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The Magazine of the Men's Resource Center of Western Massachusetts (Formerly Valley Men) I \I I I cJ t) 8

Can We Raise Boys to Become New Men? By Rob Okun

oys. Our sons, nephews , cousins, young brothers. What do we wish for boys? For many, answering that question may be easy-'-fulfillment , sense of purpose, happiness , love-but the roads boys must travel to reach such goals are fraught with danger. Raising boys in our society has never been easy. The collective societal shrug ("Boys will be boys") has left a gaping hole in the fabric of boys' lives. For too long, boys have slipped through that hole unchallenged and unguided, have engaged in a host of detrimental behaviors while we mostly stood by and watched, threw up our hands, or even winked and chee1ed. This issue of our newly renamed magazine, Voice Male, examines the notion of raising boys through several lenses: the 路 moving insights of Geoffrey Canada, author of the timely new book Reaching Up for Manhood (both reviewed and excerpted in this issue); a first-person account of raising a son by Sarah Reid, a 23-year-old single mother; a column by Steven jacobsen on the special problems faced by adoptive fathers and their sons; and some remarks by MRC Executive Director Steven Botkin, who offers gen-


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tle-and challenging-words for adults and young people planting a peace garden in the wake of a fatal stabbing. The horror of last springl; deadly violence at schools in Arkansas and Oregon is still reverberating. Closer to home, those of us living in and around Northampton continue to deal with the aftermath of the daytime, downtown stabbing death of a 16-yearold boy by his 15-year-old classmate. The media and public officials have been quick to decry "youth violence" and today's "problem young people," but rarely have they Photo: Glenn Ruga spoken the unhappy truth-this is not "youth violence" but male violence; these are not "problem young people" but our sons, our nephews, our boys. The women's movement has contributed enormously to freeing contemporary generations of women from the narrow roles to which for centuries they have been confined. The attention sho.wn our daughters, in schools and workplaces and elsewhere, is refreshing and long overdue, even as much remains to be done.

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Can We Raise Boys to Become New Men? continued from page 1 (For boys today, the road to manhood is more treacherous than ever: the drugs are more potent and more available; images involving sex and the objectification of girls and women have become more pervasive and more explicit; street violence has escalated from brawls and knife fights to driveby shootings with automatic weapons; the number of boys growing up in homes with, out fathers' or father-figures is at a dangerously high level. If that were not enough, at the same time the definition of what it means to be a man is in transition. And therein lies a glimmer of hope. Boys are picking up , directly or indirectly, on a psychic struggle going on within men, families , and the culture at large: a growing minority of men are becoming more public in rejecting macho posturing in favor of a more diverse expression of feelings: How long can men go on with only anger in their repertoire of emotions? The work of raising boys is part of the work of changing men. There is a tension between the two that we feel at the Mens Resource Center. We're in the thick of this definingwhat-it-means-to-be-a-man business every week. The sofas and chairs at our support groups on Sunday, Monday, and Friday evenings are filled with men shedding tears, laughing out loud, taking a hand, exchanging a hug, as they speak truthfully about their lives-and as they hear the reality of other mens lives. The richness of men's expressions of love, the wrenching depth of our sorrow, our pain. The healing strength of tears and the breaking through of numbness and isolation. f ften, these men go home from such groups a little changed, a lot ren~wed . If they are fathers-and many are-then their daughters and sons will reap the benefits of their changing dads. Regardless, all of these men, whatever they do, whomever they live with, are helping to create a new kind of man. But as admirable as this' personal growth work is, its not enough. We need these men, and more of them, to be heading into their communities (as Geoffrey Canada has) to share their experiences as changing men with impressionable boys.


Fletcher Korfhage-Poret, a high school senior from a small town near our offices, wrote a letter to the editor of his local newspaper not long ago offering a practical suggestion to address issues of youth violence and the struggles of young people. Give us mentors, he urged. Give us counselors and mentors who will listen to us. (Editor's Note: His letter appears on page 4 ). Hes right. And therein lies a key to raising boys (and girls, for that matter). We need more listeners. And to really listen to our boys we !Jve to provide them with safe places to talk about whats going on in their lives. Since last winter in Springfield, our Male Mentoring Group has served as one model, bringing together older and younger men for just that purpose. Just as men in our Open Men's group, or our Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning group, or our Male Survivors of Childhood Abuse group have a chance to talk honestly among themselves, our sons are entitled to no less. I grew up in a small town near Springfield, in the fifties and sixties, the same time as Geoffrey Canada, author of Reaching Up for Manhood, was growing up in the South Bronx. Despite our different backgrounds, as Canada writes, "we were both raised on old myths and tall tales about what it means to be a boy, and what it takes to be a man. We were taught to love being tough. We played contact sports and laughed in glee at opponents knocked senseless on the football field. And for these small bits of viciousness we were pounded on the back, or patted on the backside ... " That model of masculinity was too limited then; it's become outright dangerous today. For the sake of our sons-and our families-more and more of us need to spend more time not just with boys, but actively working to understand their lives. The stakes are too high for us to do any less.

