Statistics show that at least one in six men have been sexually abused, and director of The Male Room, Philip Chapman, is slowly making grounds in getting the message out there that it’s more common than we realise.
Located on St Vincent St, the free service for men has been gifted money to employ a part-time social worker to help the growing number of men in the region seeking support.
“We deal with men as victims of sexual and physical abuse, offenders, victims of family violence, separation, divorce, pornography – there’s a list of things we do,” says Philip.
“But you can imagine me doing all this on only 20 hours a week is a struggle, and I work outside of hours.”
A cheque for $9500 was presented to Philip last week, which was raised by the ANZ Staff Foundation.
The foundation is a staff payroll-giving initiative that distributes half a million dollars every year to New Zealand charities.
Philip says the funding will take pressure off an already stretched staff – which consists of only him and a few volunteers.
“It’s a significant amount of money for us,” he says.
Philip says a social worker will start in the New Year and will do “a lot” for the guys seeking help.
“There are so many areas that we could be assisting men in. They walk in here and say ‘I’ve got nothing to eat, nowhere to live, I’ve got a bit of a drinking problem, and I don’t see my kids, can you help me out’ – where do you start?”
The Male Room is the Nelson location for the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust and they also offer accommodation at Franklyn Village for those issued with a Police Safety Order.
They have also now joined the Nelson Food Bank, due to an increase in the number of people needing food over the last year.
Philip says he first became involved with the building around 30 years ago, when it was a childcare centre.
“Then we got involved with men and fathers and changed to The Male Room around seven years ago. The time was right to have a centre for men – there wasn’t much for them in Nelson.”
Philip says that men are often portrayed as being “at the top of the heap”.
“But we forget that they’re the main victims in prison, their health’s far worse than women, and their suicide stats are worse. It staggers me that we see all these negative outcomes for men, but don’t actually do anything about it,” he says.
“Men just don’t figure that much as a needy group, so to get people supporting us means a lot to us.”
ANZ funding also went to Adult Learning Support Nelson, Supporting Families in Mental Illness Nelson, Victory Community Centre, Whakatu Te Korowai Manaakitanga Trust and Richmond Riding for the Disabled.
To find out about the foundation, go to: https://anzstafffoundation.anz.co.nz/