Updated 01 January 2023
By registering with MaleSurvivor.org, all registered users (aka registrants) agree to follow these guidelines and to our Terms and Rules . Registered users also acknowledge that MaleSurvivor.org is intended as a safe place, run by volunteers for healing and sharing and will conduct themselves accordingly. These guidelines are subject to change without notice and may be periodically reviewed and require registrants to re-acknowledge accordingly.
Contents of this document
- Preamble: Male Survivor – Hope Healing and Support
- Usernames and Accounts
- Avatars and Profile Images
- Posting Guidelines in Forums, Chat, and Conversations
- Off-Site Contact
- Off-Site Links
- Site Moderation - What You Should Know
- Suspended Accounts
- Research requests
- Advertisements, Campaigns, and Promotions
- The Fine Print (in plain language)
MaleSurvivor.org – Hope Healing Support
Who are we?
MaleSurvivor.org was founded and is managed by survivors like you. We are volunteers who give of our free time and energy to provide for men who have had similar experiences. This 5-minute introduction to MaleSurvivor is well worth the time to watch and may help the prospective registrant determine if this community is right for them.
MaleSurvivor.org provides a community to promote healing and support for adult (age 18 and over) registrants only. It is a place where questions can be asked, and candid experiences shared. We understand that many aspects of male sexual victimization may be confusing and emotional. While family can provide a network of love and support, and while therapists can provide guidance, MaleSurvivor.org is a unique community that provides a unique level of understanding and support from other survivors; in a very real sense, MaleSurvivor.org is a brotherhood. Many have found that such support can provide a special sense of clarity and empowerment.
By registering, the registrant acknowledges these guidelines and agrees to abide by them. The registrant also understands that all interactive venues on the site (discussion boards or forums, conversations, and chat) are fully moderated. Furthermore, the registrant understands that MaleSurvivor.org is not a substitute for therapy.
For those who are currently at risk or in crisis, regardless of age:
- If you are currently in an unsafe situation or if you are aware of someone at risk, we urge you to contact local law enforcement.
- If you are contemplating suicide or self-harm, or you are aware of someone who is, please contact:
- In the USA: 9-8-8, or seek out the chat features from the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
- In the UK: 116 123, or seek out the chat features from the Samaritans
- In other countries: Local emergency services number. In Europe, this is generally 112. However, please verify the emergency number for the country you are located in.
Please understand that MaleSurvivor.org cannot - and does not - provide intervention services.
Usernames and Accounts
Choosing a Username and Display name
We understand that some may be reticent to register out of concern for personal privacy. Anonymity is a fundamental priority at MaleSurvivor.org. We see our commitment to registrant privacy as an implicit trust. Accordingly, we strongly recommend the following guidelines for creating your account:
- Do not use your legal name or any identifying personal information in your username.
- Do not give your true legal name out to any other registrant.
- Do not share your email address with any other registrant.
- Do not share your home address or phone number with any other registrant.
In the interest of keeping this site and its users safe from fraud or other perpetrator behavior, users establishing multiple accounts will have their access to the MaleSurvivor website revoked. In cases where apparent multiple accounts appear, all associated accounts will be blocked pending clarification of the situation. Increased online activity of daily life has also created more reasons that can suggest that someone is using multiple accounts. We ask for your understanding and patience while we investigate the situation.
We understand that in some circumstances, legitimate use of the website may erroneously flag as multiple accounts. If you are approached about this, we ask for your support and assistance in clarifying the matter. We are eager to work with you to maintain your ability to access the site as safely and freely as possible.
Changing your username
Once your user-account has been approved, it is possible to change your username from the “Account Details” page of your user-profile (easily accessible by clicking on your avatar located to the immediate left of the envelope icon at the top far-right of the menu bar). Remaining consistent with both site safety and anonymity, these changes are manually approved and you may be asked to provide a reason for the change.
Please note that your previous username will remain unchanged in prior posts. This is why your first choice of a username is important. Furthermore, there will be no cross-reference from a previous username to the changed/new username.
