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SILENCED BY STIGMA is a non-profit organization that supports male survivors of sexual and domestic abuse by advocating for awareness of sexual violence.

 

While our efforts are focused on male-identifying victims, any and all are welcome regardless of gender and sexual identity. Your humanity, dignity, and healing are what matter. 

 

Survivors share a common burden, and we choose never to leave someone behind.  

 

WHO WE ARE

 
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Michael Mourachian

Certified Trauma Support Specialist and founder of SILENCED BY STIGMA, Michael was raised by an emotionally unstable and violent mother, molested by his female babysitter, and sexually abused by an adult woman in his neighborhood. The fallout from his past fueled three decades of reckless behavior and unmitigated rage. 

 

Through therapy, he has discovered the toll abuse has taken on his mental and physical health, personal relationships, and professional life. He is now focusing his efforts on helping ease the silencing burden placed upon victims by the horror of abuse. 

Michael's story is featured in the SILENCED BY STIGMA podcast episode, Begging for an HIV Test. 

Eric Jennings

Performance Director and stage actor, Eric writes poetry and works as a yoga instructor in Oakland, California. He is also a blogger and social media co-manager for MenHealing, the first organization to provide support services exclusively to male-identifying victims of sexual abuse.

“I think the deepest harm I experienced resulted from keeping my childhood abuse a secret for so long. It wasn’t until I was able to tell my story that I finally was able to heal.”

Eric's story is featured in the SILENCED BY STIGMA podcast episode, No, No, No. Please No.

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Rosalyn Mihalko

Inclusion & Outreach Director Rosalyn is a playwright and screenwriter in Los Angeles. She recently found the courage to live as her true self: a queer, transgender woman, and is using her talent to bring more stories of survival onto the stage and out into the world.

 

With the support of Michael Mourachian and SILENCED BY STIGMA, she has been able to identify and process the grooming and sexual abuse she was subjected to at the hands of two trusted high school teachers. 

 

“Growing up, I often felt like an outcast. That early feeling of isolation and loneliness made me and countless others vulnerable to sexual predators. My hope is our work will heal trauma and prevent further damage by building an open community for fellow survivors.”

 

Rosalyn’s story is featured in the SILENCED BY STIGMA podcast episode, No, We Were F*#@ing Assaulted

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Willis Atherley-Bourne

Therapeutic Director and Integrative Psychotherapist in the UK, Willis, has a background in developing, evaluating, and delivering support services for survivors of sexual abuse and violent trauma. Through his work, he focuses on reducing toxic shame and stigma for survivors and championing spaces for dialogues to exist.

 

“Throughout personal therapy and therapist training, I’ve learned how to transform my childhood pain of survivor hood into energies that encourage others to redefine their Self in nurturing and nourishing ways to promote healing. As a man of African-Caribbean descent, I appreciate the challenges of navigating and negotiating the borders that impact our aim to be whole.

Willis' extensive academic and professional background is listed by the Priory Group.

HOW WE GOT HERE

 

In 2021, Michael sought to hold one of his abusers accountable by filing a complaint with the Police Department. During his interview, the SVU Detectives noted he'd that he had provided enough information to warrant an investigation. But because Michael was just older than thirteen when the abuse occurred, his case was considered sexual abuse in the third degree, which has a seven-year statute of limitations. Therefore, the Attorney General declined to pursue charges, framing his abuse as consensual sex.

 

The last remaining option to pursue justice in his case was filing a Civil Lawsuit, so Michael contacted several Sexual Abuse Attorneys in Rhode Island. While all of them agreed that he had a strong case, none were willing to move forward because his abuser’s net worth wasn’t enough to justify their time and resources.

 

With no legal recourse available, he began researching sexual consent laws across the country and reading studies about male-identifying victims and female-identifying sexual offenders. 

Michael had three main takeaways from his research. First, sexual consent law is both antiquated and does not serve the best interest of victims. Second, the prevalence of male sexual abuse of people who identify as men is astonishing, and very few support services are available to them. Third, female-identifying sexual offenders are primarily ignored by researchers and the justice system and are often perceived by the public as an essentially harmless rarity.  

In the months following, Michael began posting all the information he’d gathered from these studies and was interviewed for several podcasts. Nearly every host who interviewed him remarked that he was the first male victim they’d had as a guest, highlighting how male victims are far less likely to discuss their abuse or seek help. 

With no existing forum for male victims to share their stories of abuse, Michael created the SILENCED BY STIGMA podcast, interviewing survivors, mental health professionals, and legal specialists to offer insight into this hidden and pervasive epidemic. Over the past year, we recorded, produced, and released the first eleven episodes. They are now accessible to audiences nationwide on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Anchor. The men people who came forward to share their stories echoed the same sentiment: they had never spoken publicly about their abuse and found that doing so eased their burden.

The need for intervention is clear, and SILENCED BY STIGMA is here to help end the stigma surrounding the sexual abuse of men. 

WHERE WE'RE HEADED

 

SILENCED BY STIGMA is launching a comprehensive online Creative Arts Therapy program to guide survivors through the process of facing their past in an expressive and open platform. 

 

Executive Director Michael Mourachian, screenwriter Rosalyn Mihalko, and stage actor Eric Jennings will lead the creative programs.  

 

Online workshops are conducted by mental health professionals and public speakers who offer their knowledge and expertise to support participants.

 

The intervention program allows parents, teachers, students, and survivors to learn how to detect the signs of grooming and abuse with the goal of protecting those at risk.

 

While donations are always welcome, classes are free of charge as we believe nothing should stand between anyone and the help they need. 

 

The start date will be announced on our website and all social media platforms. We hope you’ll join us.