The mission of 1in6 is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences live healthier, happier lives. Our mission also includes serving partners, family members, friends, and service providers by offering information and support resources online and in the community.
1in6 was founded in 2007, and our website was created in 2010, in response to a lack of resources addressing the impact of negative childhood sexual experiences on the lives of adult men, one of many under-recognized aspects of childhood sexual abuse. In 2016, we expanded our mission to include men who experienced sexual assault as adults.
The 1 in 6 Statistic
Researchers estimate that at least 1 in 6 men have had unwanted sexual experiences, including abuse and assault. This is likely a low estimate, since it doesn’t include non-contact experiences, and because men are less likely to disclose their experiences due to the stigma, silence, and myths around the issue.
If you’ve had such an experience, or think you might have, you are not alone.
Information and Services
We offer a wide range of information and services for men with histories of unwanted or abusive sexual experiences, and anyone who cares about them. Some of our resources include:
- A 24/7 online helpline where men and the people who care about them can chat one-on-one with a trained advocate.
- Free and confidential weekly online support groups for men who have experienced sexual abuse or assault.
- A wealth of useful information on topics related to male sexual abuse and assault, including answers to common questions.
- Trauma-informed trainings and webinars for service providers and organizations around the world.
- The Bristlecone Project awareness campaign, a collection of portraits, videos, and written narratives of male survivors of sexual abuse and assault.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without the knowledge and support of our partners, including:
RAINN: RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, online.rainn.org y rainn.org/es) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense.
The Joyful Heart Foundation: The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation is to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever.
NO MORE: NO MORE unites and strengthens a diverse, global community to help end domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse.
Living Well, Australia: Living Well is an Australian service, and resource, that provides information, encouragement and support to men who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or adulthood sexual assault. Living Well also provides assistance to supporters of these men; their partners, friends, family and service providers.
Survivors Manchester, UK: Survivors Manchester is a survivor-led/survivor-run voluntary organization that aims to create and facilitate a safe space for male survivors of sexual abuse and rape to work through personal and sometimes painful issues.
Men & Healing, Canada: A counseling resource for men in Ottawa and the rest of Canada.
Peace Over Violence: Peace Over Violence is a social service agency dedicated to the elimination of sexual and domestic violence and all forms of interpersonal violence.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC): NSVRC’s mission is to provide leadership in preventing and responding to sexual violence through collaboration, sharing and creating resources, and promoting research.
FORGE: FORGE is a progressive organization whose mission is to support, educate and advocate for the rights and lives of transgender individuals and SOFFAs (Significant Others, Friends, Family, and Allies). FORGE is dedicated to helping move fragmented communities beyond identity politics and forge a movement that embraces and empowers our diverse complexities.
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR): The mission of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape is to work to eliminate all forms of sexual violence and to advocate for the rights and needs of victims of sexual assault.
ECPAT International: ECPAT is a non-governmental organization and a global network of civil society organizations exclusively dedicated to ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
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Cultural Responsiveness and Inclusivity
Importance of intersectionality with regard to men and their experiences of sexual trauma.
Research tells us that that any effective healing process must both honor and occur within the multiple contexts of each man’s life. At 1in6, we continue to ask, “How do some facts about male sexual abuse and assault highlight intersectionality? And why is this important in the overall efforts to raise awareness and improve resources for male survivors?”
Different healing disciplines understand intersectionality as the basis for meaningful resources for survivors of gender-based violence. The social work lens, for instance, considers the “person in environment.” How a person experiences their world based on gender, ability, aboriginal status, faith, race, and governing policies has a lot to do with risk of violence and opportunities to heal.
History has determined that “the political is personal.” Historically, we know that the intersection of policy and poverty is the largest contributor to lowered protective factors (prevention) and barriers to healing (response) for people of all communities. Very simply, these intersections increase not only the likelihood that a boy or man will be abused, but also the likelihood that he can engage in help-seeking efforts.
How our responsiveness is represented in our work at 1in6 and beyond
Unwanted and abusive sexual experiences affect men across categories defined by race, class, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, gender expression, culture, religion, and other characteristics and traits. Many of the impacts of sexual trauma tend to be consistent for most men, regardless of their complex and varied individual characteristics. However, the influences of a person’s ethnic or racial background can have a profound influence on how that sexual trauma manifests itself and how a person reacts and heals.
Our efforts to be inclusive of all men are informed by the guiding philosophy that men’s experiences with sexual trauma are impacted by their varied cultural identities. Each page on this website, our programs, and our services are developed keeping in mind the voices and experiences of disenfranchised communities. We strive to understand the nuances of race, ethnicity, and other cultural identities and their effects on male survivor’s efforts to heal. As such, in all areas of our awareness and engagement programs, we seek to honor and address the particular needs of racially and ethnically diverse cultures; to better understand their unique dynamics; and to identify what resources 1in6 can add to support the healing and recovery of these men in order to ensure that valid, relevant, and meaningful programming is available to all men and their loved ones.
Trauma response narratives
Trauma response narratives for men within intersections are often consistent, regardless of their background. However, how these narratives manifest or present can be affected by a variety of social, cultural, and personal influences. Responses to trauma vary even if we see commonalities clinically; the social environment plays a large role in that. At 1in6, we aim to acknowledge and address the influences that may serve as barriers to healing for men, including:
Cultural prohibitions against disclosing secrets; socialized expectations about men and emotional; rejection or threat of rejection by family or community; isolation or lack of an effective support network; prior negative experiences with helping/safety systems; varying physical or developmental abilities; mental health challenges; addictions/dysregulations; violence, incarceration, or criminal record; poverty or economic instability; and racism, homophobia, transphobia, or xenophobia.
How you can help
We invite you to join our efforts to bring to light this important part of the discussion around men who have experienced sexual abuse or assault. Whether on campus, at work, or on social media, you can help us to inform and be informed. You can join us in unpacking constructed norms to the betterment of male sexual trauma survivors of every background by:
- Address limiting gender roles and their expressions within the context of prevention and response resources for boys and men.
- Consider how you silently communicate myths about gender roles and male survivors to your children and families. Are you just as concerned about your son walking alone in the neighborhood? Do you create spaces for your son to express a full range of emotions, including crying, fear, and grief, without violence?
- Be curious of your own language and expectations of men. A useful tool is to consider, “How is this useful in creating a safe space for boys and men to disclose and seek help?”
- Service providers: Do your organizational policies include boys and men as part of the overall prevention and response efforts? Do you have men on staff? Are your brochures, offices, and language inclusive of the male survivor experience?
1in6 is committed to helping create and support safe and meaningful resources that are inclusive of all aspects of individual men’s lives. As the demand grows, 1in6 will continue to invest in additional resources to assure that our services are accessible to every community. We invite you to send your suggestions and resources to [email protected].