Sudbury short on help for male sex abuse survivors
City's only specialist retiring, causing worry for men on quest to heal from sexual abuse
The retirement of a trusted Sudbury psychotherapist is weighing heavily on the minds of sexually abused men who have finally come forward to tell their stories in an effort to heal.
Abuse survivor Robert Roussell has been attending counselling sessions with Jack Juhlin for the past two years.
"He just turned my life right around," Rousell said.
Juhlin is the only psychotherapist in Sudbury who deals specifically with men who have gone through this experience.
Juhlin himself experienced sexual abuse in his childhood — and it’s something with which Roussell can easily identify. This shared experience made it easier to open up and start the healing process he craved.
Juhlin will retire from his private practice on Tuesday. That has Roussell worried about what comes next.
"He has a partner who is going to keep working," he said.
"She's a woman, a female, who hasn't been through male sex abuse. I'm going to continue to see her and try to continue to seek help from her, but she doesn't specialize in this field."
Juhlin noted the level of support available for men in Sudbury is slowly increasing.
"There's more than we've had in the past," he said.
"I think probably any number of psychotherapists or psychologists will deal with this subject."
Not enough resources
Roussell said he'd like to see some sort of facility set up in Sudbury to train therapists to deal specifically with male survivors of sexual abuse.
But the head of a Sudbury men's agency says there are not enough services in the city.
"There are services for women, there is a home for women who are abused," said Patricia Delyea, the executive director of Rockhaven, a recovery house in Sudbury for men dealing with substance abuse.
"There's a sexual abuse centre for women, there's a whole department at the hospital for women, but men are included in that too, and they are turned away."
Delyea noted that 50 per cent of the 117 men admitted to Rockhaven last year said they had been victims of sexual abuse.
She said men who experienced sexual abuse often struggle from substance abuse and mental health issues.