1in6 and RAINN Launch Peer SupportGroup to Help Male Survivors

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Male survivors of childhood sexual abuse have a new way to find support and community online.

Scott Berkowitz (RAINN) and Steve LePore (1in6)

Research shows there may be as many as 21 million men in the United States who had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood. Many never seek help for the lasting effects of those experiences. Online support helps to lift barriers.

Male survivors of childhood sexual abuse have a new way to find support and community online. 1in6 has partnered with RAINN to launch the Peer SupportGroup (PSG), a new online service for peer-to-peer support among male survivors. This is the second online support service launched by this dynamic partnership, beginning with the Online SupportLine in 2009.

“What started as a dream, where we would be able to provide anonymous, safe, and therapeutically-sound support groups to men in real-time, has become a reality,” said Steve LePore, founder and Executive Director of 1in6.

The first Peer SupportGroup session took place in early October 2015, with positive reviews from both users and moderators. The service functions similar to a group chat, where male survivors of childhood sexual abuse can support other men in their journey of trauma recovery. Men from all over the country can chat back and forth with one another and share their experiences during a 90-minute online session. Each session is moderated by a licensed clinician who provides therapeutically-sound guidance and a “gatekeeper” who has gone through extensive training to ensure the anonymity and safety of every participant.

All online services offered by 1in6, including the Peer SupportGroup, are operated using RAINN’s secure technology platform. RAINN has partnered with the country's top technology and online security companies to ensure that interactions on these platforms are safe and confidential. “We are thrilled to be partnering with 1in6 in the expansion of their online support services. We hope that the Peer SupportGroup will continue to help male survivors who might not have safe access to services in their community,” said Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN.

“Research shows there may be as many as 21 million men in the United States who had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood,” says LePore. “Many never seek help for the lasting effects of those experiences. Online support helps to lift barriers to getting help, like living far away from traditional services or feeling discouraged by social norms.”

1in6 and RAINN have a long history of providing online services for male survivors. In 2009 they launched the Online SupportLine, a one-on-one confidential chat service for men, and for people who care about them, who are seeking immediate information and resources related to unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood. The service grew quickly in popularity. At the start, the Online SupportLine was open two or three evenings per week. Today, the SupportLine is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

"Thanks to funding from the Ahmanson Foundation and dedication from 1in6, our dream of online peer support has become a reality. Men from across the country—perhaps from around the world—have a safe place, where they can discuss, maybe for the first time ever, what they may have wanted to discuss for so very long,” said LePore. As more users find support and comfort on the Peer SupportGroup, 1in6 and RAINN hope to expand the service to reach even more male survivors.

Men can access the Peer SupportGroup during 90-minute sessions every Tuesday and Wednesday. These sessions are currently limited to 12 users per group to ensure that each participant receives the attention and security they deserve. Visit 1in6.org to learn more.

About RAINN
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of "America's 100 Best Charities" by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. In 2015, the Online Hotline expanded to offer services in Spanish at rainn.org/es. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. To learn more, visit rainn.org

About 1in6
1in6 is a nonprofit organization that offers support and resources for men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood. The mission of 1in6 is to help these men live healthier, happier lives. Our mission also includes serving family members, friends, and partners by providing information and support resources on the web and in the community. For more information, please visit 1in6.org.

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Katherine Hull Fliflet
RAINN
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