Communicating a Need

While some ideas drown in noise, 1BlueString is bringing the voices of the 1in6 men that have been sexually abused to the surface.

Throughout history, we have watched visionaries change the world. Eli Whitney. Henry Ford. Steve Jobs. Not only did these people isolate a need, but they also found the right way to communicate how their innovation would benefit the world.

In 1928, an inventor named R.A. Duncan had visions of a television set that would broadcast text-based content. This “tele-newspaper” would deliver articles, laid out like a newspaper, with each channel providing content from a different news source. Mr. Duncan’s idea, in many ways, is what we now know as the Internet.

But, the idea was never supported on a consumer level, not because it wasn’t brilliant, but because he wasn’t able to communicate the need to the general public.

Several years ago, as I began to find my footing with the help of therapy for years of sexual abuse as a child, I began to identify a need. The need wasn’t innovative. In fact, I’d say nearly everyone who understands the trauma related to childhood sexual abuse has identified this need. The need is for more people to start talking about childhood sexual abuse and in my case, I wanted to innovate how people talked about the sexual abuse of boys.

So, like any good social media user, I took to Twitter. I’d change the world, one tweet at a time.

Before long, I noticed something a bit sad. After getting a few hundred Twitter followers, and receiving many re-tweets, my Twitter success leveled out. Time after time, I shared my soul to the Twitterverse, and time after time, the same people read and shared my Tweet, with very few new followers. Come on, this is social media, right?!

What I’ve realized since is that this issue takes much, much more than a few tweets, and a book, and a logo, and a Facebook page. Society as a whole isn’t ready to innovate. So, what we need to do is to nudge them along in a way that doesn’t feel like innovation. We must meet them on their turf and make it easy.  We need to successfully communicate the need.

This fall, 1in6.org, an organization who’s mission is to help men who had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood recover, is trying to do just that. In a campaign called “1BlueString,” the organization will be asking guitar players, at all levels, to remove their top guitar string, and replace it with a free blue guitar string, to symbolize the 1in6 men who have this trauma in their past.

The campaign is nothing more than that. It’s simple, almost exceedingly simple, but the hope is that this will give a large group of people a clear way to innovate without stepping too far out into the spotlight, and then, maybe others will follow.

While the campaign doesn’t invent a cotton gin, or automobile, or smartphone, it will help people voice their support in a tangential, less awkward and less cumbersome way. Now, it’s up to 1in6, and its partners and supporters, to make sure the campaign continues to communicate the need to the general public, if nothing else, for Mr. Duncan’s ill-fated and brilliant “tele-newspaper.”

–By Chris Carlton

Chris Carlton is the Development Director at 1in6. He is the author of Nice To Meet Me, a book that chronicles his journey through therapy for sexual abuse in an effort to help fellow abuse survivors and those who love them better understand the process of recovery.  Chris is a former U.S. Navy intelligence officer and advertising executive living in Richmond, Virginia.

 

 

 

Photo credit: Flickr / Hell, Etc

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About 1in6

The mission of 1in6 is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives. 1in6′s mission also includes serving family members, friends, and partners by providing information and support resources on the web and in the community.

Comments

  1. Hello. remarkable job. I did not expect this. This is a great story.
    Thanks!

  2. Free Human Bieng says:

    I know that society, media and the entertainment industry frames sexual abuse as men = perp, female = victim.

    As a victim of abuse by 2 female family members, I can tell you that in my experience coming forward at any stage was never an option. The paradigm is so linear, that you think no one will believe that women are capable of bad things. Women are busy telling men how bad they are and men are busy telling other men how bad they are that male victims of female sexual abuse feel they will in no way, shape or form be believed, so they stay silent and the circle of silence keeps the discourse the way some people want it.

    Until society acknowledges male victims with anything other than lip service then those buried, hidden victims will continue to suffer, whilst the help they need is diverted to the more important gender.

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