TABLE OF CONTENTS REGULAR FEATURES From the Director 3 Dedicating the Garden Mail Bonding 4 MRCNews 5 11 Fathering Raising Boys as Adoptive Fathers By Steven Jacobsen Book Reviews 1"2, 16

Reaching Up for Manhood By Michael Dover I Don't Want to Talk About It By Michael Burke Men & Health Notes from Survivors Walking into a New Room By Jake Stevenson Resources ThankYou Calendar MRC Programs & Services

15 18

22 24 26 25

ARTICLES, NEWS, &OPINIONS Voice Male: A New Name Can We Raise Boys to Become New Men? Editorial By Rob Okun Bricks & Mortar: It's About More than A Building 7 By Michael Dover Raising a Boy: A Young Mother's Story 10 By Sara Reid Reaching Out to a Young Man 13 By Geoffrey Canada

The mission of the Men's Resource Center of · Western Massachusetts is to support men and develop men's leadership in challenging all forms of oppression in our lives, our families , and our communities. Qur programs support men to overcome the damaging effects of rigid and stereotyped masculinity, and simultaneously confront men's patterns of personal and societal violence and abuse toward women, children, and other men.

Rob Okun is MRC Assodate Director. 236 North Pleasant Street Amherst, MA 01002 413.253.9887 • Fax: 413.253.4801 ISSN 1092-4 795 • Email: Web Site: Voice Male

. From the Director

By Steven Botkin

Dedicating the Garden Administrative Staff

Executive Director - Steven Botkin Associate Director - Rob Okun Office Manager - George Moonlight Business Manager - Carl Erikson Outreach Coordinator- Steven Jacobsen Development Associate - Tfm Van Ness Men Overcoming Violence

Directors - Russell Bradbury-Carlin. Rob Okun Clinical Supervisor- Steven Botkin Partner Services Coordinator - Sara Elinoff Group Leaders - Steven Jefferson, Steve Trudel, Dan Botkin, Sheri Vanetzian Early Intervention Stall- Tim Van Ness Partner Services Intern - Rebecca Petertreund Youth Education

MARS Program - Russell Bradbury-Carlin, Javiera Benavente Voice Male

Editors - Steven Botkin. Rob Okun Managing Editor - Michael Burke Production - Mark Bergeron Ad Sales Director- Steven Jacobsen Copy Editor- Michael Dover Support Gr:oups

Director - Juan Carlos Arean · Volunteer Facilitators ~ Michael Burke, Michael Dover. John Goldsby, Tim Gordon, Ron Gorevic, Kerl Howard, Steven Jacobsen. Norm LaFoe, Gabor Lukacs. Rick Martin, Bob Mazer, Sheldon Snodgrass, Michael Verrilli, Tom Wartenberg, Brian Willson, Paut · Abbott, Bob Dunn, Dave Gott, Mic;hael Greenebaum, Michael Grogan, Keith McAllister. David Thompson, Robin Marie Ward Board of Directors

Chair - Michael Dover Vice-Chair - Mark Nickerson · Clerk/Treasurer - Peter Jessop Members - Jenny Daniell, samFemiano, · Yoko Kato, Tom Kovar, AI Sax, She/lie Taggart . Editors' Note

The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the opinions bf all staff or board of the MRC: We encourage letters to the editor, articles, and news. Address submissions to: Editor. Voice Male. Membership

The MRC is funded by individual and organizational contributions, and by fees for services. Please join us in our vision of men healing, growing, and ending vio" fence. Annual subscription and membership is $25. Send to-MRC, 236 North Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002. . Advertising

