Services

Here at ISGC, we provide, Psychotherapy, Sex Therapy, Gender Therapy, Sexual Abuse Therapy and Sacred Sexuality, Professional Supervision, Groups, Workshops and Retreats in Monterey, California.

For more information, call Wanda @ 831.375.7553 and to purchase any of our groups or workshops, at our center here in Monterey, California, please go to SHOP at the end of each section.

ALL SERVICES AT ISGC ARE LGBT & KINK FRIENDLY

SEXUAL ABUSE

ISGC recognizes and specializes in serving the needs of Sexual Abuse Survivors and their families. Along with individual therapy, we proudly provide these groups and services to address the abuse issues for both men and women. We proudly accept California Victims Of Crime Compensation as payment in full.

ESPECIALLY FOR MEN GROUP

services1

Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
On-Going Since 1994

Creators of, and featured in, the groundbreaking documentary,
“Boyhood Shadows: I Swore I’d Never Tell”

Stephen Braveman facilitates this healing group and provides men a safe, private and nuturing environment to move beyond the pain related to childhood sexual abuse. Participants work through isolation, fear, confusion, depression, low self-esteem and anger with other men who have had similar experiences.

Join the hundreds of men that have worked through our program and have become empowered to take their lives back.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 FOR QUALIFYING INTAKE APPOINTMENT

SHOP

LIVING WITH A SURVIVOR, SEXUAL ABUSE WORKSHOP

 services3

 Stephen and Wanda Braveman co-facilitate this unique and rare one-day Couple’s Workshop for Survivors of Sexual Abuse or Rape, regardless of gender and sexual orientation. Loving Partners learn to increase Communication and Heal Past Wounds. They learn to enhance their sexual satisfaction and pleasure by finding safety in being together. This workshop is also ideal for couples when both partners have abuse histories.

Come and learn ways to laugh together again. Learn to stay in the moment with each other, increasing sensitivity to each other’s moods and needs.

In this workshop couples will find a safe, nurturing place to examine the unique challenges they face due to sexual abuse survivor issues. Partners will learn how to take care of themselves while supporting the growth of their partner. Together couples will find ways to manage painful memories and embrace the safety of a healthy, loving, energetic and romantic relationship.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 TO REGISTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP

SHOP

SACRED INTIMACY/TANTRA WORKSHOP FOR SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS AND THEIR PARTNERS

 tantra

This Specialized Two-day Weekend Tantra Workshop includes all aspects of Sacred Tantra. We focus on uniting the sexual abuse survivor and their partner in a joint healing experience. In order for a sexual abuse survivor to experience sexual healing, they must first experience, safety, trust and intimacy. Sexual abuse affects both people in a relationship and our workshops are unique, in that we foster this safety, trust and healing for each couple in a confidential, private weekend.

Both days will be dedicated to learning many techniques, including partnered breath and eye gazing, while taking into account the special needs and circumstances of our specialized couples.

Couples will practice the techniques learned while remaining fully clothed. No direct genital touch will occur during this workshop.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 TO REGISTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP

SHOP

Back to Home

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

ISGC recognizes and specializes in serving the needs of Domestic Violence Survivors and their families. Along with individaul therapy, we proudly provide these groups and services to address the abuse issues for both men and women. We proudly accept VOC (California Victims Of Crime Compensation) as payment in full.

SACRED INTIMACY/TANTRA WORKSHOP FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ABUSE SURVIVORS AND THEIR PARTNERS

 domestic

This Specialized Two-day Weekend Tantra Workshop includes all aspects of Sacred Tantra. Stephen and Wanda Braveman focus on uniting the domestic violence abuse survivor and their partner in a joint healing experience. In order for a domestic abuse survivor to experience emotional healing, they must first experience, safety, trust and intimacy. Domestic Violence abuse affects both people in a relationship and our workshops are unique, in that we foster this safety, trust and healing for each couple in a confidential, private weekend.

Both days will be dedicated to learning many techniques, including partnered breath and eye gazing, while taking into account the special needs and circumstances of our specialized couples.

Couples will practice the techniques learned while remaining fully clothed. No direct genital touch will occur during this workshop.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 TO REGISTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP

SHOP

TRANSGENDER

Here at ISGC, we specialize in serving the needs of the Transgender Communities and their families. Along with individaul therapy, we provide these groups and services addressing all phases of an individual’s gender journey, from assessment, diagnosis, treatment and aftercare.

We also provide care and support for the familes of our trans communities, both with individual care and workshops and groups.

Second letter assessment appointments and letters for doctors may be scheduled individually.

All of our services meet WPATH ( World Professional Association for Transgendered Health Care) Standards of Care.

MONTEREY TRANSITIONAL SUPPORT GROUP

** On-going since 1992 **

 498790035_eab948871f

Stephen Braveman facilitates and Wanda Braveman co-facilitates this professionally led psychotherapy support group.

A safe and confidential support group addressing the needs of Trans Women, Trans Men, Gender Queer, Gender Non-Conforming and Intersex people. Pre-op, Post-op and Non-op warmly welcomed!

Join us as we explore all aspects of your life, including your past and current relationships. Coming out to family, friends and co-workers, managing your new body and your emotions, while thriving in your gender perfect persona.

Let ISGC entertain and enlighten you with guest speakers. This group is safe, bring your tears, hopes, laughter and join with others so you can finally realize that you are not alone. Let us all learn from each other and rejoice in our differences.

Pursue Your Amazing YOU!