Account and/or content deletion
Please be advised that we DO NOT delete user accounts or posts. Any user may remove the content of their post(s) by clicking the “edit” link. With very few exceptions (such as adding trigger warnings to Survivor Stories) we do not edit posts. If you have posted in a restricted forum and are hence unable to edit the content, please contact our webmaster. Include in your message the link to the post(s) you are unable to edit. Other questions about content editing may be directed to our webmaster.
Avatars and Profile Images
Sharing art or photographs in the form of an avatar can be a powerful form of self-validation and as such is wholly consistent with the healing experience for many in our community. While it is perfectly acceptable to maintain the default auto-generated colored letter as an avatar, users are encouraged to produce and post their own. This avatar may be, but is not limited to, a picture of oneself at any age (along the lines of protecting personal privacy), but in any case it must comply with the following standards:
- All individuals or characterizations depicted must be fully clothed
- Nothing political
- No use of a photo of someone other than the user, unless the photo is of a well-known, generally recognized public or historical figure, (e.g., an avatar of George Washington would be okay; one of a high-school classmate would not)
- Nothing likely to cause stress or anxiety (strobing images, tortured figures, etc.)
- Nothing likely to give offense (e.g., Hitler, etc.)
- No weapons
- No portrayals of anything that is suggestively sexual or violent
- Nothing that suggests addictions or addictive behavior
- In an avatar, please be aware that using an image of oneself may compromise privacy, however a user is free to choose an avatar at any level of personal privacy
Posting Guidelines in Forums, Chat, and Conversations
Because we are a moderated community, it is important that registered users understand that ALL communications made on the website are scanned via automated moderation and flagged material is subject to review by the Moderator Team along the lines of community safety. All moderation of content is handled with the strictest confidence and is consistent with our commitment to respect registrant privacy. Nothing is randomly read unless filtering software flags it as a potential site safety issue. More about the moderation process can be found here.
As a registered user, you enjoy the capability of posting, messaging, and chatting on the site. Please remember that these are privileges. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some things to consider before submitting anything:
- The tone must remain respectful to other's beliefs and opinions. It is expected that users will disagree in a respectful fashion.
- Do not post or write anything while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
- If you post potentially triggering material in your posts, please put in subject header Trigger Warning. (Triggers are words or pictures that can cause distress or arouse memories or feelings of past trauma).
- Ad hominem personal attacks and name calling are not permitted. The definition of what constitutes a personal attack is within the judgment of the Moderator Team.
- No slurs of any kind directed at any person, the MaleSurvivor organization, or its agents are permitted anywhere on the site. The definition of what constitutes a slur is within the judgment of the Moderator Team.
- Kindly respect the right of others to refuse to answer questions or interact if they choose not to do so, and refrain from unwanted and invasive questioning.
- Personal information (i.e. full names, phone numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses, physical locations, whether your own or someone else's) shall not be posted publicly. Please refer to Section 4 about Off-site contact for further information regarding personal information.
- Family and Friends (F&F) may interact in the following forums: Introductions, and Friends and Family. F&F users may actively join general chat sessions in the chatroom but must move to the F&F room if requested to do so.
- Public discussion of Administrative and Moderator actions is not allowed. If you disagree with an action taken by the Moderator Team (as a whole, or a specific Moderator) or an agent of the MaleSurvivor organization, you should address the grievance in a conversation to a staff member or directly to the webmaster.
A non-exhaustive list of things that are not allowed:
- Illegal statements
- Threats of harm, including suicide threats
- Explicitly suggestive sexual content inconsistent with healing
- Perpetrator behavior, including but not limited to requesting personal information from another registrant, asking for contact information to engage off-site, or engaging in sexually suggestive conversation
- Using the provided material published on the website for intentions other than healing
- Sexually explicit discussions involving minors (those under the age of 18)
- Incendiary and disrespectful statements, including, but not limited to, the singling out of any individual or group of people based upon race, religion, profession, gender, sexual identity, nationality, or political affiliation
- Evidence of bypassing the safeguards of the software
- Posting of full names or other personal information that can lead to the identification of other users or members of the public
- This includes abusers unless there is public proof of their conviction.
