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DaveM

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Review for MaleSurvivor: National Organization Against Male Sexual Victimization, New York, NY, USA

Rating: 1 stars  

As an end user, I have a number of problems with the organization/site. I wish I didn't. If you're a volunteer, the most candid, critical reviews are perhaps your best insight. Unlike administrators and staff, end users aren't beholden to the organization, its board or its agendas.

• Similar to what one reviewer posted below, my impression is this organization is about money and marketing. "Nonprofit" almost seems a misnomer. Their site hawks overpriced books, CDs and DVDs via Amazon ads (45 bucks for a paperback? Really?). Their so-called "Weekends of Recovery" are expensive affairs, costing each participant $750-1150, depending on number of roommates (Treating adult men, some with SAD or PTSD, like kids at college or children at summer camp? Really?). A membership "donation" entitles you access to a rarely-used Members Only discussion board.

• Though the site was initially helpful to me, homophobic innuendo (or worse) is standard. Moderators rarely confront it, even when asked...and the gay survivor who complains is the one likely to be censored and even censured. The only MS concession is a token GBT discussion area and token gay board member. Otherwise, religious and political bigotry is well tolerated, especially in chat rooms. If you're a gay or bi survivor, this is potentially an emotionally dangerous, triggering site for you. I'd proceed with caution or avoid the site altogether.

• in 12-step programs an oft-heard litmus for dysfunction is whether a person's words and actions are the same thing. What the Executive Director says and does regarding the homophobia are two totally different things. Nice words. Zero action. He ignores it. Any organization's personality comes from the top down.

• My impression is the ED comes off as a slick salesman with a well-polished pitch to entice you to attend one of his "Weekend$". Further, board members - a perpetually closed circle - seem to be encouraged to sell the weekends. To be forthright, I would not attend, not just because of my MS experience, but because it's marketed in a remarkably similar manner to the sham "Experience Weekend" (which was also facilitated by a PhD and about as close to MLM as a so-called nonprofit can get).

• Ethically questionable for any site requesting money, MS says can demand mental health details for site use - yes, it gets stored on their server - under some circumstances, including name/phone of your therapist if you have one. The good news is that any ethical practitioner would cite being bound by patient confidentiality, refuse any MS request, laugh at their arrogance and suggest MS administrators should seek therapy themselves.

• Requests for account deletion are ignored - ostensibly because of "software limitations" - so MS can parade membership numbers. Their much-touted 12,000 membership count is misleading, if not an outright lie. It's the total number of people, since the site's inception, who have ever had an MS account. It does not reflect attrition. It does not reflect active accounts. Realistic numbers are more likely in the hundreds.

In short, this organization needs a reset, a top-to-bottom housecleaning. It's stale, entrenched and complacent. My personal experience, like some other former members who happened to be gay, is that I felt betrayed, invalidated and re-victimized. Despite being somewhat helpful, at its worst, MS operates, ironically, similarly to those organizations (the RCC, Boy Scouts, etc.) notoriously complicit in childhood sex abuse: obfuscation, dismissiveness, minimizing, two-faced, arrogant, untouchable. Even Gordon Ramsay would walk out.

A solid, ethically-operated alternative I found is 1in6.org. From their site:
"Our words are carefully chosen, because we strive to:
1. Respect every man’s experience and point of view.
2. Avoid any definitions or labels that could drive away any man who could use this site to sort through his own unique experiences and options."

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

• Transparency and a touch of humility would be a start. • Change has to come from the top. The ED and current board have to go. • Demands for personally-identifiable medical information need to be eliminated. • Workshops need to be affordable for everyone, not just those MS qualifies for special grants. • Homophobia and political bashing, overt or otherwise and particularly when cloaked by religion, needs to be unequivocally, firmly addressed in their general policies.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A little

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

No

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Badly

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Role:  Client Served