Male sexual assault survivors in Christchurch working with rescued horses to heal their trauma

Source: 1News

The healing powers of working with animals are being experienced on a large scale in Christchurch.

Male survivors of sexual trauma have been working with rescued horses to help them develop trust and to manage post-traumatic stress.

Ken Clearwater of Male Survivors Aotearoa introduced the concept to the group. Many of the men have never been around horses.

He saw how equine therapy had been developing overseas.

“I see it as a huge part of our programme from here on in, and the national body are really keen to see it work as well.”

One survivor, George Russell, was sexually abused as a 12-year-old. Mr Russell says being around the horses helps him cope with what he endured.

“It’s very relaxing. They feel you and you feel them.”

Terry King runs the programme, and is a survivor himself.

“This is another way of saying it's OK to step forward and say, 'Hey, it did happen.'”