A Regina sexual assault centre for women is now opening its doors to men.

It is a change of name and a change in attitude for the Regina Women’s Sexual Assault Centre, which will now be known simply as the “Regina Sexual Assault Centre”.

Cindy Bote is a councillor at the centre.  She says the scars of sexual abuse run deep for both boys and girls.  Statistics indicate that one in six children is sexually abused, usually by a family member or someone else they are close to.  Bote says the number is actually much higher because most cases go unreported.

She says hiding from the shame and suppressing the hurt and anger has been the way most men try to handle it:

“They tend to be at an increased level of discomfort and suffering in the men because not only are they dealing with the impact of what happened to them, but they are also dealing with the feeling that they are not handling it the way a guy should.”

The centre is tucked way on a side street in east Regina.  It has been in operation since 1975, but it is now breaking new ground after receiving many requests from men who were sexually abused as children and are now looking for help.  Bote says help for them was pretty much non-existent until this point.

The announcement of the new focus at the centre is expected to result in a dramatic increase in the number of men looking for support.