This group Meets WPATH Standards of Care

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 FOR QUALFYING INTAKE APPOINTMENT

SHOP

WHITE KNIGHT CAREGIVER’S MONTHLY GROUP

 

White-Knight-Cover

White Knight Monthly Caregiver’s group is a caregiver’s support group designed for everyone involved with caregiving, either professional or familial. Led by Wanda Braveman and based on her book, “White Knight, Living with Alzheimer’s, Moment by Moment”  Wanda has found a way to humanize caregiving, how to find joy and peace amid the trials, pain and yes, frustration in taking care of another, even someone you dearly love.

We explore how to better understand the needs of the patient as well as the caregiver, how to “stay in the moment” with your patient and how to find peace there. We go on mental field trips and give ourselves permission to laugh and play with our patients, thus enhancing everyone’s experience.

Share your life experiences with others, support fellow caregivers and give yourself permission to “dance” to your own drummer. We learn to stay in the moment with ourselves and others.

Teach yourself that “you” are enough.

Give yourself the “gift” of a lifetime, transform the way you view your life and the life of your patient.

Learn to live your life not needing to blend in, but rather stand out as you become your best self!

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 FOR QUALIFYING INTAKE APPOINTMENT

SHOP

SACRED INTIMACY/TANTRA WORKSHOP FOR TRANSGENDERED COUPLES

 

002

This Specialized Two-day Weekend Tantra Workshop includes all aspects of Sacred Tantra, Stephen and Wanda Braveman focus on uniting the Transgender Couple in a joint transformational experience, which includes the unique redirecting of sexual energy. We also help couples with their new found sexual identities and roles in a sacred, sexual context.

Both days will be dedicated to learning many techniques, including partnered breath and eye gazing, while taking into account the special needs and circumstances of our specialized couples.

Couples will practice the techniques learned while remaining fully clothed. No direct genital touch will occur during this workshop.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 TO REGISTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP
SHOP

PATIENT ADVOCACY

006-7

Here at ISGC, we have a unique opportunity for the Trans Community. Our Patient Advocate, will, by appointment, help with any of the following support tasks.

Outreach
Home visits
Wardrobe attire accusations
Consultations
Appointment accompaniment and interpretation
Community feminization training
Feminization life skills coach

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 TO SCHEDULE A PRIVATE APPOINTMENT

SHOP

Back to Home

SEXUALITY

ISGC specializes in your Sexual needs and the needs of your partner. Along with individual therapy, we provide these groups and services dealing with sexuality for men and women:

FEMALE SEXUALITY GROUP

 services2

Wanda Braveman facilitates this exciting group as you expand your awareness and connection to an authentic and healthy sexual self. Learn to overcome the effects of past negative events. Do not settle for less than you deserve. You do not need a partner to nurture yourself and enjoy your sexuality.

Gain knowledge and information about your body/mind, lifecycle changes, desire, arousal and emotions. There is more beyond intercourse and orgasms, let us bring your sacred self into your bedroom and that of your partner.

In a safe non-threatening, supportive environment; you will find that space to expand your knowledge, reflect on the journey that led you to discover a whole new landscape of possibility to nurture and enjoy your sensuality and sexuality.

This intimate group is open to all ages, orientations and partner status we will explore the many facets of sexuality from a women’s point of view.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 FOR QUALFYING INTAKE APPOINTMENT

SHOP

MALE SEXUALITY GROUP

male

Stephen Braveman leads this group where men of all ages, orientations and backgrounds find a confidential, safe place to expand their knowledge and be empowered. Remove the negative feelings from your past and explore the infinite possibilities in regards to your own sexuality and its expression.

This group will foster comfortable feelings with yourself and your significant other by seeking out and acting on a myriad of topics.

Unchain yourself from past experiences, exploring your love life expectations, improve your relationship between you and your partner, expose your real self, male sexual abuse, sexual health and masturbation. Also explore sacred sexuality, dating, pornography, addiction and maintaining your sexual prowess.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 FOR QUALFYING INTAKE APPOINTMENT

SHOP

CPR FOR YOUR SEX LIFE: How to Breathe Life into a Dead, Dying or Dull Sex Life,
One Day Workshop

051 (3)

Stephen and Wanda Braveman bring Stephen’s book to life! Based on the book of the same name written by Mildred L. Brown and Stephen L. Braveman. Delivered in a fun, preppy and yet substantive style, this CPR Workshop is like a tapestry, woven with all the threads needed to restore even the most failing sexual bond.

Simple, yet effective solutions are presented for restoring sexual satisfaction in otherwise overly busy lives. Let us help you become a loving, sensual couple, and make your love life your priority.

For all ages and sexual orientations, this group satisfies the needs in every relationship. The tools you will gain here will last a lifetime. A copy of “CPR for Your Sex Life” is included in this exciting one-day Workshop.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 TO REGISTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP

SHOP

SACRED INTIMACY/TANTRA TWO DAY WORKSHOPS:

COUPLES

Illuminated Couple

WEAVE MIND, BODY & SPIRIT

Stephen and Wanda Braveman invite you to enjoy a safe, experiential workshop that will enhance your emotional, spiritual and sexual intimacy. Bring passion and joy to your relationship. Tantalize your senses as you awaken your Chakras!

This workshop will advance your knowledge of sacred and sensual pleasure! Navigate new territories of intimacy with breath play & movement! Learn to touch and be touched with joyful and playful energy! Relax into your partner with a renewed sense of wonder and arouse your senses and open your heart with extended eye gazing!

This experiential workshop is taught in a sacred environment and participants remain fully clothed.

