Clearwater attended his first peer support meeting for male survivors of sexual abuse in 1991, which was run by Iain Bennett.https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/113188535/male-sexual-abuse-advocate-honoured-for-work-with-fellow-survivors
In 1997, Bennett started the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust in Christchurch and asked Clearwater to be on the board.
He juggled volunteering at the trust with his freezing works butchery job until community grant funding allowed him to become the trust’s full-time manager in 2001.
“I’ve never seen it as a job. I had to do it and I had to do it for me.”
Since then, Clearwater has pushed the Government and ACC for recognition of male survivors of sexual abuse to be eligible for support, initiating the conversation that later resulted in changes to legislation.
Victims had to prove their abuse caused a mental illness to receive ACC compensation, he said.. Because many presented with other issues, such as drug and alcohol addiction, it was hard to prove the condition stemmed from the abuse.
Clearwater said while there had been much change in the way male survivors were treated, there was still a long way to go.
Stuff.co.nz: Male sexual abuse advocate honoured for work with fellow survivors.