For rates and deadlines call Steven Jacobsen at 413-253-9887. Voice Male

n May 28 , 1998, a 16-yearold boy was fatally stabbed by a 15-year-old boy in Northampton , . Massachusetts. Of course, this is not an isolated incident. Like most people in this country, those of us who work at the MRC watched the incidents of (male) youth violence that seemed to spread across the United States over this past year with growing concern and despair. We were acutely aware of the male gender of the young perpetrators, and how many of the incidents targeted girls "in retaliation" for ending relationships. We were also acutely aware of the ongoing epidemic of youth violence occurring mostly among the poor and darker-skinned people in this nation and throughout the world, which has not received the same media attention. If we were fighting an outside enemy that . was killing our children at .a rate of more than five thousand a year we would spare no, expense in mounting the effort to subdue that enemy. What happens when the enemy is us? WJ-tat happens when _those American children are mostly black and brown? Do we still have ·the will to invest the time and resources in saving lives? The answer must be yes, because the impact ana fear of violence has overrun the boundaries of our ghettos and has both its hands firmly around the neck of our whole country. And while you may not yet have been visited by the spectre of death and fear of this new national cancer, just give it time. Sooner or later, unless·we act, you wilL We all wilL -Geoffrey Canada, fiststickknifegun ( 1995) Two weeks after the killingin Northampton, a "peace garden" was dedicated at the high school where the victim and the perpetrator were both students. Together,' adults and youth planted the garden as they 'remembered how violence had touched their lives. I shared these thoughts at that ceremony: We are in the garden . Whose garden is this? In 1995 almost 5,000 people under the age of 20 died from injuries related·to guns. We are in the garden. Who are the gardeners? In the last two years there have been at least seven different incidents of fatal shoetings


in schools across this country by young men ages 11 to 18. · We are in the garden. What are we growing? Every day in America: 14 youths are killed by firearms. 5, 753 youths are arrested. 8,470 children are reported abused or neglected. 14.5 million children live in poverty. In Massachusetts: Every 9 minutes a child is reported abused or neglected. Every 9 days a child or youth is killed by a gun. Violence is growing in our garden. Sprioging up like weeds, everywhere. Sometimes it seems as if no one is tending the garden. Or the gardeners don't quite know what they are·doing, pulling the vegetables and flowers and watering the weeds. It's easy to think that rhis is just what grows in this garden-violence, hate, harassment, abuse. Maybe the soils just not good enough for anything else. It's easy to feel betrayed and angry about having to live in a garden that's '!Seen neglected, mismanaged, and even trashed. About having gardeners who haven't been able to get out all these weeds. ' It's easy to think that it's not our garden. Someone else created this mess, and they don't seem to know what to do about it. So . "what the fuck do we care?'' But when the weeds start choking us or the people we love, when the violence comes close to home, we realize that it's our garden and we are the gardeners. We can't leave the weeding and others. We've got to learn how to sort out the weeds from 'the vegetables and flowers. Its time to realize that what we do in -this' garden makes a difference. We can trample all over it, trash it, ignore it, and the weeds will continue to grab at us in tragic and horrible ways . It's time to reclaim this as our garden. It's· time to take it back from the neglect and mismanagement and abuse. Its time that together we join in the slow but joyful work of weeding and cultivating our garden . This garden belongs to ·au of us, and we are all the gardeners. 3

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU Write us! Please send typewritten, double-spaced letters to: VOICE MALE, MRC , 236 North Pleasant Street, Amherst , MA 01002 or FAX us at (413) 253-4801, E-mail:; include address and phone. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.Deadline for the Winter '99 issue is November l:

Housewarming Gifts I want to <;ongratulate you on another outstanding issue of Valley Men (Spring/Summer '98). As always, your publication speaks most poignantly to the needs and issues of men. Every time I pick up GQ or Details, I thank God you're out there. Please accept my donation towards the new home of the MRC-may it be a space filled with learning, laughter, and love. I ,only wish it were closer to my home-one of these days I hope to visit you . Keep up the great work. Tom Cordero jamaica Estates, N.Y

Face to Face with Domestic Violence Earlier this year I called to thank the MRC and Scott Girard for his and his wife Nancy Girard's presentation in Ashfield. Volunteering to organize an evening on domestic violence through our towns Human Relations ' Commission, I was not prepared for the level of anxiety I would feel as the . evening approached. Who were this couple coming to speak to us on domestic violence as they had experienced i~ their own marriage? Who was this man I had tentatively called on the phone to arrange details? Did I want to speak to someone who had in the past abused women? What would he look like? Should I shake hands? Would he be defensive? Would I need to censor my words? Would he be a "good" speaker? Would his wife participate? Would the evening become potentially too volatile or offensive? Being a clinical social worker and having worked with battered women, I felt I had no biases or stereotypes. It was a great surprise to me that at first meeting Scott, I almost expected (as I later joked with him) someone with two heads! When Scott opened his talk by reminding us that he was a "regular guy" 4

