Supporting a New Frontier of Anti-Sexual Violence Work

I was pleased to join the work of as a new Board Member in June.  In the three-plus decades that I have been involved in the anti-violence movement, I have witnessed the movement grow to reach new constituencies, and embrace new approaches unique to the needs of particular client groups.  Along the way, we have learned to see ourselves differently and to take more care in how we use language, physical environment, and interpersonal styles to include, rather than to exclude, any survivor into the healing space needed to recover from sexual abuse and violence.  Reaching out to men who were sexually abused in childhood is a new frontier of the anti-sexual violence work.  1in6 is a leader in making the connections between lessons of the anti-violence movement’s past and this new aspect of responding to the whole problem of sexual violence in our communities.

In our movement’s infancy we didn’t know how to craft the questions that would lead women to disclose their experiences of sexual violence when researchers attempted to measure the scope of the problem in our communities.  Now, more than forty years later, we are still crafting the right questions to reach males who’ve had unwanted sexual experiences—to allow them too the opportunity to be counted and offered healing experiences. 1in6 is at the forefront of reaching these men where they are in their healing processes, recognizing aspects of their healing that are unique to masculinity in conflict with vulnerability. To lead the way, 1in6 has gathered far-flung expertise from across the globe to inform its innovative approaches to serving men.  Clinical experts from several countries, service providers from several countries, and nationally known research experts all lend their professional guidance and skills to the work that 1in6 does on an international scale. The effective leveraging of current technology has also been a key tool for 1in6 to reach across oceans to isolated men in search of information and healing support.   A top-flight professional organization, 1in6 has drawn together a critical mass of top-level professionals from diverse industries to lead the organization to success in its mission to serve men and their loved ones in the healing process. The engagement and warmth of the organization’s staff have made it a safe place where excellence is the hallmark of the compassionate services provided.  

Originally, I became involved in anti-violence work because I believe that the importance of touch is so important to humanity that it must be defended vigilantly, and that trust is the bedrock foundation of our ability to live together in communities.  In the work of 1in6, I find many ways to put those beliefs to work.  If you share these beliefs, I would urge you to be involved in 1in6’s work yourself through a donation of resources, time and/or money, in whatever amount you choose.  

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- Claire Harwell 

Claire is the Legal Director for the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, Inc. In that role, she led the design, implementation, and management of the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs’ Community Justice Project, a 5-year pilot legal service program serving over 500 sexual assault survivors and 11 rape crisis centers.

For over 35 years, Claire has worked in the anti-violence field as a victim advocate, trainer, police officer, prosecutor, and finally, as a civil attorney. She’s worked in rape crisis centers in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New Mexico. She was a child abuse and sex crimes prosecutor in the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque and then served as the Director of the Violence Against Women Division of the NM Attorney General’s office. Her prosecutions have been featured on true crime shows and novels, documentary films, and in news media. As a private consultant, she advises universities, the U.S. military, prosecutor’s offices, and the U.S. Dept. of Justice on matters relating to effective response to crimes of sexual violence. She has a B.A. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

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.

Joyful Heart and 1in6 invite you to visit for info, options and hope, and to learn more about our partnership and Engaging Men initiative here.

The views expressed above are not necessarily those of the Joyful Heart Foundation or 1in6.

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