Few male survivors of sexual abuse are seeking help in the wake of Leaving Neverland, Better Blokes says.

Philipe Eyton is the North Shore facilitator for the Auckland-based organisation, which works with male sexual abuse victims.

Eyton said the documentary #Mentoo, which screened on TV in 2018, encouraged some male viewers to seek help but Leaving Neverland, which detailed the alleged abuse of two boys at the hands of Michael Jackson, had little response.

Published in Stuff

He said that was concerning as figures, based on 16.66 per cent on the population, showed there were about 140,000 men in Auckland who were victims of sexual abuse.

Help Auckland says one in seven boys may be sexually abused by the time they are adults. 1in6.org says at least one in six men have been sexually abused or assaulted.

In the 10 years Better Blokes has been running, it had only worked with 500 victims, Eyton said.

“Those are pretty discouraging numbers and unfortunately men hold onto the pain and the grief, the shame, the guilt and everything else that goes with that for 40 or 50 years.”

Asking for help was not something men were very good at, Eyton said.

“We [think we] are hunters and gatherers, we are staunch, we are strong, we don’t need to cry on a mate’s shoulder, we don’t need to expose our feelings.

“We can hide those and not be affected by it, but in fact, we are severely affected by it in the form of addiction and even suicide.

“Encouraging men to come out and speak up about the trauma that was caused by the abuse is our main objective.”

Eyton himself was sexually abused at the age of 8 through to 11.

He said the trauma and effects of the abuse still haunted him.

He was abused by three different people close to the family. He never confronted his abusers out of fear of confrontation and he never reported it.

“I knew I shouldn’t have been doing what I was doing, however I wasn’t the one doing the doing, someone else was doing that,” Eyton said.

“For me it generated a whole feeling of fear, absolute fear that if someone like my father found out about it, what were the consequences going to be?”

Eyton said it was only 20 years ago that he started seeking help – although he didn’t originally know what he was seeking help for.

His real healing began four years ago when he started working with Better Blokes and helping others to deal with their trauma, he said.

Better Blokes is a free face-to-face service that supports male survivors all throughout Auckland and in Northland.

WHERE TO GET HELP

Better Blokes – 09 889 2553 or manager@betterblokes.org.nz

Rape Prevention Education – 09 360 4001 or info@rpe.org.nz

Victim Support – 0800 842 846 or nationaloffice@victimsupport.org.nz

Safe to talk – 0800 044 344 or text 4334 or support@safetotalk.nz

By Danielle Clent
Published in Stuff
26 March 2019