Boys and Men Healing: A Review by Roger Canaff

Edited and Reviewed By Roger Canaff – Column Editor

The International Association of Forensic Nurses, ‘On The Edge’

The journey toward healing as a male survivor of child sexual abuse is one that often lasts years if not decades. It is also a grueling process, involving acquiring insight, being frank with others — and one-self above all — and requiring remarkable courage. These attributes and the process they facilitate have been showcased tenderly but powerfully in a new video called Boys and Men Healing, produced by Kathy Barbini and Simon Weinberg of Big Voice Pictures.

Boys and Men Healing focuses on three men in particular and highlights the process all three went through in order to move forward from truly horrific abuse suffered as boys and at the hands of older males. One of the perpetrators was a priest, one was a family member, and one was a boarder in his mother’s home. All three men are different in terms of backgrounds and circumstances, but strikingly similar in terms of the impact the abuse had on each of them, and the struggles all have endured to overcome the effects and live fuller lives. The men speak sometimes on camera, and sometimes in the background, as photographs associated with their memories of the time are shown. The images give further texture and context to these already powerful and plainspoken narratives. One of the men featured is shown discussing legislation that would lengthen the time an abuse survivor can bring a civil claim against the abuser. He was personally involved in the effort to get this legislation passed.

Another one of the men is David Lisak, a psychologist who is among the foremost and acclaimed researchers in the field of interpersonal violence, and sexual violence in particular. His account of finally revealing to his mother the details of the abuse he suffered as child is especially compelling. The third man talks about the protective and indeed life-saving effect his grandmother had on him, even though she never discussed the abuse with him. All three men speak with disarming honesty and frankness about their memories of the abuse itself, the dark periods in their lives that followed, and the process of healing they have undergone. Supportive spouses, partners and friends are also described in the context of each man’s journey.

In addition to the accounts of the three men highlighted in the film, other male survivors also appear, giving the viewer a glimpse at the dynamics of a male survivor support group. By the end of the video, the viewer gets a deep sense of who these men have fought to become, both because of and in spite of the sexual abuse and exploitation they suffered. Because of its high production quality, textured presentation, and the truly honest and sincere accounts of the men involved, Boys and Men Healing is a deeply valuable tool for anyone wanting to know more about this horrific phenomenon and its long and painful aftermath.

To order copies of the DVD, please visit the website for Big Voice Pictures athttp://www.bigvoicepictures.com/. Prices vary, depending on whether the DVD will be used for private use, counseling or organizational purposes, or public showings. Detailed information can also be found on the main page for the Boys and Men Healingat: http://www.bigvoicepictures.com/boys-and-men-healing/.

Roger Canaff a widely known child protection and anti-violence against women advocate, legal expert, author and public speaker. A career Special Victims prosecutor, he has devoted his legal career to the eradication of violence against women and children. He has worked as a prosecutor in Alexandria, Virginia, the Bronx, New York, and as an Assistant Attorney General with the state of New York as well as a Senior Attorney with the National District Attorneys Association. In June 2009, he became a Highly Qualified Expert with the US Army, training and advising military prosecutors on Special Victims cases. He can be contacted at: Roger@rogercanaff.com

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