Join with us and bring new awareness to your relationship that will enhance every area of your life.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 TO REGISTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP

SHOP

SINGLES

 singlestantra

Singles, let Stephen and Wanda Braveman show you the pleasures of Sacred Tantra. Find the sacred in yourself and in the world around you. Let us show you the magic of balancing your chakras, learning to tune in and slow down so you can hear the music of your soul.

Learn to hear and feel your beauty from the inside out. Teach yourself to feel and live as a unique and independent person. Learn to dance to your music!

Learn to quiet your mind and open your soul so you can breathe new life into your experiences.

Our experiential workshop is taught in a sacred environment and participants remain fully clothed.

Join with us to bring new awareness to your relationship with yourself, that will enhance every area of your life.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 TO REGISTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP

SHOP

VETERAN COUPLES

veterans tantra pic

This specialized two-day weekend Tantra Workshop includes all aspects of Sacred Intimacy/Tantra. We focus on reuniting the Veteran and their partner in a joint healing experience. This workshop is especially helpful for those experiencing military related PTSD. Establish and negotiate loving, healthy and successful boundaries in your home. Partners, learn to help cleanse away war time energy. Bring trust, safety and intimacy into your relationship in a confidential, private weekend.

Both days will be dedicated to learning many techniques, including partnered breath and eye gazing, while taking into account the unique needs of your couple.

Couples will practice these techniques while remaining fully clothed. No genital touch will occur during this workshop.

Join with us and bring new awareness to your relationship that will enhance every area of your life.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 TO REGISTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP

SHOP

PROFESSIONAL COUPLES

 procouples

Stephen and Wanda Braveman invite you to enjoy a safe, experiential workshop that will enhance your emotional, spiritual and sexual intimacy. Bring passion and joy to your relationship. Learn to teach these practices to others as you tantalize your senses and awaken your Chakras!

Advance your knowledge of sacred and sensual pleasure! Navigate new territories of intimacy with breath play and movement! Touch and be touched with joyful and playful energy! Relax into your partner with a renewed sense of wonder and arouse your senses and open your heart with extended eye gazing!

This dynamic workshop is taught in a sacred environment and participants remain fully clothed.

Join with us and bring new awareness to your relationship and to those that you teach.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 TO REGISTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP

SHOP

ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY SACRED INTIMACY/TANTRA ONE-DAY WORKSHOP

Active duty tantra pic

This special one-day Sacred Intimacy/Tantra Workshop includes all aspects of Sacred Tantra. We focus on your unique needs, how to stay connected with your partner while being deployed. How to reintegrate back into your home and the lives of your loved ones after returning from active duty. Partners, establish good, healthy boundaries and cleanse away war time energy. Instill positive, loving, trusting sensual energy into your relationship in a safe, confidential, private day, just for the two of you.

This day will be dedicated to learning many techniques, including partnered breath and eye gazing, while taking into account the special needs and circumstances of our specialized couples.

Couples will practice the techniques learned while remaining fully clothed. No direct genital touch will occur during this workshop.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 TO REGISTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP

SHOP

 

MONTEREY’S FIRST WEEKLY TANTRA HOUR

 services9

Stephen and Wanda Braveman are very excited to announce the first of its kind Weekly Tantra Hour in Historic Old Downtown Monterey.

Come and experience an hour before work with like-minded people or, if you like, an hour after a hard week, in peaceful bliss. Let us help you awaken your chakras and start or end your day with meditation and invigoration woven with the fabric of sacred intention.

Gain a greater understanding of the connection between Sexuality and Sensuality. Explore Tantric practices with breathing techniques and energy body movement, with or without a partner.

Use this early morning hour to set the feeling tone for your week along with others that share your passion for the sacred. End your day with these healing practices, move into your evening relaxed and ready for a Tantric/Spiritual experience alone or with someone you love.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 TO REGISTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP

SHOP

ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLES

KINK COUPLES SUPPORT GROUP

services8

 Stephen Braveman facilitates this very unique therapy group with his co-facilitator, Wanda Braveman.

If you are interested in exploring KINK play and don’t know where to start, this informative therapy group is tailored just for you. If you have tried KINK and have run into difficulties alone or with your partner, then you will find the help you need here at ISGC.

Attendees will explore feelings of guilt and shame in wanting to try KINK. Learn to express this desire to a loved one and, if need be, learn to say “NO” if a partner is pushing to try things that don’t feel comfortable to you.

Come learn about playing in an adult world, let us show you how to set up successful boundaries. Explore your feelings about your private longings in a safe, non-judgmental environment.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 FOR QUALFYING INTAKE APPOINTMENT
SHOP

CAREGIVERS SUPPORT

WHITE KNIGHT CAREGIVERS GROUP

services11

INCLUDES A COPY OF: “White Knight, Living with Alzheimer’s Moment by Moment”
By, Wanda M. Proost (Braveman)

Become your own White Knight, let us show you how to, “Stay in the moment with your-self and your loved ones, during times of living, loving and caregiving.”

Learn to manage stress and turn negative situations into positive ones, by changing the way you look at them.

Help yourself live, laugh and love in new ways, with new mindsets. Take your life from ordinary to extraordinary!

The tools you will learn here will stay with you the rest of your life.

Groups are forming privately. We are also available to come to your workplace!

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 FOR QUALFYING INTAKE APPOINTMENT

SHOP

 

SACRED SEXUALITY/TANTRA DRUMMING GROUP

 

101A

 

ISGC OF MONTEREY IS PROUD TO PRESENT:  SACRED SEXUALITY TANTRA/DRUMMING MONTHLY GROUP

Spend two hours the third Wednesday evening of every month, learn the ancient art of drumming as a way to relieve stress and communicate with your loved one and yourself.

