survivors manchester

Expert Advisory Panel

Back

Survivors Manchester takes the views of male survivors seriously and since day one, has always ensured that male survivor voices have the ability to influence our work and the direction of travel.

Our EAP (Expert Advisory Panel) is made up of a number of people who have either used the services or are currently using the services and give their opinions, advice and guidance on how we can continue to meet male survivors needs.

The EAP meets bi-monthly and each panel member holds office for 1 year. Every 3 months, the EAP meets with the Chief Executive Officer to engage in discussion, debate and feedback on the organisation and recommendations are made that are then fed into the governance structure of the charity.

The Chief Executive Officer is then responsible for making a timely response to each EAP recommendation and ensuring that a space is given at our annual conference for EAP presentation of their discussions that year.

What services have you used at Survivors Manchester and what is your honest experience of them?

I was fortunate enough to have a partner that pointed me in the direction of Survivors Manchester in my hour of need, Unknown to me i was suffer from PTSD following an event from early in my life. I received 26 weeks therapy and i due to this service i feel like a new person, whilst i can’t compare my therapy i’m sure that the treatment i received was outstanding.

Why did you decide to become a member of the EAP?

Following my therapy i feel i have a lot more clarity on what happened to me and also come to realise that i’m not the only person who needed or indeed needs support through difficult and trying situations, I feel passionate that i can have a positive influence on the group and the charity, and hopefully this will help survivors like myself.

What do you like about Survivors Manchester?

A Charity that is actually making a difference and allowing people like me know that there is nothing wrong with breaking the silence.

What things do you think Survivors Manchester can improve on?

Whilst this is difficult to answer as I’ve only had positive experiences with Survivors Manchester i’m a great believer that there’s always scope for improvements for example if you improve 100 things by 1% then you’ve achieved 100% improvement. I believe that Survivors Manchester should continue to raise awareness and let the male fraternity know that it’s ok to have been a survivor.

What would you like to achieve as a member of the EAP during your term of office?

During my time with the EAP i’d like to add value and make a difference in a positive way.

Close

For the last 4 years I’ve been engaged with Survivors Manchester as a service user.

What services have you used at Survivors Manchester and what is your honest experience of them?

I have accessed trauma focussed therapy to help me understand the nuances of my own survivorship and to work through the emotional collateral damage I experienced when my ex partner broke his silence publicly whilst we were still together.

Why did you decide to become a member of the EAP?

I decided to become a member of the Expert Advisory Panel to give a voice to two groups of Survivors who I feel are currently underrepresented. Firstly, partners of Survivors who are Survivors themselves. This is a complex situation that requires appropriate support. When my ex partner broke his silence publicly, I felt in that moment that I would be silenced forever. I was devastated but Survivors Manchester helped me find my voice. Now as a proud Survivor, I’d like to see others offered the same opportunity.

Secondly, it has taken me years to truly accept that I am a Survivor. The words “abuse” and “perpetrator” didn’t feel like a part of my story, yet I knew something had happened to me as a child that wasn’t right. I believe I was sexually exploited and emotionally harmed as a result. Despite this, I couldn’t find it in myself to demonise the person who exploited me as they were only a few years older than me at the time. In the eyes of the law, they too were a child.

Through the great work of both my counsellors, I’ve been able to accept that Survivorship isn’t a title that is only bestowed to those who were abused by aggressive perpetrators. There is a whole spectrum of sexual abuse, exploitation and harm. I’ve also been able to accept that age differences are irrelevant – sexual abuse, exploitation and harm is about a misuse of power.

I felt like a fraud when I first accessed the services of Survivors Manchester, but their knowledge and professional support lead to a recent breakthrough moment in my journey, meaning I now proudly and publicly own my title of Survivor. I was trapped in silence and shame for over 20 years. What happened to me affected my relationships, friendships, family life and work. Through the EAP I want to share my story to help the organisation support others like me, so they can own their stories, claim their survivorship, establish healthy relationships and let go of their shame.”

Close

My name is Adrian but some people call me Adi and I’m fine with that.

The services I have used here at Survivors Manchester are: Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA), Saferoom, Drop In and assessment for therapy. I thought all the services I used were good, as if someone was genuinely interested in me, not just as if they were someone that was there till 6 p.m if you see what I mean. I found the Drop In service to be really welcome and warm. I didn’t feel that I had to do anything or say anything or act in a certain way if I didn’t want to. It is just a nice place to make friends, feel emotions, feel safe and feel respected and respectful. ISVA was very helpful, understanding and gave me a lot of help, and closure is now looming as a result. It really helped to give me clarity on a busy mind with what to do next. I can relax now that I am organised and following a plan with ISVA helping and making steady progress.