like any of us , something inside me clicked. Oh yes , this is why the commission had invited Nancy and Scott to speak, rather than offer a more "clinical" presentation on the subject of domestic violence. The remainder of the presentation included Scott and Nancys story, told with great sincerity and candor. Scott shared how he finally faced and continues to work on his anger and how it is expressed. Nancy spoke about her life living with and dealing with an abusive husband anc~ father of their chil~ dren. Throughout their presentation, the Men Overcoming Violence (MOVE) program was credited with being the catalyst for Scott's healing. 路 The Human Relations Commission considers the evening a great success, regretting that more of the community couldn't directly benefit from these courageous speakers. We wonder if the small audience could be reflective of a phenomenon indicative to this social problem? An unwillingness to acknowledge or confront the existence of this problem in our own community? We are grateful to the MRC for offering the community the oppOftunity to hear from men and women who have personally experienced violence in their own relationships and are willing to share their stories. The presentation was powerful and healing and we hope your speakers' bureau路 will grow and be increasingly utilized by the public. Thank you, Scott and Nancy! Monica Levine Ashfield Human Rights Commission Ashfield, Mass. Editor's note: Scott and Nancy Girard appeared at the forum through the MRC Speakers' Bureau. It includes men who have participated for many years in the MRC's Men Overcoming Violence program and partners of those men. For more information or to learn about Speakers' Bureau topics besides domestic violence, call the MRC at (413) 253-9887.

Mr. President: Send Mentors In response to all the acts of intense and baffling violence in schools around the country, and all the letters that have been published regarding this issue, I would like to voice my opinion. As a teenager and a member of Genera~ion X, I feel my opinion is coming from an important standpoint. While many people feel that to prevent these crimes we must learn to observe and report threats made by student?, I feel this is both unrealistic and ineffective. In a generally nonthreatening society like our own, no student in a rural area is going to be able to judge when an everyday, flippant, idle threat should be taken seriously. In a rural high school atmosphere, nobody would even think of fellow students as a threat to their life. I have a more practical suggestion. I feel all students should be watche_d more closely and dealt with more directly on a regular basis, by "mentors" who are assigned to watch over students academically and emotionally. These trained mentors could quickly pick up a problem with a student and hopefully work . through it with them without devastating results. The Clinton administration plans to provide $140 million to create mentors for next year and the future. I hope that this proposal will expand so these mentors are available to all students and not just structured to guide underprivileged kids to college. I路feel that if these steps are taken throughout society, it will signific~ntly help to deter these increasingly horrible acts of violence. Fletcher Korjhage-Poret Leverett, Mass. Editor's Note: A version of this letter appeared in the Daily Hampshire Gazette' (Northampton , Mass.) on june 22, 1998.

Voice Male


Tim Van Ness:

Making Change.Happen in the Courts he original idea behind the Men Overcoming Violence (MOVE) early intervention program, according to Tim Van Ness , was simple: go to court, and be available to give men arraigned on domestic violence charges information about MOVE and its services. But, as Van Ness says, "What I do there goes beyond that-relatively often." When he meets with a man accused of domestic assault and battery who has been referred to him for an evaluation, or just to get information about his options, Van Ness may end up wearing several hats at once. "Sometimes I do a little bit of counseling, or teach a little in the moment," he says. "Sometimes they really want to talk; sometimes it's just 'Get me out of here. '" But Van Ness, who is on call :whenever the Ware District Court is in session stresses that "I;m not there as a salesm;n for the MOVE program. We basically see the early intervention approach as another way to serve people in the community, to offer our services and to support men. Its another way to be out in the world challenging men and challenging violence-not condoning what they're accused of doing." The key, he says, is getting men who are abusive to see clearly what has happened to them and to their .partners, and to take responsibility for what they've done. Sometimes in such relationships, a pattern of abuse has gone on for some time, with neither partner willing or able to bring it out in the open, acknowledge it and work it out. In such cases, it may take the woman's filing a charge of "assault. and battery, domestic" to make change occur. "Getting arrested and getting a restraining order can be the best thing that happens [to some men]," says Van Ness.


Voice Male

MOVE's early intervention program has been in place for nearly a year. It is one component of a comprehensive program involving the office of the Northwestern District Attorney, Necessities/Necesidades, and nearly a dozen area police departments. Van Ness reports that everyone in the Ware court system has been very supportive of MOVE and of him, from judge Nancy Duse}<-Gomez to the lawyers and victim-witness advocates. "They say, 'I'm so glad you're here. Its such a blessing."' judge Dusek-Gomez often refers defendants to Van Ness , either as a mandatory referral for a MOVE program evaluation or, on a more informal basis, so that the men can get information. Courtappointed lawyers representing the men and Photo: Toni Bergins lawyers from the district attorneys office also know Van Ness , and they may refer accused men to him as well, although some defense attorneys suggest that if their clients get involved with MOVE it may be seen as "an admission of guilt." Van Ness makes contact with the men when they are arraigned, or when they come back to court for a pretrial confer-路 ence. When a woman comes to court to file a restraining order, or to extend an existing order from "emergency" status to a longer period, Van Ness may get involved too . Often, he says, the woman will talk to a SAFEPLAN victim-witness advocate, while the man will talk t~ him. Later he and the SAFEPLAN advocate will get together and compare notes, then write out a plan, whose goal is to keep the abused partner safe ("Thats what you always worry about") while acknowledging the accused man's rights , for example, to have contact with his children or have access to household possessipns. continued on page 26

