Sur­vivor shares his ex­pe­ri­ence

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - TORIKA TOKALAU-CHANDRA

A sex­ual child­hood abuse sur­vivor hopes that shar­ing his story will help change the mind­set of other sex­u­ally abused Kiwi males.

Greg Holt­meyer, 51, of Mis­souri in the United States, is hold­ing a closed group and a pub­lic sem­i­nar on male sex­ual abuse at Auck­land’s Unitec in Mt Al­bert from May 29 to 30.

New Zealand Po­lice Data shows 624 cases of male sex­ual as­sault and re­lated of­fences were re­ported last year. Males be­tween the ages of 5 to 9 years old and 15 to 19 years old recorded the high­est vic­tims in that time pe­riod.

Male Sur­vivors of Sex­ual Abuse Trust (MSSA) na­tional ad­vo­cate Ken Clear­wa­ter said there were more un­re­ported of­fences out there.

‘‘We live in a pa­tri­ar­chal so­ci­ety where males are sup­posed to be tough and staunch,’’ Clear­wa­ter said.

‘‘Who wants to dis­close they are a vic­tim of sex­ual abuse. They could be seen as weak, gay, ques­tioned why they didn’t do some­thing about it, if they en­joyed it and of course the myth that if they were sex­u­ally abused as a male, they would au­to­mat­i­cally go on to of­fend. They’d be the ele­phant in the room that no one wants to talk about.’’

Holt­meyer, a long-time child abuse ad­vo­cate, wants his story to help change New Zealand so­ci­ety’s mind­set and per­cep­tion of what sex­ual abuse of males looked like.

He was sex­u­ally abused by a fam­ily mem­ber for more than 15 years since he was 6 years old. One of the big­gest ef­fects it had on his life was the de­struc­tion of his self es­teem.

‘‘For males that are sex­u­ally abused, there is an ex­tremely deep sense of shame that is at­tached to us,’’ Holt­meyer said.

‘‘I know the de­pres­sion, the pain that you want to it to stop at any cost, I have been sui­ci­dal, drank to cover the pain, I know what it was like to feel worth­less and less than a man.’’

Holt­meyer only came out with his story six years ago.

‘‘I don’t want any­one else in the world to feel those emo­tions, there is hope and you can re­cover from it. It does take good ther­apy, lots of hard work and time. But I am hap­pier to­day than I could have ever imag­ined. I could not have dreamed of be­ing this con­tent and happy with my life.’’

Con­tact trevor@out­line.org.nz or (09) 281 3409 to book a spot at the free pub­lic sem­i­nars. spray­ing of nox­ious weeds.

The Auck­land Coun­cil’s head of H&S qual­ity as­sur­ance and en­vi­ron­ment, Mike Tucker, says its con­trac­tors spot-ap­ply her­bi­cides as a form of pest plant con­trol in Auck­land parks.

How­ever he said the her­bi­cides used for work in the area are all ap­proved by the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Author­ity [EPA].

The con­trac­tor work­ing in the area is Downer and the EPAap­proved her­bi­cide it uses is glyphosate, Tucker said.

Peter Alexan­der, chief ex­ec­u­tive of bee­hive man­age­ment ser­vice BeezThingz, said glyphosate alone isn’t the prob­lem, but sus­pects a lethal com­bi­na­tion of her­bi­cide, pes­ti­cide and fungi­cide could be to blame.

SUPPLIED

Sur­vivor of child­hood sex­ual abuse and ad­vo­cate Greg Holt­meyer is shar­ing his sur­vivor story.

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