A new support group in Sudbury geared specifically to help men who have been sexually abused is finally up and running.
It’s the first support group for male survivors in the city in nearly a decade.
Rick Comeau said he was relieved when he learned the group was finally launched.
"It's something I had been fighting for for two years and now it's here and I'm a part of it and I'm so grateful," said the Sudbury resident, who said he was sexually abused for five years as a child.
Now he's one of 11 men in the male survivors of sexual abuse support group at the Sudbury Counselling Centre.
Though he's been in group therapy for mental health and addiction issues in the past, Comeau said this male survivors group is something entirely different.
"When I'm in group here, I can relate to all of these men when they're sharing," he said.
"I can understand the feelings they're going through, the hurt, the pain, the depression."
The Sudbury Counselling Centre's support group meets weekly and is midway through its first 10-week cycle.
One of the facilitators of the group said the sessions are about preparing men to begin the recovery process.
"It's very powerful to see men coming forward," Jessica McPhee said.
"They walk in the group and without saying a word. Just by connecting physically, you know, seeing another man in the group program, you can see in their eyes that, for the first time in their life, they feel like they're not alone."
The Sudbury Counselling Centre said it's looking to continue the male survivors support group in the future, including possibly starting a group for the men and their families.
The centre will facilitate a first-ever "Male Survivor Weekend of Recovery" in January.
"The primary focus of this weekend is … so men know that they're not alone," McPhee said.
"They're coming together with other men throughout the community and throughout northern Ontario to do different exercises."
McPhee said there are similar male-focused retreats happening across the province, including one this week in Thunder Bay.
Men who are interested should contact the Sudbury Counselling Centre at 705-524-9629.