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1in6 Quarterly Update for Professionals — Q3 2013

School’s out! Warm weather has finally reached even the northern states. And – who knew! – The summer concert season has provided a perfect opportunity to raise awareness about men who were sexually abused as boys.

We’ve been reaching a key audience with information about resources for men who had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood with musicians posting about 1in6’s 1BlueString Awareness Campaign and using the blue string on stage at concerts and festivals (including Brian Marquis at the start of the 40-city Vans Warped Tour, and Weatherbox, The Front Bottoms,and Sledding with Tigers on their US Tour),

While staffing the 1in6 booth at the Pomona and Ventura, CA Warped Tour shows last weekend, we found that the largely male, late-teen-to-mid- twenties audience, showed a lot of interest in the statistic of 1in6 men having experienced childhood sexual abuse – and loved the 1BlueString approach to opening a conversation about the issue.

Using 1BlueString In Your Communities- The campaign asks guitarists, at all levels, to replace one of their six guitar strings with one of our free, blue strings to symbolize the 1 in 6 men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood. 1in6 will provide performers or organizers with informational cards to pass out to anyone who wants to learn more. But the goal isn’t a concert about sexual abuse. It a simple, low-key way to raise awareness about the issue, to model a comfort with acknowledging men’s experiences of sexual abuse, and to get people thinking about it, while also enjoying the scheduled performance.

The 1BlueString Website has information about how to “Host Your Own 1BlueString Event.” And, we’ll soon be launching our 1BS video channel, which will include music, videos, and interviews with artists using 1BlueString.

Even with all the recent media coverage about boys who were sexually abused by coaches, scout leaders, teachers, clergy, and family members, the public still has a difficult time accepting the idea of men needing help to recover from the effects of that abuse. Simply stated, you’re not likely to recognize risks or to take steps to offer services or prevent harmful behavior if you don’t know or don’t believe there’s a real risk that boys are sexually abused as well as girls.

So, spreading awareness that 19 million men in the US have experienced sexual abuse in childhood can play a powerful role in enhancing services, highlighting risk and encouraging preventive actions before a child is harmed. Since the campaign launched in November of last year, we have distributed almost 5,000 strings, with a goal of reaching 10,000 strings distributed by the end of 2013.

Collaborations and Notice- We were also honored that 1BlueString was chosen as the cover story of the Spring/Summer issue of The Resource, the magazine of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) and was also featured at a Southern California publicity event for the Joyful Heart Foundation (founded by actress Mariska Hargitay) in May 2013. Attending celebrities and athletes were photographed with a 1BlueString guitar.

The 1BlueString Website is also featuring posts by guest bloggers, musicians Matt Hoggatt and Gina Turner, who are curating a benefit album for 1BlueString, set for release this fall. 1BlueString will be expanding to Australia through our ongoing partnership with the Living Well organization, which works with men there who have experienced childhood sexual abuse. This year’s annual 1in6/Living Well video contest, which will highlight 1BlueString, begins in August.

Bristlecone- 1in6 has also launched a second Awareness campaign in collaboration with 1in6 Founding Board member, Dr. David Lisak. “Bristlecone, Portraits of Male Survivors: A mosaic of photographs and words that portray the reality of men who were sexually abused as children.”

The mosaic will focus on the men’s present lives, rather than the past, exploring who each man is today, what defines him and what the focus of his life currently is. The purpose of the mosaic will be to portray these realities in solidarity with the many men who feel isolated and stigmatized by what happened to them. Bristlecone will display the mosaic through public exhibitions and web sites. Each man will be portrayed through a series of photographs, a brief written portrait, and his own voice.

To learn more about Bristlecone, or to volunteer as a portrait subject visit: http://1in6.org/men/bristlecone/about/ or http://www.davidlisak.com/bristlecone-project
NSAC August 28-30 in Hollywood- Please stop by and visit us at our booth or attend our workshop at the National Sexual Assault Conference in Hollywood, CA, August 28 to 30. We’re co-sponsoring a conference track with Big Voice Pictures on “Serving Men Who Experienced Abuse.” Hope to see you there.

Thank you Emiliano Diaz de Leon- Our staff and board send warm thanks to our longtime Cultural Competency Specialist, Emiliano Diaz de Leon, who is stepping down from the position after three years, during which he helped oversee the translation of most of the 1in6 Website pages into Spanish. In addition, Emiliano has provided invaluable guidance to 1in6 around issues of diversity, fathering and healthy sexuality, while also holding down his day job at the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA). Though he won’t formally be serving in that role with 1in6, we’ll continue to rely on Emiliano for his wisdom and expertise gleaned from years of frontline work in the field. Thank you Emiliano for your many contributions!

Enjoy the summer!

Peter

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