New Men's Groups Sprouting in Western Mass. "Neighborhood" Last winter, men in the Athol and Orange, Massachusetts area came together around the issue of men's violence toward women, recognizing this as a mens issue and wanting to work as allies with women to see what they could do to address the 路 problem. With sponsorship by the Human Resource Center/Clinical and Support Options, they created "Men Against Violence," a group dedicated to reducing the incidence of domestic violence in the community, raising awareness and understanding about the issue, and promoting healthier, more respectful relationships. The group is open to all men and meets from 5 -6 p.m. the first and third Tuesdays of each month at the Athol YMCA, 545 Main Street. The "Men's Drop-In Group" is a spin-off of this first group and was established with training and support from the MRC. Its purpose is to provide a safe place for men to come and share their stories, struggles, and feelings in a confidential, supportive environment. The group is facilitated by local men trained in the format and guidelines established by the MRC. The group meets from 7-8:30 p.m.on the first and third Tuesdays Jf each month, also at the Athol YMCA. All men are welcome to drop in. For more information, contact the Human Resource Center/Clinical and Support Options at (978) 249-9926.

Young Men Overcoming Violence The Men Overcoming Violence (MOVE) is now offering a program for young men, ages 14 tol9, called Youth MOVE. The ten-week program takes a broad view of ending violent behavior, focusing not only on relationship violence, but on violence in other areas of a young person's life. "We're giving young men an opportunity to tell their story and to be heard. But, we are also challenging them to take ,responsibility for their behavior and to 路 make change," said Russell BradburyCarlin, co-director of the MOVE program and Youth MOVE group leader. "By both supporting the young men in the program and challenging their violent behavior,

continued on page 6 5

continued from page 5 Youth MOVE is hoping to continue the program philosophy begun with our program for mei")," Bradbury-Carlin said. "Youth MOVE has developed at a time of great need. It's providing a service that hasn't been offered before in the region," said MRC Associate Director Rob Okun. According to Okun, the program has been building over the last two years as many parents, gtiidance counselors and others working with youth have been frequently calling the MRC looking for treatment for their sons and clients. "One of our goals is eventually to run follow-up groups, as we do for men in the MOVE program," said Bradbury-Carlin. "Groups like that offer an opportunity for clients to make a deeper commitment to making change in their lives and to taking responsibility for their behavior. In the meantime, we want to do all we can for these young people." To learn more, contact Bradbury-Carlin at (413) 253-9588.

MRC NEWS Pizza and Support for Dads The MRC, through its Fathering Programs, is sponsoring a four-part workshop this fall entitled "Fathers Finding Support." Designed to help dads of children up to the age of four, the series is a collaboration among the MRC, the University of Massachusetts Commuter Services, and the Amherst Family Center. "As more and more fathers take on active roles raising their children it is essential to provide them with opportunities to find support," said joanne Levenson, director of commuter services. The series is intended to bring together a multiracial group of dads and their 'young children for a pizza and salad supper and conversation on four consecutive Monday evenings, October 19 and 26 and November 2 and 9. Funded through a grant from Hampshire Community Action Commission's Hampshire County Family Network, the series is providing child care and transportation . "The MRC hopes to provide more


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groups for fathers over time," said Rob Okun, the organization's Associate Director. "This group is one more step along the way." Currently, the Fathering Program offers a class for expectant fathers at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton and works with separated and divorced fathers and mothers. For more information about the MRC's Fathering Programs, contact Okun at (413) 253-9887. To .register for the "Fathers Finding Support" workshop series, contact Levenson$ office at (413) 545-2309.

Men's Magazine "Majoring" in Women's · Studies? When the approximately 300 students in Professor Arlene Avakian's "Introduction to Women's Studies" class at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst peeked at their syllabi last spring, they were surprised to discover that Valley Men was one of the required readings for. the course. But from Professor Avakian's perspective, it is important within a women's studies course to talk about all aspects of the social construction of gender-especially since the number of men taking this introductory course has increased steadily, reaching 10 to 15 percent of the class population. She emphasizes that she does not believe that men are victims of societys gender roles in the same way as women, who have been oppressed for centuries as a consequence of them. But she recognizes that men, too, have been damaged by the promulgation of these roles. The course, Women's Studies 187, was designed to "examine womens lives with a particular emphasis on the ways in which gender interacts with race, class, and sexual orientation." Among the required readings from the MRC magazine were past articles by Michael .Kimmel, Russell Bradbury-Carlin, Scott Girard, and MRC Executive Director Steven Botkin. Naturally, we're glad that our magazine now has 300 new readers (assuming everyone did their homework!), and we hope that our publication can contribute to furthering an ongoing male-female, men's movement~women's movement dialogue.

