From 1in6: Gratitude

The 1in6 board meets four times annually, twice telephonically and twice in person in Los Angeles. The last meeting of the year is historically a two-day meeting in December where among other decisions the annual budget for the upcoming year is approved. The budget covers all of our program areas and our administrative and overhead costs. Each year we strive to stay within accepted guidelines where our administrative and overhead costs don’t exceed industry standards for good stewardship of the support that we’ve been entrusted with.

One way we accomplish our goal of good stewardship is through the generous support of pro-bono and low-bono providers. A key example of the positive impact of pro-bono services is our long-standing partnership with our attorneys at Paul Hastings (San Diego office).

Since our founding in 2007 our attorneys have negotiated everything from the protection of our intellectual property to contractual negotiations with outside providers and so much more. In fact, last year alone, the value of pro-bono services from our attorneys exceed $60,000. Quite a gift!

This past week, I met with our attorneys for two and a half hours as we are again depending on their expertise and guidance as we embark on another exciting project. I was reminded as I sat across the table from Todd Schneider and Laura McGurty that their deep care and commitment to 1in6 and the men we serve makes our work possible. In fact, makes the rich quality of our work possible.

I’ll have more to share about this new and exciting project over the next many months but wanted to extend an offer to everyone reading this blog post that the opportunity to support the work of 1in6 extends far beyond the writing of a check. While we rely on the generous support of our financial backers we could not do our work without the generous support of all of our pro-bono donors.

That said, if you have a skill or talent that you think might be of benefit to 1in6, I’d love to hear from you. Not every skill set and talent or gift matches our needs but those that do are welcomed…those that do make our work possible.

In gratitude to our host of pro-bono donors.

Warm regards,

- Steve LePore

The mission of 1in6 is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives.

1in6s mission also includes serving family members, friends and partners by providing information and support resources on the web and in the community.

Living Well, Joyful Heart and 1in6 invite you to visit livingwell.org.au in Australia and our partner 1in6.org in the US for info, options and hope, and to learn more about our partnership and Engaging Men initiative here.

So Much Light for 1BlueString

So Much Light, whose track “Artificial Sweetener” was featured on The Big Comp II, is the brainchild of Damien Verrett, a multi-talented singer-songwriter from Sacramento, CA. So Much Light fuses indie, R&B, and folk influences into emotionally driven and skillfully produced pop songs. In addition to his solo endeavor, Verrett fronts the rock band, The Speed of Sound in Seawater, which highlights his virtuosic guitar playing. Damien kindly took the time to share with us his thoughts on music, the role of the artist in affecting social change, and more.

SoMuchLight_1BlueString

What has inspired you to get involved with charitable causes, and what role do you see bands having in spreading awareness for issues of social justice?

I think artists have a responsibility to be impeccable with their influence. Having a voice that people are tuned into, whether you’re an artist, athlete, politician, whatever, comes with the responsibility of utilizing that voice in a positive manner. The idea of being able to use whatever small voice I have to inspire change is exciting to me and is part of the reason I enjoy spreading my art.

Music has a power to captivate on a level that goes deeper than most methods of communication. It’s like a Trojan Horse that you can use to disguise an otherwise taboo subject. Sometimes the topics we want to discuss as artists are hard pills to swallow, wrapping them up in catchy choruses and heartfelt lyricism is an effective way of disseminating them.

Can you share an experience of music — perhaps a song, album, show, or otherwise — that helped you through a trying time, or moved you beyond just entertainment?

I had the pleasure of watching toe play their first show in London in 2012. I’d always had a strong emotional attachment to their music, but seeing them perform live was an otherworldly experience.

Their performance of “Goodbye” was particularly moving. I was in a foreign country, surrounded by strangers, watching a Japanese band perform in Europe for the first time, but I had never felt so close to a crowd or a band in my life. It was a beautiful demonstration of the way music speaks to human consciousness on a deep and mysterious level.

What opportunities are you most excited about in the coming months, musically and personally?

I’m excited to be writing new material again. Writing songs is a hugely cathartic experience. Right now it’s helping me to deal with ideas and obstacles which have been toppling around in my head and craving a means of getting out. I’m eager to battle some of my personal demons, answer some lingering questions, and ask new ones.

Any words of inspiration for fans or friends who are just learning about 1BlueString and the ‘1 in 6’ statistic?

I think it’s important to be vocal about the adversities going on in our world. Abuse has many faces and I think it’s wonderful that an organization like 1BlueString exists to draw attention to the topic of sexual abuse against males, a subject which is underrepresented in the public eye.