- Political conversations or debates
- This is NOT a political forum. We do understand, however, that sometimes the subject matter of abuse crosses into a local or national political discussion and in those instances, we ask you refrain from generalizations or arguments that could inflame partisan sentiments.
- Proselytizing (religious or otherwise)
- Advertising of services
The staff has ample anecdotal evidence and plenty of personal experience to safely maintain the position that persons newly arrived here are often vulnerable, including acting out or being targeted.
We go to great efforts to monitor this website and to provide a safe environment which will welcome survivors, many of whom have significant trust issues. Accordingly, we place a high value on maintaining anonymity where sought, while stressing the imperative need for honesty. Anonymity, however, means that we cannot guarantee 100% that everyone who joins our community is here for the right reasons. Experience has helped us develop and implement methods and tools to aid our task of keeping this a safe place. You, the user, also need to do your part!
As a general rule of thumb, we strongly recommend that you refrain from exchanging off-site contact information with a new-found friend(s) until you have both been in consistent, on-site contact with each other for at least 3 months (90 days). Exchanging off-site contact information examples include, but are not limited to:
- Personal information, including pictures
- Email addresses
- Phone numbers
- Physical addresses
- Usernames on various messaging platforms such as Telegram and Snapchat or others
While we can't moderate anyone's off-site activities, it is our policy to urge anyone beginning such communication to proceed with caution. It is also our policy to take this 90-day window seriously. We want each of you to be safe and to use the website in the best way possible for your recovery and prolonged healing. While this is a "soft" rule, its contravention may create site safety issues requiring moderator action.
Someone who may appear well-meaning may ask to share pictures or other personal information off-site. We ask that you not engage and to let us know about it.
We encourage active writing (original content) for most of the content here; these pages ultimately comprise a rich compendium of the collective voices of survivors in their own words of shared experience and support. In essence, together we have built a library which continues to grow.
Offsite links are allowed with some limitations. Generally, off-site links can be a regular and effective part of some forums such as the U.S. & World News forum and Books, Music & Films for Survivors. Yet links are inappropriate for other areas such as Survivor Stories which require written composition. Off-site links are allowed so long as they contribute directly to the purpose of healing and mutual support. Off-site links may be removed at the sole discretion of the Moderator Team for any reason.
In general, offsite links:
- Cannot be used in any post in the Survivors Story forum.
- Should not be used as a substitute for written posts but rather as an addendum to provide supporting material for a fully written post.
- Should not link to gratuitously violent or sexual content except as it directly relates to an appropriate and pertinent conversation or topic.
- Should never contain explicitly sexual or violent material.
- Should not be used to identify any person registered on this site, their family members or friends, or an abuser of anyone on the site including the poster's abuser.
Again, postings of news stories must be posted in the US and World News Forum. Any copyright material (print or images) may not be posted without permission from the copyright holder.
Site Moderation - What You Should Know
The Moderator Team along with the Administrators are responsible for the operation of the website and do so within the framework provided by the Terms and Rules and these Site Guidelines. Both Administrators and Moderators are volunteer survivors who do their best to consult with one another to avoid responding subjectively to situations needing our attention.
Our primary role and responsibility is: ensuring the safety of the users here on website. We ask for your patience and trust that the guiding principle followed is maintaining the safety of the community for all to use with respect and responsibility. Moderators are carefully selected and – as survivors – are particularly sensitive about issues of confidentiality, trust, and respect.
Some may wonder where that line of safety is drawn. We certainly do not require sharing to be "sanitized." Many of the shared experiences here are raw, frank, and speak to the truth of memory. Reading through some of the Survivor Stories forum may give a sense of the level of sharing here. A good self-check is to ask oneself how what is shared connects with one's journey. The difference between what is graphic and what is pornographic is that the former speaks to the truth of what is remembered in an effort to see rather than deny, while the latter is often shared gratuitously and disconnected from healing.
We can accomplish our work in large part thanks to filtering software. This eliminates the need to randomly check posts or messages for potential violations, nor do we do that. Software automation does an effective job of flagging potential violations, allowing the Moderator Team to review them in a focused manner that respects the privacy of the conversation as much as possible in a moderated community.
