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Mike's Update – May 13, 2005

As I prepare to leave for New Zealand and then England (see Events page for details), I wanted to get in one more update. This one is mostly about films that I recommend, or that have been recommended to me by male survivors. I welcome suggestions of other films that you have found useful.

First, a couple of other matters.


For any of you who live in the UK, I received the following communication from the Colchester Rape Crisis Line. They are great folks and would appreciate your help and input:

We're making a last ditch attempt in Colchester to see if we can get some more responses to our questionnaire for male survivors. So far we've had a very healthy response from agencies that work with male survivors, but very few from male survivors themselves. Although we did expect this to some extent, the more responses we get, the more pressure we can put on the local authorities to develop a service.

We have produced the attached poster which we hope you might be able to publicise/distribute to try and reach as wide an audience as possible. We'd be really grateful for any publicity you can give us, as the questionnaire will be taken offline at the end of May.

Are you a male survivor of sexual abuse, assault or rape?
If so check out the confidential questionnaire at
We will be setting up a service in Essex based on your responses and writing a report,
which will be useful for similar agencies.


VOICES in Action is extending a special invitation to male survivors to join the organization and to attend their 23rd annual conference in Cincinnati, Ohio in July. I look forward to seeing you there.
For further information: http://www.voices-action.org/


Recommended Films:

This is a list of films that are of interest to survivors and their allies. I have included URLs that offer more information, and my own comments about them.
Some of these films are fiction and others are documentaries. Most have content that many will find disturbing. Please think carefully about whether it makes sense for you to watch them when you are alone – or to view them at all. I invite you to let me know about other films that you have found helpful.

“The Boys of St. Vincent”
This powerful Canadian film is a fictionalized version of a true story: the sexual and physical abuse of boys at the Mt. Cashiel orphanage in Newfoundland run by the Irish order of Christian Brothers, and the collusion of many institutions (political, educational, law enforcement, social services, etc.) to keep the abuse secret. I am told by people who were connected to these events that the film is quite faithful to the actual events.

“The Celebration” (Danish title: “Festen”)
A wrenching film about incest and the power of denial.


“Holy Water-Gate: Abuse Cover-up in the Catholic Church”
Mary Healy-Conlon, a Rhode Island film maker has created an extraordinary documentary about clergy abuse and massive institutional cover-up.

“Into the Woods”
Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical uses fairy tale characters to create a powerful metaphor for abuse and recovery. This legendary composer certainly understands the ongoing effects of abuse.

This fictional portrayal of a child abuser offers chilling insight into the ways that sexual predators “groom” both victims and their entire community. I urge you not to watch this movie when you are alone.

“Lilies” (French title – “Les feluettes”)
This Canadian film is a fantasy of revenge by survivors of clergy abuse.

“The Magdalene Sisters”
An account of ongoing sexual and physical abuse of young women in Church operated institutions in Ireland. If you view this on DVD, make sure you watch the special features. They include interviews with some of the women on whom the characters in the film are based.

“Rabbit-Proof Fence”
An amazing Australian film based on the true story of three young Aboriginal girls who were taken from their mothers to be raised by European Australians. These three were members of Australia’s “Stolen Generations”. The film and special features explains more about the treatment of Aborigines. The actors playing the three girls will touch your heart. Despite the cruelties inflicted on Australia’s indigenous people, this film is ultimately a tale of triumph of the human spirit.

“Shatterboy: Men Surviving Sexual Abuse”
A fine documentary about male survivors.

“Stories of Silence: Recovering from Boyhood Sexual Abuse”
This is a deeply personal documentary by an American film maker who is also a survivor.


“When Helping Hurts: Sustaining Trauma Workers”
Every professional who works with any form of trauma should see this film about stress, burn-out, compassion fatigue, and self care. It is distributed by the organization Gift from Within.

“Antwone Fisher”
Although oversimplified, this touching Hollywood film provides understanding of the ongoing effects of abuse, the problems with secrecy, and the possibility of healing. A number of male survivors have told me that this film was important to their recovery.


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