- See more and listen to the music at: https://1bluestring.org/2014/08/21/so-much-light/

When sorting through the impact of child sexual abuse and looking to get on in life, I’ve learnt that it can be good to have a number of options.  Sometimes challenges can benefit from a light, flexible approach and sometimes you might want to make use of seriously heavy duty engineering. 
B.

When sorting through the impact of child sexual abuse and looking to get on in life, I’ve learnt that it can be good to have a number of options.  Sometimes challenges can benefit from a light, flexible approach and sometimes you might want to make use of seriously heavy duty engineering.

B.

The keynote presentation from the recent International Men’s Health Week Symposium held by Living Well & Griffith Uni.

Improving Responses to Men Sexually Abused in Childhood: Confronting the Complexity

Watch the rest of the videos at Living Well.

From 1in6: Let’s Go Swimming!

When I was a young man, I nearly drowned a close friend of mine. Fortunately, she was a strong swimmer and the chances of her succumbing were pretty slim. 

It was never my intention to hurt her. 

I took swimming lessons for years as a kid, to no avail. For some reason I was, and still am a non-swimmer. That hot summer day, I’d tagged along with a group of friends on a trip to the river.

I’d planned to stay in the shallow parts, but suddenly found myself in a deep hole, flailing and swallowing water. By grabbing and pushing off the shoulder of my friend, who was treading water nearby, I saved myself. In the process—oblivious to anything but my own survival—I repeatedly pushed her under water. We both made it to shore safely.

I’ve never gotten over the realization that had the distance been greater, or her skill less, there might have been two drowning victims that day. Though I’m grateful for the rescue, I’ve always hoped that had it come to that, she’d have saved herself rather than drown with me. 

I’m often reminded of that day when I hear couples talk about their struggles to survive, which they may be having when one or both of the partners experienced childhood sexual abuse

Males are culturally discouraged from revealing feelings like fear, vulnerability or to ask for help. As a result, when we’ve experienced abuse, we men have a greater tendency to turn to coping strategies that protect us from those feelings, but which may also hurt others in the process. This might include becoming emotionally shut down; isolating ourselves; becoming addicted to work, or exercise, or food, or to other numbing substances like drugs or alcohol; engaging in compulsive sexual behavior or risk-taking; or in some cases, destructive outbursts toward ourselves or others

None of these survival strategies are helpful in maintaining a long-lived, healthy, intimate relationship. Partners often find themselves in the terrible position of being pushed under by someone they love, who is so paralyzed by shame, or fear, that they can’t even acknowledge that they are flailing.

No trauma history justifies or excuses hurting another.  No one should tolerate being emotionally, physically or sexually hurt by a partner or loved one —no matter how much you care about them; no matter how much pain they may have suffered; no matter how deserving they may be of rescue.  One of the most difficult realities is that there may come a point, when the best, most loving response a partner can make, is to set a self-protective limit, or ultimately, to just swim away.

When I trained to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), one of the first things they taught us in the rescue section of the training was to beware of drowning swimmers. “If you’re not careful, they’ll take you down with them,” the instructor said. “If you don’t learn to keep yourself safe, you can’t help anyone else.” 

He wasn’t suggesting just letting them drown. 

Call for additional help, he told us. Offer a resource to allow them to keep themselves afloat or to enable you to pull them ashore: a branch, an arm (if you’re on shore and able to lie down and safely reach out), the end of a towel, or, if available, a safety ring. Only a trained, strong, swimmer should attempt a water rescue, he stressed, and even then, by keeping the drowning person at a distance. 

His advice translates well to intimate relationships: put your own safety first. Get outside help. Offer resources. Find a well-trained professional who can maintain a good boundary. (Sounds like a good therapist to me!)

I wish I could say that I eventually took more swimming lessons, and am now a trained life guard. Truth is, I still just avoid those deep spots. 

But what I’ll never know is this. If my friend had had to swim away to save herself that day, might I have found the resources to get out of that sinkhole on my own. Maybe I’d have even discovered that actually, I do know how to swim!

- By Peter Pollard

Peter Pollard is the Professional Relations & Communications Director for 1in6, Inc. Peter previously worked for 15 years as a state, child-protection social worker and was the Public Education director at Stop It Now! Since 2003, he has served as the Western Massachusetts coordinator for SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) and also does work for a Certified Batterers Intervention Program. See Peter’s portrait in The Bristlecone Project exhibit.

The mission of 1in6 is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives.

1in6’s mission also includes serving family members, friends and partners by providing information and support resources on the web and in the community.

Joyful Heart and 1in6 invite you to visit 1in6.org for info, options and hope, and to learn more about our partnership and Engaging Men initiative here.