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Voice Male



MRC NEWS Survivors' Dictionary Published The Mens Resource Center has published its second book, A Male Survivors Dictionary, written by MRC staff member and Survivors' Peer Support Group founder Steven Jacobsen. The book is part of the newly maugurated MRC Press. ''I'd been compiling notes, ob~ervations, and information pertinent to male survivors for a number of years, hoping to write a full-length manuscript at some point," said Jacobsen. "But when I began participating in public forums discussing the issues of being a male survivor, I realized that many common words often have different meanings to survivors than they do to others, and I felt putting together a set of definitions might be helpful. ,; "Steven originally conceived of the Survivor's Dictionary as a four- or six-page handout to use in public presentations," · noted MRC Executive Director Steven Botkin, "but it quickly became clear that the scope and value of the project required greater length. We initially printed 30 copies of a work-in-progress version of the Dictionary, invitmg comment and criticism. Response has been unanimously positive and enthusiastic." "The Male Survivors Dictionary is a unique and invaluable tool for survivors , as well as their spouses, families, and friends," added Sam Femiano, MRC board member and a therapist experienced with male survivors. "It is also of great use to professionals who work with survivors in treatment." Five years ago the MRC also published Children, Lesbians and Men: Mens Experiences as Known and Anonymous Sperm

Donors, compiled by Geoff Lobenstine, former MRC board member. A Male Survivors Dictionary is available for $5.00 through the MRC Press, do the Men's Resource Center of Western Massachusetts, 236 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01002. Children, Lesbians and Men costs $8.00 and can also be ordered from the MRC.

Fathering After the Fall More than two dozen human service professionals working with families throughout western and central Massachusetts engaged in a spirited discussion of "fathering after divorce" at a workshop of the same name in Amherst recently The workshop, sponsored by the Fathers and Family Network for the statewide Children$ Trust. Fund of Boston, was conducted by MRC Associate Director Rob Okun. ' "We've been working with the MRC for some time now and have been impressed with their commitment to assisting fathers in a variety of circumstances," said jack Miller, program manager of the Fathers and Family Netwprk. "We wanted to offer professionals in the region ideas and tools for successfully fostering . close relationships between fathers and children after a separation or divorce, and a respectful working relationship- between mothers and fathers . The MRCs experience working with men and fathers was just what we needed," Miller said. Okun, who oversees the MRCs Fathering Programs, brought two divorced fathers to the workshop who movingly told their stories of fathering b~fore and after divorce .


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"What I find important m working with fathers and mothers after separation and divorce ts helping them to find common ground working in the best interests of their children. Sharing with professionals the experiences fathers have in the painful process of establishing post-divorce parenting can help them to assist parents to successfully cooperate," Okun said. "While not all couples can establisha co-parenting relationship , the watchword still needs to be respect." Miller, who has established monthly Fathers and Family Network gatherings in both Boston and Amherst, plans to mvite the MRC's Okun to conduct similar workshops in other parts of the state in the months ahead. To learn more about MRC services for fathers, contact Okun at (413) 253-9887.

You Say Goodbye ... The MRC Board regretfully says goodbye to three members this fall . Irma Gonzalez completes her term of office in September, and joel Soforenko has resigned after serving two years on the Board. Both have contributed much to the Board and to the development of the M·Rc. joel was an early advocate of MRC services for Hampden County, provided valuable legal advice on several occasions, and also served as Clerk of the Board for most of his tenure . Irma brought her considerable talents and energy as an organizational consultant to the Board's planning, e~aluation, and development activities, playing a crucial role during the MRC's strategic planning effort early in her term. All on the Board are grateful to Irma and joel for their generosity in giving of their time and expertise. Juan Carlos Arean has also left the Board, but in this case it is cause for celebration, because he has rejomed the staff (see accompanying story) . Juan Carlos' prior on-the-job experience often provided valuable perspective for the Board. Welcome back, to Juan Carlos!

