Boy and Men Healing ~ a Year Later (OS Archives 2011)

This week, as the Penn State scandal continues to unfold involving coach Jerry Sandusky's alleged multiple counts of abuse against boys, all boys from Sandusky's charity, "The Second Mile," I felt called to re-post this article written last year at this same time. The article is about a two-part series the Oprah show ran on the hidden epidemic of the sexual abuse of boys and the sweeping ramifications for our society.

I wrote this article after many conversations on this subject with my friends, documentary filmmakers Kathy Barbini and Simon Weinberg. Their newest film, "Boys and Men Healing" was listed on the Oprah show as a resource for help. 

Since this was first posted, the attention given to this film by agencies involved with healing of abuse has skyrocketed. It has been screened multiple times each month this year, and continues to be, all across the country to packed conventions.

Is this not the saddest and most telling sentence ending?

" packed conventions" ?

 At the end of the original article I wrote, " It's working. The secrecy surrounding this form of abuse is beginning to be thrown off. Boys and men are healing."

This week I say, "It's not happening quickly enough." 


MaleSurvivor, a global not-for-profit organization dedicated to overcoming sexual victimization of boys and men, hosts their *13th* International Conference called:  A World of Healing, beginning today, 15-18 November 2011, at John Jay College, NYC, NY.



NOVEMBER 9, 2010 4:50PM

Boys and Men Healing ~ and the Oprah show

On Friday, November 5th, the Oprah show dealt with a tough topic, airing Part One of a two-part show:  two hundred men were on stage, including filmmaker Tyler Perry, all standing together to speak out about having suffered sexual abuse as boys. The tales were horrific. The men's stories needed to be heard-- but it was very difficult to stay and watch the whole show.

I did stay.

I felt I had to stay and listen, to these men who were speaking out...

....and I stayed for my friend, Kathy. She and her husband have stayed and listened, and filmed, and spoken out for these men, for years. 

When I met Kathy Barbini over two years ago, she mentioned that she and her husband, Simon, were documentary filmmakers. At the time we met, she was in the middle of putting together their current film, Boys and Men Healing.  Their company is called Big Voice Pictures.

The film is about the difficult and taboo subject of sexual abuse of boys. It is partly about the ongoing ramifications for these boys and men, for their families, as well as for our society, when abuse is untreated-- or unaccepted-- in the myriad ways that sexual abuse towards a child, especially a boy, can be.

The film is also about healing. 

"Unlike many films about male victimization, this one does not dwell on the damage and become...depressing about the harm sexual abuse does to its victims....This work gives men a model of strength and recovery...and provides a good message of hope and healing."

~Ken Singer, LCSW, author of "Evicting the Perpetrator: A Male Survivor's Guide to Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse," on the film Boys and Men Healing

Big Voice Pictures also is behind the documentary, The Healing Years, a film about girls and women's sexual abuse issues and the healing path. The Healing Years has been distributed far and wide, is highly acclaimed, and has been shown on PBS for years. 

"This documentary does the most difficult, almost impossible feat:  it admits the sick and cruel past. In doing so, it becomes therapy for a healthy future. This is an exhibition of abundant courage and great heart. Thank you." 

~Maya Angelou, on the film The Healing Years 

Boys and Men Healing features three men, including one who advocates for another male abuse survivor on death row, who were all abused as boys. They have each transformed their negative childhood experiences into successful lives, bringing a message of healing and hope to this film, and to any survivor:  that there is hope, there is healing from having suffered sexual abuse.

As Kathy and I got to know each other, I heard more of what drew her to this path.

 "I make documentaries,  I am a mother with a son. That's why I do this. Sometimes this work is terribly difficult, but I felt Called....

....and now I know these men. Once I did meet them, began to know them, and I saw how suffering rape and abuse as children colored their whole lives, how could I not speak out? Not use my gifts?"

"I think we give a hopeful message in this film as well, that there can be healing. Lives can be saved."

~Kathy Barbini

 I hope we all can stay and listen to the stories of these men, as much as we may want to turn away.  

" becomes therapy for a  healthy future" indeed...

The ramifications of sexual abuse of boys in this country are large, and they're largely unknown.

Imagine the pain of any internally-tortured man:  trucker, policeman, CEO, or chef in a restaurant, who has been sexually abused. He likely is untreated, unhealed, possibly filled with rage, bitterness, and/or numbness because of the shame and fear of what happened to him as a boy. He might feel he has nowhere to turn.

Imagine an untreated coach, teacher, or soldier....or a man with too many burdens and not enough coping skills. One who is raging internally, externally, and all over their world.

Maybe raging all over our world. 

At the death-penalty sentencing this November of the psychopathic murderer of the Petit family in CT, a lawyer for defendent Steven Hayes revealed that his client had been sexually abused as a child. It is thought that possibly 75% or more of the men on death row are victims of abuse. 

While there is never an excuse for any heinous criminal behavior, there needs to be an avenue for these victims before they self-destruct, or turn into monsters....or merely live a half-life of numbness. 

"Further study is needed on the role of abuse in capital cases."

~ a 2004 ACLU report at 

We need to understand so much more. 

 Imagine being a male victim who is actually brave enough to want to reach out and tell, only to call a rape crisis line and be told, "We don't deal with that here." 

There is no rape crisis center for male abuse victims in this country. 

Not one. 

The Boys and Men Healing film debuted last year at the International MaleSurvivor Conference in New York City. Two of the men interviewed by Kathy in the film were on Oprah's stage during this show. 

The Big Voice Pictures website is also listed under the resources section on Oprah's website, and below. 

Thank you, Oprah, for being willing to be groundbreaking, to give voice to a difficult, crucial topic to discuss.

