Men subjected to sexual abuse
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Utsattmann and Redd Barna in successful cooperation in 2015

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Utsattmann and Redd Barna in successful cooperation in 2015, Redd Barnas campaign “Jeg er her” started in March 2015 and lasted throughout the year. The aim was to put attention on sexual abuse towards children, and the importance of that adults care. Utsattmann were invited from the start, and this led to many of our members being able to share their stories and experienced-based advice in many of the campaigns activities.

By Svein schøgren

We at Utsattmann believe openness is one of the most important weapons to fight sexual abuse towards children. We want to make children and adults aware of that abuse is happening all the time and in a much greater extent than shown in official statistics. At the same time we want to make it clear that an abuser can be male or female, and it’s not the boogeyman down the street, but it could be anyone. Therefore parents need to stop being naïve, and take care of their children. There’s also an unimaginably amount of boys who experience sexual abuse and this is another topic that needs to be addressed. When men, who experienced abuse when growing up tell their stories, it helps breaking down the taboos and makes it easier for others to speak out. Therefore we’ll gladly pay the personal price to stand out in the media with our stories.

Meetings in ten Norwegian cities
Redd Barnas campaign was launched at Litteraturhuset i Oslo. Chairman of Utsattmann, Svein Schøgren, were one of the appellants. The same day he got to share his story at God Morgen Norve in TV2, where he attended together with Secretary General Tove R. Vang from Redd Barna. Later there was also an interview at the TV2 news and at radio P4.

The campaign was marked by rallies in ten cities around the country, and the first location was Mandal, 11th of March. Visits were made here at high schools and a meeting at kulturhuset Buen. Utsattmann CEO, Jarle Holseter, shared his story and told about the consequences og being abused. Actor Tobias Santelmann and Redd Barnas General Secretary Tove R. Vang were also participating on the meetings in Mandal. A various number of media was present and interviewed the participants. Fædrelandsvennen, Lindesnes avis and NRK Sørlandet. Presenter Trude Teigen acted as the master of ceremonies.

In Mandal, Redd Barna also organized a mass demonstration with parent meeting for all the schools in town, where director of Utsattmann, Ketil Kristoffersen, shared his story. Together with legal adviser as Redd Barna Lars Due Tønnensen.. Odd Sverre Pedersen represented Utsattmann at “Jeg er her” in Drammen and in Kongsvinger. He’s been sharing his story several times in the media and was interviewed by VGTV with Redd Barna in October.

Children’s rights seminar
Utsatmann’s northernmost member, Bjørn Aasmoe, is working as an advisor for people who’ve been subjected to sexual abuse. He’s been open in the media about his experiences with abuse when growing up. In August 2015, he was a lecturer at the children’s rights seminar at Litteraturhuset i Oslo, where he talked about shame. A topic that many victims of sexual abuse have a troubled relationship with. In November He was also the only lecturer at barnerettighetsfrokost and evening seminars for volunteers in Trondheim. The topics were about boys and men also can be victims of sexual abuse and what this is causing them.

Digital stories on social media
An exciting project that reaches out to many social media was launches in November. Five men from our organization were invited to tell their stories by creating a digital story. The manufacturer of this was Merete Grimeland, who was commissioned by Redd Barna. These digital stories were released every day in a moth, which are searchable, strong and fragile tales of boys and girls who experienced sexual abuse in their childhood.

Day seminar in Tromsø
Utsattmann arranged in Novebmer a day seminar in Tromsø in cooperation wih Redd Barna. Bjør Aasmoe did it all together into a strong marking of the problems of sexual abuse in general, and with a special focus on men. There were many lecturers, from the police department, child welfare and Redd Barna. In dddition, four from Utsattmann got to share their stories and experiences with the 100 attendees. Actor Bernt Bjørn directed the meeting and softened the day with well-chosen poems and songs. There was a huge interest from the media, both the regional newspapers in Nord and NRK made interviews with Jarle Holseter, CEO of Utsattmann and other participants at the event.

We are incredibly happy to be working with Redd Barna, and thank you that Utsattmann could participate in this. We’re looking forward to more fruitful cooperation in the future. We’ve gotten feedback from many men subjected to sexual abuse and their relatives, as well from people working in the field, which strengthens our belief that visibility and openness is the most important thing we can do. Statistics and theories about what’s helping is good, but nothing can replace first hand experiences from those who have experienced abuse with their own bodies, and managed to get back on their feet.