This Men’s Group, run through North CASA , responds to the need’s of men who have been abused to be part of a community with others who have a shared experience. I co-facilitated the group with NCASA counsellor, Cameron Boyd.
The effects of abuse for men are complex, and whilst men experience many of the same responses as women – such as poor self esteem, difficulty trusting others, behaviours that are self-harming, difficulties in forming and keeping healthy relationships, there are layers to abuse which affect men differently that can make it even more difficult for men to seek help and share their experiences with others.
A cycle of loneliness and aloneness exists.
As there are few support groups for men this Men’s Art Group I noticed that participants come to this group wanting to share and learn from the others in the group. The need to talk, support and share is important. For some, the creative aspect of the group was not their primary reason for attending – and, as a result, the evenings were shaped to allow enough time for talking as well as doing art together.
Over the weeks the men settled into creating; they began to find working with clay both relaxing and enjoyable. Most in the group have done little art since school. It is always exciting to bring clay works back into the group after they have been fired and great to hear the men say “I am happy with that!” ” It’s better than I thought it would be”.
I am deeply impressed with the commitment of the men to attending and participating the group. Each week I see the pain and vulnerability that remains after abuse and alongside that, I see the creativity, kindness and support that resides within each participant.
A really good website that may be helpful is www.livingwell.org.au (information for men who have been sexually abused).