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Male Survivors Share Stories During Red Zone Action Week

The University Park Undergraduate Association, the Gender Equity Center, and the Centre County Women’s Resource Center hosted a Male Survivors Panel in the HUB’s Alumni Hall Thursday night.

The panel was part of Red Zone Action Week, a weeklong effort by UPUA to educate students about the “Red Zone,” a period of increased vulnerability for sexual assault during the first six weeks of the school year.

The event began with the showing of a documentary titled “The Bristlecone Project” from 1in6, a foundation dedicated to helping male survivors of sexual abuse “live healthier, happier lives.”

Before getting help, many of the male survivors featured in the film buried their feelings about the incidents and kept what happened to them a secret. This led to feelings of shame, guilt, and isolation. The survivors also discussed the tendency of perpetrators to lie and threaten survivors in an effort to deter them from telling people about their abuse and make them feel guilty.

The documentary showed 1in6 helping survivors through counseling and group therapy and building a community of compassionate survivors dedicated to helping each other.

Following the documentary, Centre County Women’s Resource Center displayed all of the services they provide for survivors of abuse, which are free and confidential. The center provides a 24-hour crisis hotline, individual supportive counseling, and support groups, as well as protection orders, court accompaniment, civil legal representation, medical advocacy, and housing services.

The event then turned to the panelists, who told the stories of what they went through and how they overcame it.

Larry Conrad, director of the Phoenix Foundation, described how he overcame years of abuse and mental anguish through his studies and a Penn State professor who eventually became his mentor. Conrad later became a professor at University College and Oxford University in London.

Conrad finished his story with a message to anybody who has ever been a survivor of abuse: “You’re not alone, it wasn’t your fault, and people will believe you.”

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About the Author

Matthew Ogden

Matthew Ogden is a senior double majoring in Marketing and Journalism. He resides in South Jersey and is the cohost of Onward State's podcast, Podward State. Email him your favorite Spotify playlists to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MattOgden98.

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