... We Say Hello Two new staff members have joined the MRC family, and two former staff have returned, all in the past few months . Carl Erikson is the MRC's new Business Manager. Carl comes to the .MRC with a wide array of training and experience, including work as a teacher of economics and government, a writer, a librarian , treaVoice Male

----....--- MEN'S NEWS - - - - - surer of an art gallery, and business manager of a private Boston art college in. He is also an accomplished textile artist. juan Carlos Arean and Sheri Vanetzian have rejoined the MRC staff after some time in other positions. Juan Carlos has a long history with the MRC. He served on the Steering Committee in the organization's early days, and later worked in various capacities, including Resource and Referral Coodinator and Latino Outreach Coordinator before becoming a batterer intervention counselor in the MOVE program. He later served as the director of MOVE from 1994 to 1996. He left the staff to become Program Director at FOR Community Services in Holyoke , but maintained his MRC connection by joining the Board. In july he returned to the MRC as Director of the Support Groups program and Coordinator of Springfield Programs. Sheri previously worked in the MOVE program as a Partner Support intern and acting coordinator. Having completed batterers' intervention training, she comes back to MOVE as a batterer intervention counselor. She has worked as a counselor for rape and domestic violence victims for the Springfield YWCA and currently serves as Assistant Director for theCounselor/Advocate Program at the Everywoman's Center at the University of Massachusetts. Rebecca Peterfreund is an intern in the

MOVE program, assisting Sara Elinoff, Coordinator of Partner Support Services. Now in her second year at Hampshire College studying emotional trauma, Rebecca has put together an information packet for women in the partners' group, and is working on outreach to area therapists.

Quitting Pornography: Cyberbook Logs Nearly Two Million Visits Quitting Pornography, an online anthology edited by Men Against Pornography, has attracted nearly two million visits since its publication in mid-1997. Subtitled "Men Speak Out About How They Did It-And Why," the collection of essays features "helpful ideas and inspirational p.ersonal stories from men who have struggled against the pornography industry's power over their sexual feelings. " Men Against Pornography (MAP) is an activist group of profeminist men in New York City who want to help create sexual justice and who believe that pornography stands in the way of it. Founded in 1984, the group chose to self-publish this anthology on the World Wide Web because today that is where many men ·browse seeking to satisfy their sexual longings

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through pornography. "We know that vast numbers of men are deeply troubled by their pornography consumption and its negative effects on their sexuality and relationships," explained John Stoltenberg, a MAP cofounder and coeditor of the anthology. 'just imagine the attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous if a meeting were offered at every local liquor store," said Stoltenberg. "MAP conceived this project to be that kind of supportive outreach." The first-person essays in Quitting Pornography describe a wide variety of methods-including personal trial and error, going "cold turkey," 12-step, and political and religious convictions. "We decided it was not our job to agree or disagree with any particular man's chosen method (even though as individuals we might not choose or recommend every method listed or described)," says a statement by the group . "Instead, we thought that our most important responsibility was to support each contributor in telling his personal truth. We believe that these collected writings are an important first step in understanding the ways that pornography stands in the way of men's achieving real intimacy and real equality. We also believe that many men of conscience will find here the beginnings of practical ' hope ." MAPs Quitting Pornography anthology can be found at · CapitolHill/1139/quitpom.html. MAP may also be contacted by writing: Men Against Pornography PO. Box 150786 Brooklyn. N.Y. 11215-0786 e-mail:

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a Boy: A Young Mother's Story By Sarah Reid








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wanted a boy. I willed myself to have one. I thought that by having a boy I would be forced to learn to love at least one man, unconditionally and completely. I thought that by having a boy I would eventually be privy a wealth of knowledge about the opposite sex that I had long be~n denied through a painful adolescence and two totally unhealthy relationships. I thought that I could do women a service by growing a good man, the kind that I would like to see a hypothetical daughter with . I thought that despite the hard work and effort I would need to put into raising a boy, it would never compare to the work needed to produce a healthy and self-loving girl. When Zane was born on April 23, 1994, he was indeed a boy-but it took a solid minute before anyone mentioned it. I was secretly happy that for that one minute, the elation over his babyness had no link to his maleness. I thought, "Well, Zane, you had one precious moment to be genderless-how did it feel?" and then a hat with a blue string was put on his squishy head and that was that. I was the proud mother of a boy, the unsuspecting savior for all malekind, the key to my malefemale relationship salvation project. For about six months the only real distinguishing feature that made Zane a boy was his (intact) penis. Other than that little organ (and its amazing ability to pee up and over the entire room), his maleness had no real impact on our relationship . I loved him more than any other mother had ever loved her son. Every movement, noise, and change caused me to either cry, take a picture, or call someone to tell them the next great thing that Zane did. For the first time and with no effort, I loved a male unconditionally and completely. Zane is four years old now and he is definitely a boy. This fact was made clear the moment he could move about on his own. His first word was "ball," he could hit a baseball farther than I could before he turned two, and then, of course, there is his love affair with weaponry and dismemberment. And while I hate to define




any of these things as inherently male , I must admit to and work with the fact that they are at least socie(ally male, and for some reason his biology is inspired by this . Despite living with and studying him for four years, I have yet to receive the Official Handbook on Boys, so I cannot differentiate between what behaviors Zane might have as a person and the ones that he might have as a result of being a boy-person.