In addition to automation, we rely upon our registrants to flag any concerns so that we may review them. If for any reason you are concerned about a particular topic that you would like to discuss, please contact a Moderator.
As survivors ourselves, we are here to not only to “keep the peace,” but also to help others get the most out of this unique community. Please contact any one of us if you need help or have any concerns about a situation, a post, a thread. Please be advised that it is best to contact a Moderator directly and not use the ModTeam account as it is infrequently checked.
Some examples of what we look for are found here.
Issues of Concern
PLEASE BRING YOUR CONCERNS TO A MODERATOR
If you feel a post is abusive, inappropriate, belongs in another forum, or is at odds with these guidelines please use the “Report” function located in each and every post, and chat message. If you receive a Conversation (via the envelope icon) you believe is abusive or inappropriate, please contact a Moderator or Administrator and include a copy of the message/conversation.
For the purpose of maintaining order within the forum do not respond publicly if something is triggering you. It is best for you to bring your concerns directly to a Moderator or Administrator via the “Report” function or by starting a new conversation via the envelope icon. Be advised that information affecting site administration or site safety will be shared with the Administrator and Moderator Teams.
Interim moving or closing of posts will occur to allow moderators to decide how to respond to a perceived problem. We ask that temporary moves or closing of a thread be respected by suspending further discussion on that topic. Such action is done to allow us time to consider the problem and determine how to deal with it. Please do not bring the same discussion to another thread!
PLEASE AVOID OVERREACTIONS TO BEING TRIGGERED
This is not a place to vent unprocessed emotions without regard to the effect that doing so would have on others. Please be mindful of the fact that when we react to something it is often due to being triggered into a memory of our own abuse and has little to do with what someone is posting. PLEASE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR FEELINGS AND STEP BACK TO CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF. Start a conversation with a Moderator and get someone else’s take on the issue before posting an emotional response to the post that triggered you. Please also be aware that reading material which has a Trigger Warning can in fact be triggering!
A suggested approach to avoid defensive or argumentative responses is to write with “I” statements instead of “you” statements. If you see yourself arguing or attacking another, you are overreacting!
Survivors come from all nationalities, faiths, sexual orientations, and racial groups. Respect and compassion must be the cornerstone of how we respond to one another. Please also note that there is an increasing number of users for whom English is not their native language.
RESPOND TO ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS PRIVATELY
It is appropriate to contact an Administrator or a Moderator about your concerns. We ask that this be done through the Conversation function, or by directly contacting the webmaster. It is important to understand that such discussions are not appropriate to take place in public view.
Please understand that administrative actions are often based on information which cannot be shared publicly without harming other users on the site.
- Moderators and Administrators are volunteers and most have “day jobs” in addition to their commitments here. Please be patient with response time.
- Moderator action is generally the result of a discussion and consensus which – while taking a bit more time – ensures the best response to a situation
- Issues that Moderators determine are beyond their purview will be sent along a “command chain” to the Administrator Team, and then on to the Board of Directors if necessary.
- Moderators are here to ensure thread, post, and chat activity remains in compliance with these guidelines as well as the Terms and Conditions.
- Removing a thread or post(s) is an action of last resort. If you see something that you think is objectionable, please send your concerns privately to a Moderator, but respect the ModTeam’s decision not to remove the post as long as we determine it is consistent with site guidelines.
- Closing or locking a thread will result if we feel that it contains a potential trigger or is becoming disruptive. PLEASE DO NOT CARRY THE DISCUSSION TO A NEW POST!
Considering the real-time nature of the Forums and especially Chat, it is impossible for Moderators to immediately review messages or confirm the validity of information posted. Please remember that the responsibility for any messages posted is solely is that of the author. We do not warrant the accuracy, completeness, or value of any message and are not responsible for the contents therein. Any message expresses the views of its author, not the views of MaleSurvivor or any entity associated with MaleSurvivor. Any user who feels that a posted message is objectionable is encouraged to contact a Moderator or Administrator or the webmaster. We will make every effort to respond appropriately within a reasonable time frame to such concerns and act accordingly. This same information is also contained in the Terms and Conditions to which each user has agreed.