Bring your own drums or share ours and be prepared to become hooked on this exciting and innovative new way to step into your sacred self. This group includes, but is not limited to; Yoga, Tantra, Chanting, Drumming and Breath work.

Come with a friend or partner or come and maybe meet a new friend. This group meets at our offices on Alvarado Street in beautiful Downtown Monterey. Wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to take off your shoes and relax.

Everyone is welcome LGBT and KINK friendly, partnered and single.

Coffee and tea and cookies is always on the menu at ISGC.

As with all of our groups, everyone remains fully clothed, no genital touching.

This group promises to be the latest and greatest in Tantra and you will need a reservation to join as space is limited.

Please call Wanda @ 831.375.7553 or email wanda@isgcmonterey.com

GROUP FORMING NOW FOR WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 21, 2016 7PM TO 9PM $30.00 PR. PERSON

 

 

PROFESSIONAL SUPERVISION

supervision

Licensed and insured professional, AASECT Certified Supervision. Stephen L. Braveman LMFT, DST, has been supervising therapists for years. Let him take your career to the next level. In person or by phone sessions available.

CALL WANDA 831.375.7553 FOR QUALFYING INTAKE APPOINTMENT

SHOP

WEEKLY FARMER’S MARKET

002

ISGC   has had a table at the Historic Old Downtown Farmer’s Market for the last nine years. Community outreach has always been one of their goals. Having a strong presence at the Market, and being out front in this community, gives Stephen and Wanda tremendous pleasure.

If you want to say hello or if you just want a dark chocolate kiss, please come by. Wanda and Stephen sell their books, “White Knight: Living with Alzheimer’s Moment by Moment and “CPR for Your Sex Life: How to Breathe Life into a Dull or Dying Sex Life.” They offer the community a vast array of classes, groups and workshops designed to appeal to everyone no matter your sex or persuasion.

PUBLICATIONS:

ABUSE:  

Innovative Methods of Treating Patients with Sexual Trauma                    

Men Can Be Victims

When Boys Are Molested by Teachers and Others in Position of Authority

Sexual Abuse by Priests

National Organization works for Perspective on Male Sexual Abuse

Molested Males need to find Ways to Heal Pain

Experts: Sex Abuse of Teens leaves Scars

Men Can Be Victims

© Coast Weekly [Letters] August 6, 1998
Monterey, CA

A recent Coast Weekly article on the male reproductive rights (CW, June 18) received a less than favorable response from some readers as it suggested that men can be victims in the hands of women. Several voices were heard exclaiming that it is the women who deserve the rights and that men should, in fact, take greater responsibility for their role in reproduction.

I find no argument there and strongly agree. However, the question remains: “Can men be the victims in the hands of women?” The answer to this question is an absolute “Yes!” Not necessarily in the case of reproductive rights, but yes in the case of sexual abuse; specifically, child molestation.

In fact, one out of six boys nationwide are molested by the time they are 18 years of age. Approximately 15 percent of these incidents involve a female perpetrator. So why doesn’t the public hear about this? Only 10 percent of molested boys ever make such reports. Why don’t boys report when they are sexually abused? Boys, like girls, are frequently threatened by the perpetrator that speaking up will lead to further violence for themselves and/or others. There are fears of not being believed and that reporting may tear the family apart. In addition to these, and many other reasons boys share with girls, boys face challenges to speaking up unique to their gender. Many believe that if they were molested by another male that they are now, or will become, homosexuals.

Society tells boys that they should be “tough” and solve their problems on their own. If the boy has an early sexual experience with an older woman, they are told they are “lucky!” How embarrassing for a male to admit he has been molested by his mother, aunt, sister or female babysitter! But some men do speak up, and quite loudly. Some of those who seek help, such as participants in the Monterey Rape Crisis Center Men’s Group. Some of the men molested by women will be speaking up publicly in September when the National Organization on Male Sexual victimization will have its first West Coast Regional Retreat at the Mt. Madonna Retreat Center in Watsonville. Together, male survivors of sexual abuse, some of their partners, and interested therapists will spend four days of healing and education. Teach your own children how to be safe. Get professional help if you, your partner or children have been sexually abused and make sure you report all cases of sexual abuse.

Stephen L. Braveman, LMFT, DST,

Back to Top

When Boys Are Molested by Teachers and Others in Position of Authority

By Stephen L. Braveman, LMFT, DST
S.E.S.A.M.E. Newsletter
July 16, 2000
Copake, NY

(This article republished by permission from Survivors of Educator Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Emerge)

We know that approximately one out of six of all American boys are molested by the time they reach 18 years of age. We do not know how many of these boys are molested by teachers and others in position of authority. However, we do now know a lot about what happens to these boys as a result of the abuse.

First, is it true? Can boys be molested? Can they be the victims in the hands of not only men, but women too? The answer to these questions is an absolute Yes!” Yes, it’s true, males are molested too.

Who exactly are those molesting our male children? Yes, it’s true that boys are sometimes molested by perfect strangers. The image of a male driving up to a boy innocently walking home from school, bribing him with candy, luring him into the car and driving off, never to be seen again, is common. Yes, this does occasionally happen. However, the vast majority of children, both girls and boys, who are molested are victimized by someone they know. Perhaps someone they trust very much. Someone in a position of authority. They are molested by fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles and grandparents. They are also molested by baby-sitters, scout leaders, priests and nuns, music instructors, sports coaches, dance instructors, principals, camp counselors and school teachers. So, if boys are being molested by all of these kinds of people, why doesn’t the public hear more about this?

