The Bristlecone Project

Portraits and Biographies of Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Rick Goodwin

Now a therapist and a trainer on issues of male sexual trauma in Canada, Rick followed a serendipitous course from his own childhood trauma. When he was six years old, he was lured into a vacant house in his neighborhood and sexually assaulted by a construction worker. He somehow “knew” that he could not tell his parents, so he buried the trauma. As an adolescent he got involved with the drug crowd, but he was also smart enough to skip a grade.

During college, an acid trip triggered a splinter of memory of the trauma. He woke up his girlfriend and told her what happened to him when he was six and fell asleep crying. He sought counseling, and he got his Master’s degree in social work. He resonated with the social activism of the field, but found little that related to his reality as a male survivor.

In 1997, along with the Y, he and a friend launched an agency in Ottawa. The Men’s Project is now one of the oldest free-standing clinics treating male survivors. Rick serves as its Executive Director, and now also heads 1in6 Canada, the country’s knowledge center on male sexual trauma.