Thousands of Kiwi men are living with a trauma history of childhood sexual abuse.
Last night, TVNZ's Sunday programme met three men who were abused as children but kept their silence for years before seeking help.
Male Survivors Aotearoa advocate and sexual abuse survivor Ken Clearwater spoke to TVNZ’s Breakfast this morning about the barriers men face getting help and speaking out.
Mr Clearwater says one of the barriers is New Zealand's lack of research into the issue.
"We don’t have the research in New Zealand. We haven’t done very well in looking at the research into boys and men in New Zealand which lets us down badly," Mr Clearwater said.
However, he also praised the three men who spoke out last night for their "courage", calling it "absolutely amazing".
"For us to have that opportunity to talk about this issue in New Zealand is really important," Mr Clearwater said.
He says the three men's bravery in talking about their experiences "has to" make a difference as "once one male starts talking openly, it allows others to come forward".
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"We don't like to talk about it, and one of the things about having Aaron on there as well last night is what we don't like to talk about is female perpetrators. We really struggle with that. We don’t do research or acknowledge that there are female perpetrators in this country."
He added that the impact of childhood sexual trauma on men as they grow older is "pretty devastating", often leading to later issues with authority figures, prison and mental health.
"We know around the world that 69 per cent of men in prison for non-sex offending offences were sexually abused in childhood.
"They're getting angry against society and one of the things we look at is what environment it happened in, whether they've got the family dynamics and things like that.
"Especially for here in New Zealand, we look at the young men we put in the boys homes during the 50s and 60s, and that's why it's important that the royal commission's coming out now, looking at those, especially young Māori men and the gangs which have come out of that.
"The percentage of those that have been sexually abused is huge."
Mr Clearwater, himself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, said the trauma "totally changed things around from a happy-go-lucky kid to a nasty, sarcastic [one]".
"I got into violence, drugs, alcohol, relationships were always difficult – it completely messes around with your head in relation to what your sexuality is, and you end up taking things out on society, which I did.
"Assaulting police officers, kicked out of school at 14 for assaulting a teacher – just anywhere there was places of authority, I just attacked. I lost my job at the freezing works for assaulting a foreman, then attempted to kill someone over a game of pool several years ago when I realised I needed help.
When he sought help, however, he says he was turned away several times, which he called "disappointing". Mr Clearwater says while he hopes attitudes are changing, he said the agency "haven't seen a lot of it".
"We've been with some of the men we work with. We've been to psych emergency with the mental health system, and at the moment, our guys describe those who have been sexually abused in childhood, it's just, 'Don't worry about that now, we've got to get you contained’ and those sorts of things.
"Our psychiatrists and our psychologists and our counsellors really lack a lot in training. There are some good ones out there, but unfortunately, there’s not enough."
He says the most important thing for sexual abuse survivors is the "power of talking".
"When those three men sat at the table and all suddenly realised they weren't alone, and the power that came out of that was just amazing, and that's the same thing we do.
"We have a police officer, a Black Power [member], a Mongrel Mob [member], white power all sitting in the same room talking about the devastation that happened to them when they were children."