August 10, 2009
Estimated 18 Million Men Affected
Cycling Champion Greg LeMond; TV Senior Political Reporter Dominic Carter and Broadway Actor Martin Moran Among Supporters
LOS ANGELES – An innovative Online Hotline was launched today by “1in6, Inc.,” a nonprofit organization that offers support and resources for the estimated 18 million American men who suffer as a result of unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood.
“Although many scientific studies have demonstrated the enormity of this problem, there are almost no resources specifically available to men who have survived childhood sexual abuse,” said Steve LePore, Executive Director of 1in6. “This is a huge issue that can inflict severe damage on millions of men and on our whole society in the form of higher rates of alcoholism, mental illness, divorce and other problems. But it hasn’t received much attention because it’s a taboo subject and men have been reluctant to come forward, discuss their experiences and seek help. It also affects their wives, partners, family members, and friends. We are working to help these men get the assistance they deserve, in ways that respect their needs for understanding and privacy.”
The Online Hotline, initially available 4 hours a week at 1in6.org, is staffed and operated by the “RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)” (www.rainn.org), a highly respected non-profit anti-sexual assault organization. Those seeking assistance can log on – anonymously and securely – and “chat” over the internet with a specially trained volunteer, who can provide them with valuable information and direct them to therapists and other resources in their area.
1in6 also offers a wealth of information and resources on its website, and is developing a therapist-led support group curriculum/tool kit for men dealing with this issue.
“We know this problem is very important because of the response we’re getting from men dealing with it, but we also know that this issue remains off the public radar,” LePore said. “This is not just about men who were abused by clergy. As 1in6 has worked to bring the issue into public awareness, we have had men from all walks of life acknowledge unwanted and abusive sexual experiences in their childhoods and talk about the effects those experience have had on them.”
One well-known man is champion cyclist Greg LeMond, three-time winner of the Tour de France and former Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. LeMond was sexually abused by a family friend at the age of 12.
“I know first-hand how the pain and shame of having been abused as a child can affect one’s life, and I only wish the Online Hotline had been available when I was coming to terms with this,” said LeMond, who became a member of the 1in6 board after learning of the organization’s mission and work. “In looking back over my own life, I can tell you that no joy has been greater than being with my wife and children without the ‘dark cloud’ of shame and guilt that my childhood abuse caused me.”
Other well-known survivors, including NY1 TV Sr. Political Reporter Dominic Carter; and Broadway Actor Martin Moran, have also lent their support to 1in6. “The work 1in6 is doing is saving lives and helping people not to spend their lives in shame,” Carter said. Moran went on to say “1in6 was born of true care and compassion. In every way its resources and information are offered with sensitivity and intelligence.”
More than 10 years ago, scientists reviewed the research and published their findings in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. They concluded that sexual abuse of boys is “common, under-reported, under-recognized, and under-treated.” That 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused has been found in many studies, conducted by organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and by academic researchers including 1in6 founding board members Dr. David Lisak, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and Dr. Jim Hopper, Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School.
Yet the sexual abuse of boys and its potential lasting effects in men remain unrecognized as significant social issues – by the public, by policy makers, and by the media. People are not aware that just as many men who develop prostate cancer, the most common cancer and the second leading cause of death among men in this country, were sexually abused in childhood. Few know that, while heart disease is the leading cause of death among men, the 18 million men with histories of childhood sexual abuse is more than 4 times the number with heart disease. (For more information about the 1 in 6 statistic, see 1in6.org/thestatistic.)
The Online Hotline is part of the 1in6 multi-faceted response to the problem, LePore emphasized. “1in6.org has a wealth of information and resources for men dealing with this issue, as well as people who care about them, all written by Dr. Jim Hopper, an expert on this issue. We are also setting up community education and outreach programs in Southern California, where we are based,” LePore said. “We are developing a specific therapeutic methodology for dealing with this issue. One result of that effort is the ‘1in6’ Men & Healing group therapy curriculum, being developed to address this problem. All groups will be moderated by licensed therapists, who will help participants move through the therapeutic process. We also hope to expand our relationship with RAINN so the 1in6 Online Hotline can be open for longer and longer periods of time.”
Contact: Steve LePore
Executive Director, “1in6, Inc.”