Part of the answer may lie in the fact that an estimated 50% of all molests, males and females combined, are never reported. It is also estimated that only 10% of molested boys ever make such reports. Approximately 15 percent of these incidents that are reported involve a female perpetrator. Many of these unreported molestations of boys are suspected to be at the hands of a teacher, educator and/or other person in position of authority.

Why don’t boys report when they are sexually abused? Boys, like girls, are frequently threatened by the perpetrator that speaking up will lead to further violence for themselves and/or others. There are fears of not being believed and that reporting may tear the family apart. In addition to these, and many other reasons boys share with girls, boys face challenges to speaking up unique to their gender. Many believe that if they were molested by another male that they are now, or will become, homosexuals. Society tells boys that they should be “tough” and solve their problems on their own. If the boy has an early sexual experience with an older woman, they are told they are “lucky!” How embarrassing for a male to admit he has been molested by his mother, aunt, sister or female baby-sitter! Then there’s the strong “Vampire Syndrome” which falsely holds that most sexually abused males will go on to “bite” other victims.

The unwillingness of boys to report when they’ve been sexually victimized is even greater when the perpetrator is a teacher, educator and/or other person in authority. Bonding with, trusting and learning from our elders is an essential survival mechanism well-developed in modern day humans. We put our faith in the hands of our educators, believing that what they teach us is not only right but also absolute. To fit in, we grasp on to their teachings and become devoted followers of the same. At least until we learn there is a reason to question the facts which we were fed.

When one is victimized by a teacher, or other person in a position of authority, the sense of betrayal is greatly magnified.

“But I learned so much from her/him!” or “I had to trust him/her,” or “I would never have learned (passed, made it through)”

“She/he was the last person I would have ever expected to hurt me!”

These statements express common feelings victims have. One such feeling is that of being BETRAYED! Betrayed because these are the ones in life that are expected to protect us the most! “How could she/he!” “I even enjoyed it because I thought he/she loved me!” “I thought I was special to her/him!”

Betrayal is a very difficult event to recover from. Betrayal leaves the victim with a sense of guilt. A sense that they “should have known better.” A sense that they are at fault. In fact, these exact messages are frequently fed to the victim by the perpetrator. “You know you wanted it.” “You enjoyed it.” “I don’t do this with others. You’re so special that you made me do it!” These are some of the words used by perpetrators to defend their actions.

On top of all this is the problem of being believed if one did speak up. Who would believe them? Teachers, and others in position of authority, are commonly well-known, well-respected, “trusted” individuals in the community. Who is going to believe a child over a priest? A principal? A Senator? Especially if the child had a history of some kind of acting out; e.g. small time petty theft, running away, drugs. The vow of secrecy not to tell, not to report, is sealed if the child does speak up and is not believed.

So, as the victim of teacher sexual abuse grows up, they learn to hold on too many self-defeating patterns. This may include poor self-esteem, lack of assertiveness, inability to stand up for one’s rights, inability to speak in public, drug/alcohol abuse and a deliberate effort to sabotage relationships so as to not allow others to get “too close” to them. Trust is a big issue. Trust was betrayed by a very special person. “If I can’t trust her/him, who can I trust?” “If I couldn’t trust my mother/father to protect me, who could I ever trust?”

The severe lack of trust of those in authority positions leads to major difficulties in therapeutic treatment for the survivor. Therapy typically requires a person to enter a private room with someone who is relatively a stranger. The door is frequently locked. The victim is asked to share “what happened.” To “trust” that they will be believed. Therapy involves opening up and spilling out one’s guts to someone who will analysis, examine and judge them. The therapist may suggest “homework” to try between sessions, changes to make in one’s behavior and relationships and may even offer hypnosis — the ultimate in trust! None of this will necessarily come easy to a victim who has major trust issues!

Under the multitude of conditions addressed above, who would want to speak up? Who would want to admit they have been sexually abused? Especially by a teacher, educator, person in a position of authority?

It quite often takes an incredible amount of pain and failure for males sexually abused in these ways to speak up. Bouts of alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual acting out, sexual shutting down, divorces and financial ruin are common. When it gets to be too much some come forward.

How does one get past all these roadblocks and through successful treatment? Many find healing by joining a support group. There they can share their feelings with other men, with similar pain. This can help them break through shame and loneliness which frequently come with the silence of holding such terrible secrets inside. A support group enables them to try out and build new, trusting relationships. They can usually “test” the therapist and other group members and discover they are not abandoned, not betrayed. Some heal by reporting the crime, even though it may now be many years after the fact. With support, many go on to confront their perpetrators with positive outcomes. Some counteract the pain of silence by publicly sharing their healing with others who need the support or by telling their story in such places as this newsletter. Teaching children how to increase their own safety and, if necessary, report abuses when they do occur, can be very empowering.

The journey from victimization by a teacher, educator, or others in position of authority, to survivor and, finally thriving, often takes men through a familiar pattern. This includes the initial buying into silence and self-destructive patterns. Eventually individual and group therapy may bring great relief. Many finish the process in couple’s and/or family therapy where they, together with their loved ones, finally reach a point of not only inner peace, but also balance and contentment with others. Healing can happen and does all the time. You can help the process by educating others about childhood sexual abuse. Teach children ways to increase their safety. Let them know that if they are abused it’s okay to report it. That they will be believed. That there is help available. Let adults know that it is never too late to heal (men and women in their 70’s have come forward for the first time in their lives and have successfully healed from childhood sexual abuse) and that help is available. One person can make a difference! Together with other “one persons” sexual abuse by educators can be stopped and those who have been victimized can heal!

