"Red Monster": The Impact of Psychological Trauma on the Lives of Young Men of Color


"Red Monster": The Impact of Psychological Trauma on the Lives of Young Men of Color

Sponsored by the Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health

Panel Moderator: Martin Pierre, PhD
Panelists: Keith Mascoll, SAG-AFTRA, AEA; Mariano Humphrey, BS; Ulric Johnson, PhD; Michael Mobley, PhD; Byron Beaman, BA; and Walter R. Higgs III, M.Div., MACM, MSW, LCSW

“Red Monster” depicts the racial and psychological dimensions of sexual trauma and trauma-related stress in the life of Malik, an African-American male. Malik shares his story by wading through the emotional currents of his personal experience as a victim of chronic childhood sexual abuse. This program includes the film screening and panel discussion.

One of the goals of the film is to raise awareness of the impact of sexual abuse on African American males. The panel discussion that follows the film will examine ways in which traumatic experiences leave their imprint on young Black men’s mind, body and soul. Many of these young men are living in urban environments and routinely face traumatic stressors in the form of sexual abuse. Researchers have documented a strong and consistent relationship between experiences of sexual abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Van der Kolk, Bessel A. 2014). The behaviors of young Black men who have experienced sexual abuse are often labeled as oppositional defiant, acting-out, impulsive, problematic, truant, sociopathic, and delinquent. However, these young men’s behaviors must be understood from a trauma-informed and culturally-sensitive lens.

Being a member of a racial/ethnic minority in American society is a risk factor for traumatic stress largely because racial/ethnic minorities are more frequently exposed to events that produce posttraumatic disturbance (Roberts, A. L., Gilman, S. E., Breslau, J., Breslau, N., & Koenen, K. C., 2011). As a result, effective trauma therapy involves an understanding that trauma reactions are culture-bound, and trauma can have damaging long-term negative consequences (Mueser, K. T., Rosenberg, S. D., Rosenberg, H. J., 2009). Furthermore, acknowledging and celebrating the cultural legacy of African traditions can promote optimal functioning. The presenters will recommends a healing paradigm which take into account the living condition in which a person exists (i.e., cultural context), the geo-political context in which the individual is embedded (e.g., racism and discrimination), and the development of multi-dimensional understanding of “self” (African centered).

The traditional Africentric worldview approaches humanity collectively rather than individualistically. Researchers suggest that this view leads to feelings of shared concern and a sense of responsibility for the well-being of others (Akbar, 1984; Ho, 1987; Houston, 1990; Schiele, 1990). This worldview has particular salience for African-American men. It acknowledges and affirms the culturally congruent values of community, wholeness, and striving for system maintenance over individual personal gain, and it views individuals collectively in terms of their group membership.

Learning Objectives

1. Identify both neurobiological and psychological responses to trauma within an ecological context.
2. List common reactions to trauma-related stress.
3. Describe concepts and principles of African-centered approaches towards healing and restoration.
4. Discuss and analyze the meaning of traumatic stress reactions in Black males and the implications for diagnosis and interventions.

Program Code: RM25
Credits: 2.5 CE Credits
Price: $50 with CE Credits, $0 no CE Credits


  • When

  • Wednesday, February 7, 2018
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    Eastern Time

  • Where

  • William James College
    1 Wells Avenue
    Newton, Massachusetts 02459

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