One of the ways I feel I can give back and help others is by doing more than writing a blog about my Cancer journey. I think there are many out there that are dealing with resiliency challenges, they feel alone and or they feel they are unable to share and deal with their lot in life. And these challenges are not limited to Cancer, it appears in the form of mental health issues in so many areas of our lives.
Recently I was contacted by the Canadian Centre for Male Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (cc4ms) and asked to speak at their next luncheon taking place on November 13th. At first I was unsure why I would be a relevant speaker for their awareness and fundraising campaign. After we met and I learned a lot more about this issue I of course became more and more upset with the continual and ongoing conversations around child sexual abuse.
I of course assumed it happened, and I of course have heard an awful lot about female sexual abuse. But male abuse. How often could it happen if we aren’t talking about it?
Well, as it turns out 1 in 3 women are abused by age 18 and 1 in 5 men are abused by age 18, maybe 1 in 4 as 96% of male survivors do not disclose the abuse and trauma.
Either way you cut it, this is terrible. Absolutely terrible.
And as men don’t talk about it, society doesn’t want to talk about it and as a result men keep this abuse to themselves and mental health issues appear at some point. And unfortunately due to the male stigma we haven’t put supports in place for adult men to deal with their demons. There are great supports built through organizations like Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, but they are mandated to serve only those younger than 18 years of age. That’s a huge group and at such a vulnerable age and stage. And they are world-class! They have parenting programmes but can’t introduce an adult survivors’ programme.
This is where the CC4MS team comes in. Their vision is to be Canada’s resource centre for treatment, education, research and advocacy for adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
The more I listened to Frances and Kim of cc4ms, and the more we talked about it, the more I realized that how I am dealing with Cancer may be of assistance to those dealing with other diseases or even to men dealing with childhood sexual abuse.
Maybe, just maybe, my belief of being vulnerable and openly sharing, is an approach that can allow these men to open their hearts and arms to getting support and feeling like they are not in the journey by themselves.
I of course accepted the opportunity and am going to be speaking to a crowd of 300+ people at the Fairmont Palliser.
And I think for the first time that I have done a public presentation I am truly nervous. Not the nervous energy I’ve built up in the past for a new business pitch or a speech. This nervousness is very, very different. It’s because I feel exposed. With other speeches I have an object I am speaking about - it could be me speaking about the creative process, or speaking about Evans Hunt or Village Brewery, or I could be pitching for new business in front of an executive group. Each one of those times I had a prop to speak through, and that prop was not me.
This time all I have is me, my cancer journey and a big desire to help cc4ms and their guests.
But as I said in the last post I am way happier pushing myself when it’s helping fix something, so here we go. And since I have been given so much love my cup runneth over - time to share.
Oh, and it doesn’t help that their list of past speakers are huge public icons like Ken Dryden, Jim Gray, Bob Schulz, Justice Jack Major, Doug Mitchell, Jon Cornish, Peter Mansbridge, Honourable Ron Ghitter, Grant Bartlett, Peter Maher, Honourable Frank McKenna, Dr. Dean Vause, Mark Fewell, Dave Mowat, Brian Burke and Alan Norris.
Yup. Exposed. If you want to see chaos ensue, buy a ticket at Magnificent Men Luncheon.