Back to Top

 

Sexual Abuse by Priests

By Stephen L. Braveman, LMFT, DST
Special to The Herald
July 1, 2002
Monterey, CA

We know that approximately one out of six of all American boys are molested by the time they reach 18 years of age. We do not know how many of these boys are molested by priests. However, we do now know a lot about what happens to these boys as a result of the abuse.

First, is it true? Can boys be molested? By priests? This was a very common question prior to the past few months. Debunking this myth, that boys cannot be molested, especially by people such as women and, in this case, priests, used to consume quite a lot of time and energy. Time spent getting the word out so people would know of such things and do something about it. Not anymore!

Now it seems that every one knows this these facts. And who could not? After all, all one has to do to learn about this is open any newspaper, watch and television news broadcast or listen to the radio news. The word is out and it’s everywhere!

So why haven’t we all heard about this before? Part of the answer may lie in the fact that an estimated 50% of all molests, males and females combined, are never reported. It is also estimated that only 10% of molested boys ever make such reports.

Why haven’t boys reported when they were sexually abused by priests? Boys, like girls, are frequently threatened by the perpetrator that speaking up will lead to further violence for themselves and/or others. There are fears of not being believed and that reporting may tear the family apart. In addition to these, and many other reasons boys share with girls, boys face challenges to speaking up unique to their gender. Many believe that if they were molested by another male that they are now, or will become, homosexuals.

Society tells boys that they should be “tough” and solve their problems on their own. If the boy has an early sexual experience with an older woman, they are told they are “lucky!” How embarrassing for a male to admit he has been molested by his mother, aunt, sister or female babysitter! Then there’s the strong “Vampire Syndrome” which falsely holds that most sexually abused males will go on to “bite” other victims.

The unwillingness of boys to report when they’ve been sexually victimized is even greater when the perpetrator is a priest. Bonding with, trusting and learning from our elders is an essential survival mechanism well developed in modern day humans. We put our faith in the hands of adults, believing that what they teach us is not only right but also absolute. To fit in we grasp on to their teachings and become devote followers of the same. At least until we learn there is a reason to question the facts which we were fed.

When one is victimized by a priest the sense of betray is greatly magnified.

“But I learned so much from him!” “I had to trust him, or I would never have learned, passed, made it through……….”

“He was the last person I would have ever expected to hurt me! After all, he’s a representative of GOD!”

These statements express common feelings victims have. One such feeling is that of being BETRAYED! Betrayed because these are the ones in life that are expected to love us the most!

“How could he…………….!” “I even enjoyed it because I thought he loved me and it was God’s will!!”

“I thought I was special to him!”

Betrayal is a very difficult event to recover from. Betrayal leaves the victim with a sense of guilt. A sense that they “should have known better.” A sense that they are at fault. In fact, these exact messages are frequently fed to the victim by the perpetrator.

“You know you wanted it.”

“You enjoyed it.”

“I don’t do this with others. You’re so special that you made me do it!”

These are some of the words used by perpetrating priests to defend their actions.

On top of all this is the problem of being believed if one did speak up. Who would believe them? Priests are commonly well known, well respected, “trusted” individuals in the community. Who is going to believe a child over a priest? Especially if the child had a history of some kind of acting; e.g. small time petty theft, running away, drugs. The vow of secrecy not to tell, not to report, is sealed if the child does speak up and is not believed.

So as the victim of teacher priest sexual abuse grows up they learn and hold on too many self-defeating patterns. This may include poor self-esteem, lack of assertiveness, inability to stand up for one’s rights, inability to speak in public, drug/alcohol abuse and a deliberate effort to sabotage relationships as to not allow others to get “too close” to them. Trust is a big issue. Trust was betrayed by a very special person.

“If I can’t trust him, who can I trust?”

“If I couldn’t trust my mother/father to protect me, who could I ever trust?”

The severe lack of trust of those in authority positions leads to major difficulties in therapeutic treatment for the survivor. Therapy typically requires a person to enter a private room with someone who is relatively a stranger. The door is frequently locked. The victim is asked to share “what happened.” To “trust” that they will be believed.

Therapy involves opening up and spilling out one’s guts to someone who will analysis, examine and judge them. The therapist may suggest “homework” to try between sessions, changes to make in one’s behavior and relationships and may even offer hypnosis – the ultimate in trust! None of this will necessary come easy to a victim who has major trust issues!

Under the multitude of conditions addressed above, who would want to speak up? Who would want to admit they have been sexually abused? Especially by a priest?

It quite often takes an incredible amount of pain and failure for males sexually abused in these ways to speak up. Bouts of alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual acting out, sexual shutting down, divorces and financial ruin are common. When it gets to be too much some come forward. Now hearing about it on a regular basis, hearing that others have come forward and have successfully held the priest and church accountable, helps greatly.

How does one get past all these road blocks and through successful treatment? Many find healing by joining a support group. There they can and share their feelings with other men, with similar pain. This can help them break through shame and loneliness which frequently comes with the silence of holding such terrible secrets inside. A support group enables them to try out and build new, trusting relationships. They can usually “test” the therapist and other group members and discover they are not abandoned, not betrayed.