But my bigger Thank Yous ! -- and my utmost admiration-- go to my friends, Kathy Barbini and Simon Weinberg:  parents, filmmakers, and regular good folks. Thank you for being willing to change your lives together, then and now, when you were called upon to use your gifts.

To use a Big Voice.

It's working. The secrecy surrounding this form of abuse is beginning to be thrown off.

Boys and men are healing.

Part Two of Oprah's show on male sexual abuse survivors aired Friday, 12 November 2010. 

Transcript of the Bob Costa interview with Jerry Sandusky is available at: 


RATE: 26

NOVEMBER 15, 2011 4:15PM

I know many of you may have read this when I first posted it, please don't feel obligated to comment, I felt I just had to re-post this this week. There are links to resources at the bottom of the article.
Bless you for your courage. r.
Thanks Jon. 
Not an easy read, which is maybe why we all sweep these things under the rug.
For children, I will speak.
An important post, it needs to be read more than twice so thanks for re-posting.
I read this before and am glad to have the opportunity to read it again. What's being done to help men heal needs to be supported. If they're strong enough to walk those paths and speak, then people need to listen.

Thank you very much for the re-post.
I remember being confused that sexual abuse of men is not "covered" at a crisis center. Hopefully, enough will speak, and we will hear, hard as that may be to do.
Yes not fast enough! Been happening for ever!
Also Jon, while I appreciate it, I am not the courageous one by a long shot.

Thanks, mypsyche, it is so important we get educated and get willing to speak out.

l'heure: I appreciate your coming by : )

diana, it is just shocking. Our society needs a serious priority change as to the care of our children. When I saw an old man this week on the news in tears, saying, referring to Sandusky, "He ruined Penn State." I almost puked I was so angry that he left out ruined boys completely and was crying over an institution, for god's sake...
Thanks for re-reading.

tg: Yes it has. Just unconscionable. 
I am so proud to know this couple willing to spend their lives helping to bring light and healing to the shadows.
l'heure, it's hard to listen, isn't it? 
Thanks for the re-read.
I hadn't seen this the first time so thanks for reposting it. Horrific doesn't begin to describe it. I've read that 1 in 6 males is sexually abused as a child and even though the rate is higher for girls (1 out of 4) that's still a shockingly high number. Abusers are almost always male. It's difficult for anyone to talk about but I imagine it's even harder for a male and I'm glad to know there's an organization specifically for men. And also that there are people in the world like you and your friends, devoted to doing such good work..
It is so horrible!! We live in an age where those who are abused can get help. If they would just reach out.....

How child abuse affects adult health.

Thank you, J T for reposting.
Kathy Barbini is a fixture on Lifetime and MTV as well. You are lucky to be in such powerful company.

Thank you for re-posting this and not only sharing your own insights and thoughts, but also giving and mentioning so many other helpful resources, links, and films. Bravo.
I missed this the first time,JT. I can' t believe that not one crisis hotline exists for boys or men. A big and lasting mystery is why they say that so many who are abused become abusers. Yet, many don't. That's something researchers need to learn because there must be something that can be done to not only ease the pain of the abused, but to stop them from becoming abusers. As it stands, the abused are stigmatized too by the impression that they very well might become the same dangerous perverts. Seems doubly unfair.
The Sandusky situation is too disgusting to handle and all the light that can be shed on the suffering of his victims is necessary. Good for you, JT.
I did not read this the first time around. When I was growing up, a close male told me their stories of his sexual abuse at a basketball camp. It has affected the way I see many male sport/ friend ships
Thank you for the repost - I didn't catch it the first time.
This is one of those times I feel despair at being human. Brings to mind Conroy's Prince of Tides. Thanks JT for airing this again.
Thanks for reposting. I saw the Oprah shows. They were painful. My heart just broke for all of the men in the audience, and for Tyler Perry. Another result of all of these horrific child abuse cases, one that is often not discussed, is the net effect these cases have on parents and their children, and society in general. Because of all of the church abuse, the abuse in camps, schools, etc., many of us refuse to participate in organized religion or events that involve entrusting our children to other adults. Many of us are terrified to send our children to camps, athletic trips, out-of-state field trips or other kinds of activities that involve sleepovers. In our efforts to protect our sons from predators we become over protective, and our children miss out on opportunities to explore and grow as people. As a mom and grandmother, the alternative is just too horrific to contemplate. ... As for the Penn State coach: Not even my husband showers with our son. He never has, under any circumstances. There are certain boundaries that should never be crossed. How can he justify showering with children he was supposed to be mentoring? What kind of mentoring is that? Yuck.
I hope the big voice works because I need some mending in certain areas of my life..
Sorry it took me so long to get here. What an excellent and eye-opening article!
Kudos to Big Voice Pictures for their fine work and to you for bringing them to our attention.
This cannot be posted too much.. attention must be drawn to predators, and those who fall victim. It can adversely affect the rest of your life, any type of sexual abuse. I am a survivor of sexual abuse as a child, you get passed it, but you never are the same. Prayers go to these kids.
I didn't read this the first time and I'm very late at reading it now, but I'm glad I did. Thank you for reposting this.
Sorry for coming upon this so long after you wrote it, JT. Excellent piece. So many damaged children who need to know how to start the healing process, but first they must process the abuse and not blame themselves--that's a huge part of their struggle.
I didn't know of these films. I'll send this link to my friend who is starting to heal. Thanks much for posting again!
I have probably read this post without rating it.Sorry.
Today I received a post which is very important to be published.
Yesterday I came across a video on YouTube which covered child abuse,too.
I have probably read this post without rating it.Sorry.
Today I received a post which is very important to be published.
Yesterday I came across a video on YouTube which covered child abuse,too.

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