Digital Stories

There are many stories of men’s experience with child sexual abuse that we never hear, stories that could help to challenge that abuse. In 2006, generationFIVE convened a diverse group of cisgender men in New York City and the Bay Area to participate in a digital storytelling process. These men were supported to tell stories of their own experiences with child sexual abuse and other forms of intimate violence – experiences shaped by the ideas and institutions of male supremacy – and to explore the personal and social transformations needed to end this violence. They tell stories of surviving abuse in their own lives and witnessing it in their families and communities. They tell stories of racism and migration, of violent systems as well as violent people, of both trauma and resilience, of what it means to heal our histories and what it takes to challenge male supremacy and other systems of oppression.

How to use these stories
Alan’s StoryAl's StoryTony's StoryNowar's Story

What messages about masculinity did Alan get growing up?
What does the story say about being a ‘bystander’ to violence?
How does the story link issues of privilege and accountability?
What does the story suggest about the ways that bystanders can be moved to respond to violence?

What does the story show about male supremacy in Al’s family and how it contributed to the abuse as well as to people’s responses to the abuse?
What other factors contributed to the abuse continuing and being dealt with only when Al’s sister broke the silence?
What does the story say about the connections between religion, sex and child sexual abuse?
What does Al do to transform the silence of the family into action, both concerning the specific abuse within the family and the conditions that allowed such abuse to happen?

What does Tony’s experience with the Criminal Legal System tell us about system responses to child sexual abuse and to boys as survivors of such abuse?
How does Tony’s upbringing as a boy affect the ways that both he and his family deals with the abuse?
What part does homophobia play in Tony’s story?
How does Tony’s experience with abuse affect his experience of his body?
What lessons can we learn from the resilience that Tony gets from his ancestors and community?

How do immigration and racism affect Nowar’s family and the violence he was exposed to?
What does Nowar learn and not learn from his father? How does this affect Nowar’s own relationship to violence?
What does the story say about the roots of men’s violence?
What roles do women play in Nowar’s story?
What does Nowar do to transform? What helps him to transform?