Support Letters Wanted: South-South Institute on Sexual Violence Against Men & Boys

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Want to help male survivors of sexual abuse? Here’s a great opportunity.

Editor’s Note: The piece below was forwarded to me by Alastair Hilton of First Step Cambodia, an organization that offers support to sexually abused boys, young men and their families. It was written by Chris Dolan, organizer of the South-South Institute on Sexual Violence Against Men & Boys in Conflict & Displacement that will take place April 8-12th in Kampala, Uganda. It is published here with permission.

Refugee Law Project, in collaboration with First Step Cambodia, Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust New Zealand, International Human Rights Law Clinic of University of California Berkeley, as well as two refugee support groups (Men of Hope – Kampala, Men of Peace – Nakivale), and two former IDP (Internally Displaced Peoples) groups from Gulu district, is pleased to alert you to the upcoming South-South Institute on Sexual Violence Against Men & Boys in Conflict & Displacement, due to take place from 8-12th April here in Kampala, Uganda.

To the best of our knowledge this is the first such Institute in the region with a focus on male survivors of conflict and displacement and related to sexual violence. As such it is both exploratory and experimental.

Day 1: a scene-setting conference, with a key-note speech and succinct presentations and discussions of various relevant research and practice: health realities, psychosocial realities, options for legal action, addressing issues of community shaming, organisation and movement building.

Day 2: a closed workshop for survivors and staff, facilitated by Ken Clearwater, founding Director of Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust New Zealand, aiming to establish survivor priorities for improved service delivery and advocacy work.

Day 3: a workshop for practitioners working or planning to work with male survivors, facilitated by Alastair Hilton of First Step Cambodia, to determine the training and support needs of practitioners. In parallel there will be a roundtable of legal experts from Uganda and the US, to explore the usefulness of existing legal regimes for refugee and IDP survivors, and to begin to clearly identify key elements of legal reform to best support these categories of survivor.

Day 4: we take the Institute to students in the medical and legal fields, and seek to identify their training needs

Day 5: the key health, legal, psychosocial, community and organisation building issues arising during the week will be presented to and discussed with government, policy makers, donors and diplomats in the course of a round-table.

For various reasons, including cost, we have kept the numbers physically present relatively modest, but we would love to invite your thoughts and contributions. Specifically, we are asking if you would be willing to write a message to our participants as well as to our larger audience, or to share such a message with us via Skype in the course of the Institute.

Write a Message of Support

Your message could be an expression of moral support to survivors who for the first time are coming together and engaging with a wider audience of practitioners, policy makers, students, donors, academics and media. Your message could provide a commentary on what you would like to see with regard to services to survivors, or attitudinal change, or legislative reforms, or research questions. You may wish to share your own experience or that of friends or colleagues. You may have other dimensions you wish to input or comment on; your ideas are warmly welcomed!

We would prefer hand-written messages which are scanned, but an email message would also be very satisfactory. We would also be grateful if you could indicate if you are writing from an individual or an institutional capacity.

All messages which are positive in intent and content will be shared with our primary participant group, and subsequently shared with a wider audience in a slide-show format loaded onto the website of Refugee Law Project, unless you explicitly request us not to do so. We shall remove any messages that are offensive in content or intent, and we shall remove any identifiers of persons other than the sender of the message.

Please send your message using the heading Message to South-South Institute Participants and address it to Onen David at

Join us by Skype

You may also wish to join the conference via Skype to give your message in person. If so, please send a Skype request to RLP at and we shall alert you to timings. Please also feel free to circulate this to other individuals or institutions who you know share an interest in these issues.

We are looking forward to hearing from you, and hope you will join this conversation through your written message or by Skype!

With many thanks and best regards


–Photo: vanothchandar/Flickr

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About Cameron Conaway

Cameron Conaway is a former MMA fighter, an award-winning poet and the 2014 Emerging Writer-in-Residence at Penn State Altoona. He is the author of Caged: Memoirs of a Cage-Fighting Poet, Bonemeal: Poems, Until You Make the Shore and Malaria, Poems. Conaway is also on the Editorial Board at Slavery Today. Follow him on Google+ and on Twitter: @CameronConaway.

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