‘The 17 Percent of Men’: a new organisation for Herefordshire

Herefordshire is a beautiful, rural county that for some feels idyllic. Consequently, it is not always easy for sexual abuse perpetrated against men in their childhoods to be seen as a real issue in the county. Many people find it difficult to acknowledge, and accept, that it happens. The silence concerning this subject has gone on for far too long already.

‘The 17 Percent of Men’ has been set up for men who have experienced child sexual abuse and are living with the effects. Men bottle things up and don’t talk much about their emotions or the bad things that happened to them in childhood. Today, many men still live with the consequences of the sexual abuse perpetrated against them as children and are still immersed in the shame and blame of their childhood abuse. Often, they cannot shake off the immensity of their ‘secret’. Surviving childhood sexual abuse can affect relationships; it can make it harder to trust others. The mental and physical health of survivors may suffer more than most and the echoes from the past abuse are often a negative influence on how they live now.

The figure for males sexually abused in childhood is still difficult to pin down because men under report. A figure widely accepted presently is that it is likely that 1 in 6 men were sexually abused as children in all its guises (www.1in6.org), or approximately 17% of men. This means that 12,000 men within the county were sexually abused as boys. If you are a man aged 18 or over, who needs to speak about the impact of your childhood abuse, we are here to help. ‘The 17 Percent of Men’ aims to set up groups where men can meet to speak of their past abuse in safety, without fear, shame or blame to aid their recovery.

It takes resilience and strength of character to survive child sexual abuse and move on with our lives, no longer defined by what happened to us as children. We are grown men now; we are a myriad of personalities, cultures, and orientations. We have differing viewpoints, but we have one thing in common: that is, we were sexually abused as boys. We can unshackle ourselves from the ties that bind us to our past abuse.

If you want to be a part of ‘The 17 Percent of Men’ and want to break your own silence, contact us on christopher@17percentofmen.org in confidence.