SURVIVING OUR STRUGGLE

A Program for Boys, Young Men and Trans-Identified Individuals

The programs of Justice Resource Institute at the Trauma Center and JRI Health have extensive experience in culturally-competent programs for at-risk and exploited youth and adults. Surviving Our Struggle (SOS) is an innovative project that specializes in the needs of male victims of commercial sexual exploitation. This project recognizes the reality that abuse of males does exist. It is more common than society has believed/acknowledged. It takes on many forms, which can be both blatant and subtle. The spectrum of abuse includes neglectful behaviors to physical/sexual violence. These may include torture, beatings, verbal and psychological maltreatment, child pornography and sexual abuse (which can range from seductive behavior to rape). Therapists that specialize in working with male victims, define the abuse of their clients in ways that include but are not limited to sibling incest, abuse by a parent or parent surrogate, abuse by school teachers, clergy abuse, abuse within residential facilities, abuse by camp counselor, baby sitter, physician, or any other caregiver. No matter who the abuser is, the effects of sexual abuse on the victim presents long-term psycho/social ramifications.

Surviving Our Struggle works with youth and young men who identify as those that have been victimized by sexual abuse in all its definitions and to those that are at-risk for and presently being commercially sexually exploited. The design of this program recognizes that there are three key themes that emerge from local and national evidence on sexually exploited young males: (a) these youth are hard to identify and engage. Often they do not show up on the radar of providers from various disciplines; (b) for them, life as a victim and exploitation brings with it high levels of risk for HIV, STI's, substance abuse, violence and other poor outcomes: (c) at-risk and sexually exploited boys and young men can be reached through carefully designed outreach programs and engagement strategies that reflect the realities of their circumstances, needs and hopes.

Surviving Our Struggle works with CSEC boys, providing services based on a continuum of care. At the completion of the intake process, an individualized service plan is proposed to the client in which he is offered services that include: support to obtain housing; GED programs; job training and placement; behavioral health and medical services; support groups led by peers and assignment to a survivor mentor that will navigate the client through this process and support him in alternatives to living the "Life". SOS is also the leader nationally in training and consultations to providers on the issues realted to CSEC boys.

For more information about Surviving Our Struggle, please email Steven Procopio, ACSW, LICSW or call 617-266-3349 x-2322.