Abbotsford Community Services (ACS) has started a new program for male survivors of sexual abuse or assault.
Healing for Men offers free and confidential counselling sessions through a master’s-level intern supervised by an experienced trauma counsellor.
Clients can be assured of confidentiality and do not need to share the details of their abuse history unless they are ready to do so.
Asli Kucukbumin, supervisor of the Abuse Counselling and Support Services at ACS, said this service helps cover a previously missing gap in treatment options for adult male survivors.
“There is still a nation-wide gap in services that we want to address with our Healing for Men program,” she said.
“First, we would like to see this program receive sustainable funding and later to ensure that similar programs are funded across Canada so that all survivors, regardless of gender, can be supported.”
Kucukbumin said that although abuse can happen at any age, statistics show that one in six boys will experience sexual abuse by the age of 18.
She said male survivors face additional challenges in obtaining help due to social stigmas. Experiences of trauma may manifest in anxiety, depression, withdrawing from relationships, or anger management challenges.
“We want men and women impacted by sexual trauma to know that they are not alone, there’s nothing wrong with them and that things can get better,” she said.
A former male therapy client encourages others to seek help.
“Counselling at Abbotsford Community Services helped transform my life from being stuck to a life of purpose, meaning and happiness,” he said.
Those interested in the service are asked to contact Ratha Chek at ACS at 604-859-7681 (ext. 213) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.