Some heal by reporting the crime, even though it may now be many years after the fact. With support, many go on to confront their perpetrators with positive outcomes. Some counteract the pain of silence by publicly sharing their healing with others who need the support or by telling their story in such places as this newspaper. Teaching children how to increase their own safety and, if necessary, report abuses when they do occur can be every empowering.

The journey from victimization by a priest, to survivor and, finally thrive often takes men through a familiar pattern. This includes the initial buying into silence and self- destructive patterns. Eventually individual and group therapy may bring great relief. Many finish the process in couple’s and/or family therapy where they, together with their loved ones, finally reach a point of not only inner peace, but also balance and contentment with others. Healing can happen and does all the time.

You can help the process by educating others about childhood sexual abuse. Teach children ways to increase their safety. Let them know that if they are abused it’s okay to report it. That they will be believed. That there is help available. Let adults know that it is never too late to heal (men and women in their 70’s have come forward for the first time in their lives and have successfully healed from childhood sexual abuse) and that help is available. One person can make a difference! Together with other “one persons” sexual abuse by educators can be stopped and those who have been victimized can heal!

Back to Top

National Organization works for Perspective on Male Sexual Abuse

By Mary Barker
Herald Staff Writer
September 22, 1998
Monterey, CA

There is still a prevailing assumption that sexual abuse simply doesn’t happen to men. The National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization would like to change that. If it’s statistics you need, they have them.

One out of six boys nationwide is molested by the time he’s 18 years old. Approximately 50 percent of all incidents are never reported and only 10 percent of those come from boys. Of those, an estimated 15 percent involve a female perpetrator.

Mom, grandma, a distant aunt, an older sister, the babysitter, as unbelievable as it might sound. “It’s hard enough to admit molestation, but it’s really hard to admit molestation by a woman,” said Stephen Braveman, a Monterey Marriage and Family Therapist, who conducts a support group for men on Tuesday evenings and said more and more of the attendees have been victimized by females. “There’s a stigma that you’re some kind of wimp,” he continued. “Or boys who are molested by women get told that they got lucky.”

There are enough occurrences of all forms of male molestation that the first annual NOMSV West Coast Retreat — “Healing from Sexual Abuse: For the Victim, the Partner and the Therapist” — will be held Sept. 24-27, 1998 at Mt. Madonna Center in Watsonville. “It’s going to be four days of healing and education,” said Braveman, a co-chair of the retreat. “They’re going to learn how to renegotiate their current relationship and how to find the right partner. Their partners will learn how to live with a survivor. There will be a good mixture of healing and sharing of stories.”

The first professional conference on Male Sexual Victimization was held in Minneapolis MN, a decade ago. NOMSV was incorporated as a non-profit seven years later. “The NOMSV is a group of men who, in a nutshell, said, ‘How about something for the guys?’ ” Braveman said. “These are not only men who were molested in childhood, but men who were molested as adults.” And women are welcome to join, too.

“It’s a group for people who want to help men heal,” Braveman explained, “and to help stop rape and molestation.”

HOW BOYS SHOW THEY’VE BEEN ABUSED:

“I’m hurt…”

  • Headaches, stomach aches
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Bedwetting
  • Soreness or bruising of genitals
  • Soreness or bleeding from rectum
  • Discharge from penis
  • Oral herpes/gonorrhea

“I feel…”

  • Angry
  • Ashamed
  • Anxious
  • Distrustful
  • Afraid and sad
  • Confused and alone

“I don’t know why I act this way…”

  • Frequent bad dreams/nightmares
  • Aggressive, fighting
  • Trouble with friends
  • Eating, sleeping too much/not enough
  • Hurtful to others/self
  • Change in school performance
  • Withdrawing or clinging
  • Excessive masturbation
  • Repetitive sex play
  • Sophisticated knowledge of sexual language/activities

(Information provided by the Merced County Department of Mental Health)
Stephen L. Braveman, LMFT, DST, Sex and Sexual Abuse Related Therapies:

Back to Top

Molested Males need to find Ways to Heal Pain

By Stephen L. Braveman, LMFT, DST
Special to The Herald
July 11, 1999
Monterey, CA

Every Tuesday afternoon Mike (not his real name) drives two hours from San Francisco to Monterey just to spend two hours, then turn around and go home. Rick drives north one hour from his home in Big Sur for the same event. What is it that brings them, and other men like them, to Monterey week after week just for a couple of hours? They come to attend the Men’s Group for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse.

This group, which I lead, is unusual — the only one of its kind for at least a hundred miles. According to the National Organization on Male Sexual Abuse, there are only about 15 to 20 groups of this kind nationwide.

Do men suffer the effects of sexual abuse? According to a report in the July 1998 American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin, called “A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College’s Samples,” the effects of sexual abuse “were neither pervasive nor typically intense, and that men reacted much less negatively than women.”

Men not affected by sexual abuse? Ask the men from San Francisco to Big Sur if they are negatively affected by childhood sexual abuse. Is it the lack of negative effects that drives them to make a weekly trip to Monterey?

Yes, it’s true, males are molested, too. In fact, one out of six boys nationwide is molested by the time he is 18. An estimated 50 percent of all such incidents are never reported. However, only 10 percent of molested boys ever make such reports.

Why don’t boys report when they are sexually abused? Boys, like girls, are frequently threatened by the perpetrator that speaking up will lead to further violence for themselves and/or others. There are fears of not being believed and that reporting the incident may tear the family apart.