Reasons that a user-account can be suspended
Restricting a user’s access is not something that we take lightly. We have gone to great lengths to provide ample information about things that are not allowed within our community. Once again, we must stress that all such decisions revolve around the question of safety. First and foremost, this is safety of the users, but also of the website, the Staff, and the organization. Failure to comply with these guidelines and to the Terms and Conditions, or to respond to a moderator’s message to you may jeopardize your access privileges.
Bans (suspensions) and reinstatements
Bans are considered an action of last resort and can vary in length from a temporary ban of a few days to a permanent ban. In any case, we will reach out to the registrant (often via registrant email) if such action is implemented to share our decision and when the registrant can expect the ban to be lifted. Each case is dealt with individually, according to the specific context which required the suspension. In some circumstances, the suspended registrant may be asked to have their therapist contact one of the MaleSurvivor mental health professionals prior to their return to the website.
This website is intended to promote healing and support by encouraging users to interact with one another and to give them a safe place to speak about things that can often be difficult to share.
From time to time, people claiming to be journalists, academic researchers, writers, or artists may reach out to MaleSurvivor registrants seeking people willing to take part in studies or interviews. While we believe that sharing our stories can be an empowering experience, it is just as important that no users of this website ever feel obliged, forced, or unduly pressured to speak to anyone they do not want to. However, in order to protect the privacy and maintain the overall safety of this community and its registrants, anyone looking for people to share their stories for off-site use (i.e. academic studies, news stories, etc.) are asked to contact us. All such requests will be reviewed and, if warranted, posted in an appropriate public forum.
Public posts seeking such information that have not been properly approved through administrative channels will be removed and possible further action may be taken. Any user who is contacted privately for such things and who subsequently alerts us, will have our full attention and the matter will be dealt with accordingly.
Advertisements, Campaigns and Promotions
Advertisements are not allowed. This website is focused on helping survivors heal and find some fellowship among their peers. There is a Classifieds forum where users can reach out to look for support groups, share knowledge of services and therapies. It is not the place for anyone to make a listing for paid services. Any such posting will be removed, and possible further action may be taken.
As of Autumn 2022, we are preparing a therapist directory. Please contact us if you wish to be listed.
Campaigns and promotions
As worthy as letter/email writing and other such campaigns may be, it is important that we follow some procedures to ensure that this is the best tactic and energy-efficient way to address a particular proposal. Anyone (registered user or guest) seeking any sort of activism (i.e. letter writing campaigns, phone calls, petitions, etc.) is asked to contact us. Any such posting without prior approval will be removed and possible further action may be taken.
The Fine Print (in plain language)
Registering and use of this website explicitly consent to our Terms and Conditions and these Site Guidelines.
Registered users must be 18 years of age or older. Those under the age of 18 are not permitted to register.
We are a moderated community. Details concerning this are found here.
MaleSurvivor does not condone the posting of the full names or other personal information that can lead to the identification of other users or members of the public-at-large on the website. Content that includes this information will be removed. This includes abusers unless there is public proof of their conviction. Repeated violations of this policy will undoubtedly jeopardize your access privileges.
Considering the real-time nature of the Forums and especially Chat, it is impossible for Moderators to immediately review messages or confirm the validity of information posted. Please remember that we are not responsible for any messages posted – this is the responsibility of the author. We are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any thread or post, nor for the content of any Conversation or Chat message. All content expresses the views of its author, not the views of MaleSurvivor or any entity associated with MaleSurvivor. Any user who feels that some particular Content is objectionable, is encouraged to contact a Moderator or Administrator or the webmaster. We may remove objectionable messages if we determine that removal is necessary and according to these guidelines and will make every effort to do so within a reasonable time frame. The information in this paragraph is also specifically contained in the Terms and Conditions to which each user has agreed.
If you have any questions or concerns, please start a Conversation via the envelope icon above with any Moderator, or contact the webmaster.