National film showing, panel focuses on male survivors of sex abuse

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Art from Boys and Men Healing.

Screenings at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, and Wednesday, April 11.

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University will be the host site for two screenings of "Boys and Men Healing," a documentary about male survivors of child sexual abuse who are healing and speaking out.

Screenings are set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, and Wednesday, April 11, in WMU's Little Theatre on East Campus at the corner of Oakland Drive and Oliver Lane. The film will be introduced on both dates by WMU Trustee Mary Asmonga-Knapp, who is manager of the Family Advocacy Program for the Department of Defense's Defense Logistics Agency at the Hart Dole Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek, Mich.

The showings, which are free and open to the public, are part of the area's observance of April as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Each screening will be followed by a question-and-answer period featuring a panel of abuse survivors as well as local professionals who work in the field.

"Boys and Men Healing" is a documentary about the impact male child sexual abuse has on both the individual and society. It focuses on the importance of male survivors healing and speaking out for the well being of the individuals, families and communities. The film from director and producer Kathy Barbini and co-producer Simon Weinberg of Big Voice Pictures, features the stories of non-offending men who are recovering from the effects of abuse.

The film highlights the effects of boyhood sexual abuse and how it can lead to shame, intimacy problems, sexual identity confusion, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse or rage that leads to violence. The stories recount the experiences of men who, despite such devastating effects, ultimately chose the arduous task of healing. Through counseling, support groups and taking action toward prevention, each man is an example of hope and the ability for survivors to thrive.

According to Dr. Angela Moe, associate professor of sociology, the event will offer those attending a chance to become more informed on the issue. It also, she says, will provide resources for attendees who need them. The post-film panel is made up of a male survivor, female survivor, male professional/counselor, female professional/counselor, a prosecuting attorney and a member of the clergy.

"We also will have four to five on-site therapists with private spaces for anyone who needs them," Moe says. "We'll have display tables with additional materials as well as staff from the YWCA, WMU Counseling Center and Voices Against Sexual Assault. And we're developing a support kit of helpful resources to hand out to each attendee."

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. the evening of each showing. Parking is available in WMU Lots 1, 11 and 38--all in the immediate vicinity of the Little Theatre.

Already shown on such campuses as Brown, Indiana State and Utah State universities, upcoming screenings also are scheduled for Harvard and Penn State universities and the University of Toledo.

At WMU, the event is sponsored by the WMU Board of Trustees and the Office of the President as well as a variety of other campus units. The WMU offices are working in collaboration with the Kalamazoo County Prosecuting Attorney, Voices Against Sexual Assault, the Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council and Kalamazoo County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

For more information, contact Angela Moe at angie.moe@wmich.edu or (269) 387-5276.