Mike Subritzky is a team of one committed to helping heal the unknown number of male sexual assault survivors in Taranaki.

Subritzky, a trained counsellor with a background in chaplaincy, runs Male Survivors Taranaki which falls under the national body Male Survivors Aotearoa.

He says statistics show 1 in 6 men have been sexually abused but it’s hard to know exact statistics as for many men it’s their darkest secret, and they never come forward.

Published in Stuff

“It’s a bit of a catch 22, the men won’t come forward when there’s no support, and they feel they don’t trust the system that’s in place, but we need them to come forward, so we know the impact.

“Unless the men disclose what’s at the root we are dealing with symptoms and the effects of, rather than the root cause.”

Subritzky said many have anger issues, relationship problems, and addictions but a lot of issues stem from sexual abuse.

He works from a Merrilands property which he specifically set up to offer counselling and group work for the men.

Over the last few months he has transformed it into a safe haven where the men can feel comfortable to visit.

“It’s about developing a brotherhood of men who have gone through similar experiences.

“If I can get our men talking more and telling their story and hearing other people’s story, that can bring about a certain amount of healing.”

Male Survivors Taranaki is complimentary to what Subritzky called the medical model.

It goes alongside things like ACC sensitive claims which connects victims with counselling and support.

“It’s a peer support model based on the men’s experience; so I’ve been saying to my guys that ‘you are the expert of your trauma and I need to learn from you’.

“It’s a combination of peer support and professional help, it might just be going to the beach for a barbecue and throwing a rugby ball around or it might be going for a bush walk.”

Subritzky was a Baptist minister for 13 years before entering the army as a chaplain where he stayed for 14 years and went to Timor and Afghanistan.

He then trained as a counsellor.

Subritzky has around 12 male clients who he works with on varying degrees and covers all of Taranaki.

No referral is needed and it’s a free service through Ministry of Social Development funding.

“You can have guys that are coping really well with life, holding down a job, solid relationship with children but every now and then get triggered.”

To get in touch with Male Survivors Taranaki contact Mike Subritzky on mikes@mstaranaki.nz or 027 444 0109.

By Stephanie Ockhuysen
Published in Stuff
24 Dec 2020