Local Agency Helps Male Abuse Victims

WHBF — May 4, 2005

The Men's Center in Davenport helps men who have been sexually abused and says this week's testimony in the trial of former priest James Janssen has likely been very difficult for the victims. But they also say that their testimony is a step in the right direction for all men who have been abused.

When James Wells took the stand on Tuesday, he admitted that it was fear that kept him from talking about his abuse for decades.

"I was too afraid to tell anybody," said Wells from the witness stand.

"For anyone to come forward with that is very challenging," says Anthony Rodriguez of The Men's Center. "But for men it is even more challenging partially because men aren't conditioned to think of themselves as a victim."

Rodriguez is the founder of The Men's Center and he has often seen patients who are ashamed or embarrassed by their situation.

"To be victimized as a male, there's all the stereotypes and conditioning that men face that makes it more difficult to expose," he says.

While Rodriguez does not treat James wells, he says he has dealt with similar cases. He says when someone opens themselves up and comes forward about the abuse - like Wells did on Tuesday - it is often a major breakthrough.

"Most men, when they get to a stage in terms of really taking ownership of their experience," says Rodriguez, "not taking ownership of their abuse but of their experience, one starts to reclaim his life and be able to move forward, free of burden. The secret is no longer there."

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