men, and what is considered emerging good practice.

Read article (PDF)

From the Ministry of Social Development
October 2019

A sex abuse survivors advocate says sexual offence laws need to change

A 37-year-old woman has been jailed for two-and-a-half-years for sexually abusing students while she taught at Marlborough Boys’ College.

She could only be charged with sexual conduct with a person under 16, not anything more serious.

Male Survivors Aotearoa national advocate Ken Clearwater says they’ve been lobbying for changes for more than 20 years.

He says ACC refused to pay male victims in 1998 because the law didn’t count females sexually abusing men.

By Newstalk ZB
Published in NZ City
18 December 2019

Hundreds of Kiwi children harmed while in the care of Oranga Tamariki

Nearly 500 babies, children and teenagers in Oranga Tamariki care experienced physical, emotional and sexual harm, and neglect in just one year.

The first full annual report on harm in care by Oranga Tamariki, released on Wednesday, showed 5.6 per cent of children in state care (or 464 children) were not kept safe in the year ending June 30.

The report, titled Safety of Children in Care, says 6590 children and young people in Oranga Tamariki’s custody were kept safe and “had the support they needed to ensure they could thrive and flourish in loving homes”.

Published in Stuff

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Research report: LGBTQI experiences of seeking help and justice in the wake of sexual harm

Within Aotearoa/New Zealand’s justice system and help-providing professions, little is known or understood about LGBTQI experiences of sexual harm. In this research report, which is based on research I conducted as part of my Masters of Public Policy, I demonstrate that institutional and legal frameworks, as well as wider societal understandings of sexual violence, create intersecting barriers to help-seeking and justice for LGBTQI people who have experienced sexual harm.

Read research article