A SEX and relationships coach from Merimbula says without compassion around the subject of child abuse, healing can’t occur.
Jasmin Newman said, while she in no way condones the actions of men like Maurice Van Ryn, healing can only come “from a place of compassion and, dare I say it, we need to come from a place of love”.
“There is so much hatred being poured out,” Ms Newman said of the reaction to Van Ryn’s recent guilty plea over multiple child sex offences.
“I do not condone his actions in any way – I have nothing but contempt for those who do it.
“But for the community to heal it can’t be through hatred.”
Ms Newman works specifically in the area of male sexual assault and abuse.
When asked if that meant victims or perpetrators, she replied “herein lies the issue”.
“We know most men who are victims as a child or young adult don’t go on to abuse, but some do,” she said, adding there is no evidence to say Van Ryn was abused.
“In the case of perpetrators who were abused, if we had a culture that spoke more openly about childhood sexual abuse, perhaps they would have been given the tools to heal, before they began to harm others and continue the cycle.
“This is where compassion plays a part.
“There is little being done in Australia on this and it is widely under-reported, yet men are living with the damaging scars of their trauma.
“We have to start compassionate conversations and allow men to heal.”
Ms Newman recently returned from a six-week visit to the US to take part in a male survivor conference in Newark, New Jersey.
“Statistically, in the US, one in six men has been sexually abused during childhood or into early adulthood.
“In Australia, it’s one in three men abused, either sexually or through domestic violence.”
Ms Newman said it was really important to get across to all kids that sexual abuse of any kind is never okay.
“People wonder why when the victims are young teens they don’t fight back, but sometimes it’s because they have entered into a loving relationship [with the abuser].
“This can cause them much confusion and adds to further shame or feelings of guilt.
“But even if there’s consent, when one person has control over another, it’s sexual abuse.”