The Saferoom wasn’t for me. It triggered me because I was abused as a child. It was just us me, my brother and sister and in The Saferoom it was just us so it could be situational the trigger but I didn’t like it. It made me feel more depressed. They were nice enough but it tended to be led by the stronger communicators not better communicators when you consider that listening is a good communication skill. One or two of them generally did most of the talking and it seemed more about him and less about us which probably triggered me again because my older brother was my abuser and he interrupted me when I was speaking and had an opinion about what I said and then was immediately brought the conversation back to him again which I didn’t like. It didn’t help and I felt like I wasting my time having sacrificed a 12 step support group to attend.

Having said I was depressed anyway and I do have Asperger’s Syndrome this affects how I communicate, I probably need one to one therapy, which I’ve not had yet, before I benefit from The Saferoom and this sort of Peer Led Support Group. The CODA 12 Step Support Group I missed to attend the Saferoom has rules to listening and talking with regards to crosstalk so I was probably used to that format having nothing to compare it to. I think how it differs from Drop In in that there is no expectation whereas with The Saferoom I think I was expecting to get something from it perhaps I shouldn’t have had, after all I can only get disappointed if I have an expectation.

I thought I was the only one who felt like this but I have met one person who feels the same about the Saferoom but most people I’ve spoke to about it like it. I do have a friend who I met in Drop In who witnessed the person whom I was referring to from The Saferoom and he said quietly when I left the room at Drop In ‘let someone else talk’ so it wasn’t just me. The assessment I had for therapy with one of the counsellors was very good, very professional and it was like therapy started there for me and I was opening up and then had to reign it in because it wasn’t the time for it although it is a reflection on how comfortable I was and the counsellor was good, gave me an answer that made sense and was compassionate, again made me feel cared for and safe. I spent too long no talking about I should have done it sooner although I am doing it now and that’s good enough.

I decided to become a member of the Expert Advisory Panel because I want a career and thought that I was being offered an opportunity, even if that was only to explore myself, realise how I felt or what I thought about certain situations and realise things about myself. I am finding that I am critically self-actualising and finding purpose.

I also want to feel safe and secure, listened to, wanted, valued, to be useful, find something that I am good at, for someone to tell me that I will never be alone anymore even if this is in the subtext of communication which is probably the best way because actions speak louder than words, to be part of something bigger than myself. The chance to impart my gifts upon the world, one of which is the unique view I have of the world to feel supported and supportive.

What I like about Survivors Manchester is integrity. Some who will tell me that they care or by showing it by giving me a call to say that they haven’t seen me for a while and to know that Survivors Manchester is not something that happens in my head it is reciprocal, proactive, emotional and caring. It is human. I like all these little extra things to do like member of the EAP profile which gives me focus, healing and optimism for the future and helping me work at how I feel. Nothing is promised it is all left to up to me create and be proactive and make what I can of every opportunity and noticing opportunities as they arise. I like that I feel cared for and this fives me hope to a make me feel that I really matter, understood and for someone to put a voice to my experiences even if sometimes that voice is not my own, often I want to say nothing and feel empathy I get that. I have never felt like it was all about me before service was delivered and I felt able to embrace myself as someone who had a considerable amount of wrong do to them and I could love myself and the compassion was high. It is like this if you think of it this way, they’re outside and you’re caught in it, it is dark, wet, lonely and you’re shivering with cold. Someone opens the door and invites you in kind. You’re immediately hit with the light and warmth of the room and the food smells like home, you’re given fresh clothes to wear and a pot of tea as you sit gathered round the fire to keep warm. Someone to pick you up when you feel down, a shelter from the storm, a towel to dry your hair with optimism for a better tomorrow, all you’ve got to do it set through today, You realise that kind, supportive person who let you in the door, well that someone was you, you broke your own silence and you did your own healing too Survivors Manchester was there show you the way and be your companions too.

I think Survivors Manchester can improve by investing more into the people that they taking in on a voluntary basis and recognising the talents and the effort that they bestow. Promoting from within is a great way of raising the standards from within because it is doing so by example and internally leading the way, making the message clear if you want to do it then do it and prove with your actions. This goes beyond altruism, this makes strategic sense and constantly checking with staff or regularly anyway asking where are you going, what would you want to do?

What I would like to achieve as a member of EAP during my term of office is to listen by being the voice of the unspoken perspective, what’s really going on in the eye of the observer that the ordinary man hasn’t seen.. How perceptive can I be by giving as deep an insight as possible that my gifts and experiences will allow.

Close

What services have you used at Survivors Manchester and what is your honest experience of them?

The services I have used at Survivors Manchester are one to one counselling, the drop in and also the Safe Room.

Why did you decide to become a member of the EAP?

I became Expert Advisory Panel member because I am passionate about the good work Survivors Manchester do. Also because I am a client of the service I can see the good work they do in helping others and i’d like to be part off helping shaping the company in the future.

What do you like about Survivors Manchester?

What I like about survivors Manchester is that its such a mixed bag off people from all walks off life who come together to tackle what is a very difficult subject matter and handle it with dignity.

