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The men I'm a part of in an abuse support group are writing brief entries of their stories, and we believe it offers an alternative to the traditional 12 Step program. We're not convinced such programs are adequately meeting the needs of male survivors.

I would like to hear from leadership and survivors, alike.

Andrew J. Schmutzer


In response to the question in the title, I would be very interested in hearing stories that would help me better understand the needs of male survivors. My job is to help churches respond appropriately and be supportive to those who have survived abuse. So greater understanding is always appreciated. Thank you for offering your story, and please feel free to contact me directly and privately. 

I must say that I am a bit confused about the reference to traditional 12 step programs, as those tend to be associated with addiction recovery. Addictive behavior may (often) be present when abuse is also present. However, treating the addictive behavior (a symptom) should not be equated with treating the trauma of abuse (the disease), even though they may be related.

Then I will offer some 'progress reports' as my Support Group works through a series of episodes from our own personal stories. These are chronological and built around the metaphor of a car wreck. The four key units being: 1 The Wreck, 2 Accident Report, 3 Rehabilitation, and 4 Driving Again. Each survivor is submitting multiple entries for each unit that are read and sensitively discussed. We will conclude by writing to our "little boy," explaining who we've become. The entire project is called Naming Our Abuse: Men Doing the Write Thing.

All the participants have had professional therapy, and we find we are in need of something fresh and in story form as we continue on our healing journeys, addressing the effects of our SA on spouses, work, faith, and child rearing.

The reference to the 12 Step refers to programed SA curriculums, such as Allander's The Wounded Heart or Warren's Celebrate Recovery or Burdick's Open Heart Ministry. Addressing SA has models and materials outside addictive behavior programs. Of course survivors have addictions, but that's my point. Years into our healing journey, we're finding there are needs survivors have that exceed program contracts, statistics, and psycho-dynamic categories. I won't even get into the "triumphalism" and shallow theology present in some of these programs. Consequently, we are exploring other alternatives in our SA support group, because we feel other models are needed and simply not available, especially for men.


That's wonderful Andrew. I love the the title "Naming Our Abuse: Men Doing the Write Thing" and the four units, with the car wreck theme sound really good. What a blessing the group must be to all the members. I will keep the group in my prayers. May the Lord work powerfully in and through it as you move toward Him and toward healing and wholeness (which will only fully come when he returns - yet much healing is availble in this life as well).

I used to work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on the campus of Michigan State University. While on staff I met so many, mostly women, but also some men, who had experienced Sexual Assault. It's so devastating -  I know that from first hand experience as well. I found a support group hugely beneficial, for me, and also for many others as I went on to facilitate many support groups and write a guide that others could use to facilitate them. It's not a replacement for professional therapy, but a wonderful addition to it. Being with others helps normalize so much of the experience, and there's something about realizing that you are not alone that is extremely valuable. Therapy can't do that as well. And for me writing was also a key - freewriting exercises were often a part of our groups. I'm so thankful to know about your group. Blessings to you as you go deeper in your own healing journey.

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