"I'm Walking A Lot Lighter Than I Was"
According to some estimates, 1 in 6 men experience some form of sexual violence. While men react to assaults in many of the same ways as those of other gender identities, the way men are sometimes socialized—referred to as masculinity training—may impede healing. Men who experience this trauma often feel that they cannot express their emotions or talk about their experience. The Blue Bench is here to help these men along their path toward healing.
In 2019, the organization offered a 16-week men’s therapy group for male-identified survivors ages 18 and above.
An important aspect of this and other groups is the supportive community that is built within the group. Holly, one of the group’s facilitators explained, “Groups offer a safe space for individuals to connect with others who have had similar experiences. This can help destigmatize the experience.”
“Ryan,” who attended the group in 2019, said that finding a sense of community was important to him. “I was craving a group because I was feeling very isolated,” he said. “Once I was in the group, it really helped create that community and make me feel more comfortable in what happened to me because there were other people who I could talk to about it that really understood.”
In addition to creating a community of support, the group provided what Ryan describes as “life tools.” Michelle, the group’s second facilitator, said, “This group focused on the individual growth of each member and included deeper processing. One of the goals is for the members to build coping skills and to also reprocess their trauma.”
Indeed, Ryan felt this was important and beneficial to his own healing. “I felt like there were a lot of things I was holding back on in my life that going to this group really helped me work through and now I feel like I’m walking a lot lighter than I was when I first went into that group. I’m really grateful that this program exists,” he said.
Learn more about the impact of your support of The Blue Bench by reviewing our 2019 Annual Report.