What things do you think Survivors Manchester can improve on?

Survivors Manchester could improve itself as it already is by expanding and branching off into other areas off the country to help more people.

What would you like to achieve as a member of the EAP during your term of office?

I would like to achieve as being part off the panel, a deeper understanding of working with others to achieve common goal.

Close

What services have you used at Survivors Manchester and what is your honest experience of them?

I’m not sure the official name of the services I made use of but I imagine it was called trauma therapy? My experience was honestly really good. Thankfully I had a therapist who was pretty similar in age to myself, and for me that was a little daunting at first, but then I came to really value that about the therapy. It meant there was room for a mutual understanding on certain things. Also, it was really good to go through therapy with somebody who has suffered through some of the same things I had; that was important, because previously I’d met with therapists who have had no idea what I’m going through. There was no pressure in the sessions either, which I really liked, because some days I just came in and didn’t really say much. That was sometimes because of where I was at emotionally (or psychologically), but either way my therapist was respectful of that. All round my experience was fantastic.

Why did you decide to become a member of the EAP?

At first I didn’t really know how I wanted to be involved with Survivors Manchester, I just knew I wanted to support their cause in some way. When Duncan heard I was looking to become an ambassador and get involved in some way, he called about the EAP. It sounded like a perfect role for me, mainly due to my first hand experience of their services, but also I think I have a lot to offer in other ways. I’m excited to see how the EAP can help Survivors Manchester grow and enhance their services to those who really need them.

What do you like about Survivors Manchester?

I love that it’s available in Manchester. There needs to be a service like this available in every city in the country, honestly! It’s actually difficult to think about those outside of Manchester who may be missing out on the help I received. I love how personable the team are, and how completely understanding they are of the issues people bring into their therapy rooms. They’re not ignorant to the problems survivors of sexual abuse face, and that’s so important! I feel so grateful I was supported by Survivors Manchester.

What things do you think Survivors Manchester can improve on?

I think there are many ways Survivors Manchester can reach people and make their services more accessible. Whether that be through having a presence on the streets in the city centre informing people about the service, or maybe even having more frequent evening classes/group sessions to give people who are suffering a safe space to spend a little time in.

I think it would be brilliant to somehow make therapy sessions more accessible to those who are in full time employment. I know during my sessions it was sometimes difficult to arrange my next session due to work commitments. I’d love to see the services grow enough in order to provide more sessions maybe on weekends or even just later evening sessions.

I’d also love to see some way of incorporating “significant others” in the service. For instance, maybe allowing some way for those close to the survivors who don’t really understand what’s going on and what abuse truly looks like to be enlightened somehow and informed on what some people have encountered and how they can be supported in their journey of recovery.

What would you like to achieve as a member of the EAP during your term of office?

I’d like to see the service become more well known in the city and even use my creativity to somehow inform others of why people may need to use this service. For instance, using music/theatre to make it less of a taboo topic and hopefully encourage more people to come forward and talk about things freely, in a safe place like Survivors Manchester. I wish I had come across a service like this when I was a lot younger, but sadly I was in my mid 20’s when I finally spoke out about my abuse. I’d love to see more young people come forward and find a little freedom. ​

Close

I’m Sam, a 24 year old DJ from Newark, Nottinghamshire. In 2017 I shared my story worldwide in the hope of encouraging other men to break their silence and this led on to me becoming an Ambassador for Survivors Manchester. In addition to becoming an ambassador I joined the EAP as well as becoming a trustee of the Male Survivors Partnership. I’ve also recently started at university studying Law.

What services have you used at Survivors Manchester and what is your honest experience of them?

I’ve had two courses of one to one therapy, once about 6 months after the attack and then for another short period about a year after that. I also used the ISVA service once my case had been given ’No Further Action’, this was so that I could meet and speak with the investigating officer about how that decision had been reached.

Why did you decide to become a member of the EAP?

I decided to become a member of the panel because I wanted to give back to the organisation that helped me. I think that Survivors Manchester is a fantastic organisation but like with everything there will always be room for improvement. I’d like to have my say in making those improvements for the future service users to have the best possible service available to them.

What do you like about Survivors Manchester?

I like how supportive service users are of one another. There is this real sense of belonging and I think that the staff and Duncan have worked really hard to embed that in the culture of the organisation.

What things do you think Survivors Manchester can improve on?

I think that more work should be done to engage with the other people that are effected and not just the individual. Already there is some support available to family members but I think more could be offered, or it offered in a different way. A support group for mothers, online resources, reassurance that they are helping, ‘instruction’, etc.

What would you like to achieve as a member of the EAP during your term of office?

No idea.

Close

The EAP hope to be able to engage with as many individuals that use our service, be more visible to individuals and really help Survivors Manchester #BreakTheSilence on the sexual abuse, rape and sexual exploitation of boys and men.

Stakeholders & Fundraisers

Helpline: 0808 800 5005

X