In addition to these, and many other reasons that boys share with girls, boys face challenges to speaking up unique to their gender. Many falsely believe that if they were molested by another male, then they are now, or will become, homosexuals. Society tells boys that they should be “tough” and solve their problems on their own; that if they have early sexual experiences with an older woman they are “lucky” and that it is “unmanly” to seek help and “share their feelings.”

But some men do speak up — and loudly. Some of those who seek help, such as participants in the Monterey Rape Crisis Center’s Men’s Group, find healing by reporting the crime, even though it may be many years after the incident. Sharing their feelings with other men who carry similar pain helps them break through the shame and loneliness that frequently come with the silence of holding such terrible secrets inside. With support, many go on to confront their perpetrators with positive outcomes. Some counteract the pain of silence by publicly sharing their healing with other men who need the support.

Men, just as women, benefit from group support in their healing from childhood molestation. However, they need to know help is available. You can assist in breaking the silence by speaking up and spreading the word. Let people know groups such as the one at the Monterey Rape Crisis Center exist.

Back to Top

Experts: Sex Abuse of Teens leaves Scars

By Rob Aman
Valley News Dispatch
Pittsburgh, PA
July 9, 2003

Teenage students sexually abused or harassed by school employees can require years of psychological therapy, or even turn to drug and alcohol abuse.

Even students who suppress memories of the incident in attempt to “get past it” eventually face serious, sometimes grave, ramifications.

That is the picture painted by two experts in examining sexual-misconduct cases in schools.

It comes in the wake of the resignations of two Leechburg Area School District teachers in the past six weeks amid allegations of sexual relationships with students.

Robert Stull, the district’s former high school band director, resigned amid allegations he had sex with a 17-year-old student, and John Carpenzano, a former fourth-grade teacher at David Leech Elementary School, resigned amid allegations he had sexual relations with a high school student.

Authorities said neither man is likely to be charged with a crime because the students involved either were of legal age to consent to sex or refused to press charges.

“It takes about 10 years of treatment or therapy to help these girls,” said Chester Kent, an associate executive secretary of the Tri-State Area School Study Council at the University of Pittsburgh. He’s a research associate at the university who has examined cases for more than two decades. “I can’t tell you they’ll ever (fully recover).”

Kent’s experience with this subject is based on more than 70 cases. He said high school and middle school students abused by or involved sexually with teachers may act normally at first but eventually begin to self-destruct.

“When they get a little older and realize they’ve been used or had, for many girls it is very, very difficult to deal with,” Kent said. “They’ve been robbed of their best years in life because of this predator, and they become very dysfunctional later in life.”

The Tri-State council estimates at least 15 percent of students nationwide are victims of sexual abuse by teachers, principals, janitors or other school staff members. Other reports estimate the percentage of abused students as high as 27 percent.

According to Pennsylvania Department of Education reports, from 1998 to May 2002, 118 teachers across the state were reprimanded for conducting sexual relationships with students.

Stephen L. Braveman, a California-based therapist who specializes in sexual abuse, said students either believe they are special for having been chosen by the teacher — this often occurs with boys involved with female teachers — or consider it a dark secret not to be discussed.

Either way, the students eventually begin breaking down. They withdraw from school activities, friends and family. Their grades suffer. They sabotage relationships. They turn to drugs and alcohol.

“It blocks out the pain, but it doesn’t get rid of the pain,” Braveman said. “It festers inside, and it gets worse and worse and worse.”

Trust becomes a central issue. A teacher is representative of authority. The student may have a difficult time trusting anyone in authority again.

“Usually the teacher discards them when they aren’t a teenager anymore,” Braveman said. “They move onto the next student.”

Students tend to blame themselves for a teacher’s misconduct, according to Pete Delouis, a psychologist of more than 30 years. But he and Roland C. Summit, a nationally renowned sexual-abuse expert, said students are in a poor position to stave off advances.

“They need to be told these are people that have a lot of power and control over them,” said Delouis, who works at Patient Care Psychological Services in Oakmont. “They’ve practiced, and they become good at luring kids in.”

A student’s age, the length of the misconduct and relation to the teacher become factors in how that student handles a situation.

Most research focuses on high school and middle school students. Research documenting elementary school students who are abused or harassed is minimal, Kent said, making it difficult to judge a young student’s ability to recover psychologically.

“Some elementary students at age 10 are able to grow out of this if it isn’t a severe case going on over several years,” he said.

Some teachers will wait until a student is of consenting age before pursuing him or her. By doing so, the teacher eliminates the possibility of criminal charges if caught.

The age of consent for sexual relations in Pennsylvania is 16, according to the state’s Crimes Code.

“I’ve seen situations where there are high school teachers who track the birthdays of these kids,” Kent said. “They didn’t begin to groom them, but they didn’t take advantage of them until they came to the age of consent.”

A student’s sex matters little. Boys and girls of all ages can be molested, abused or harassed, although Braveman said girls are more often targeted.

Braveman said about 20 percent of all girls and 5 percent of all boys are sexually abused by someone in authority.

Usually, the students don’t attempt to rehabilitate themselves until decades later. Braveman said girls begin to seek help between the ages of 28 and 40.

“Boys typically don’t ever come forward,” Braveman said. “Those who do won’t come forward until the ages of 45 and 72. They find they can no longer ignore the problem. They realize their life is a mess. They have to do something about it.”

Braveman said a student’s willingness to seek help, and his or her outlook on life before the abuse, can impact the ability to recover.

“I’ll suggest that matters a lot more than what age they’re at,” he said. “Just moving on doesn’t solve the problem.

“It builds up inside. It eventually comes back to them.”

Back to Top