Sara Reid and son Zane Needless to say, this lends me no great insight into my past and current relationships with men. 1 As for growing a good man for the sake of hypothetical daughters , I've come to the conclusion that I am growing a good man , but for much less women-centric reasons. For the sake of himself and his community (of which women will always be a part), I am hoping that his balanced boyhood evolves into a healthy and fulfilling manhood, and that his goodness will be a part of all of his relationships . The most 'striking aspect of having wanted to have a boy, and then raising one, is how utterly destroyed my theory about raising the two sexes is. I began studying gender at school because of the inequity I felt existed between men arid women. In the course of my study (and motherho-od) I quickly came to realize that the injustice men experience through their socialization is just as powerful and devastating as the injustice women experience,

but in an entirely different way. My son has many social battles to fight (good thing he has so many swords) and many tears to shed (yes, I encourage those) as inevitably he receives confusing and potentially damaging messages about what it means to be a man. However, the old lessons of manhood will not easily be visited on Zane if I have anything to say about it. I am too busy teaching him the lessons of humanhood, of health and of self-love, which are all too often left out of the training for either gender. As he grows I hope his manhood is something that he is proud of, something that he thinks about, and something that will benefit everyone he comes into contact with. Even at his young age, I know his burgeoning manhood has benefited me . Sarah Reid is a women's studies major at Greenfield Community College cmd a member of the Pioneer Valley Cohousing Community.


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Voice Male

By Steven jacobsen


Raising Boys as an Adoptive Father y sons were three and five explain as cheerfully as possible that I when we adopted them. Since am my sons' real father, though not their they weren't newborns, they biological one. So, too, the boys themcame into our family and our lives selves-not as much now as at the already with their own history and expebeginning of our family-have been hurt riences , independent of me as a father or at times by similar inquiries. People do my wife as a mother. Consequently, I not seem to understand that successfully adopted children are nonetheless in a was (quite properly) compared by the boys to whatever prior experience they very conflicted position: they are joyful and thankful to finally belong to a fami had with fathers , or with father-like figures My sons, it turned out, had derived almost all of their prior opinions about "what a father should be" from various television shows. 1 had never expected that, as a dad, I'd be involved in a sort of Nielsen ratings race with guys like Ozzie Nelson, Robert Young (who died recently and who was actually cast against type m "Father Knows Best"-in real life he was an alcoholic, suffered from depn!sswn, and once tried to commit suicide), and Ralph Wa1te (the father on "The Waltons"), but so I was, at first. Also , because my boys had had virtually no exposure to an adult male before me, they watched me like a hawk, constantly: Phillip jacobsen They'd never before seen any man make breakfast, take a shower, go to work, play With them, fix dinner, or fall asleep. ly, naturally, but they also tend to wonIn short, the whole business of what der why they were stranded in the first men do and are was completely foreign place. Almost uniformly, such children assume it was "their fault," that someand amazing to them, and they made it thing must be "wrong" or "bad" about qmte clear that they were absolutely going to find out all about this odd creathem. ture, me. (I was pretty unaware of this That's a staggeringly heavy burden for any child to bear, and when others make for the first six months , until my wife well-meaning remarks like "You're such burst out laughing one evening after we'd tucked the little guys in for the a lucky little boy to have a new family," I night. "Didn't you notice how at dinner fear they are completely unaware of how tomght they were both practicing holdthose words bum and sting. It was so ing thw forks exactly like you do?" I ' important to my older son to be seen as hadn't, but I quickly became concerned a "normal" boy when he entered kinderabout my silverware etiquette.) garten that he insisted his teacher call Many nonadaptive parents-and chil- , him "Mr. jacobsen" for the first month. dren-can be insensitive in their comHe wanted to make dam sure that ments to adoptive parents. I cannot everybody knew he was my son, I was count the times when many wellhis dad, and this was our family: (He meaning, decent people have said things succeeded, too.) to me like "Oh, you're the adoptive As a new adoptive father, its common father. Who's the real father?" This questo go through a "honeymoon" period, tion always offends me, but I try to generally lasting about six months. Your


Voice Male

son will amaze you with his uprelenting goodness during this time. He's testing you. He needs to know 1 that you will be equally good to him in ' turn. When he becomes convinced that you will, the honeymoon's over, and he'll begin throwing tantrumS, telling you that not only does he not like broccoli, he actively hates it, and furthermore broccoli is, as everybody knows, just plain stupid. And Dad, he might add, if you like broccoli, then you're probably stupid, too. In short, he:S acting just like little boys a~t-when they're not scared. I remember very well the day my older son told me I was stupid because 1 liked broccoli. It was one of the happiest days of my life, because I knew that he and I had arrived at 路a place, together, where he was safe and secure enough to understand that he didn't need to be ,perfect in order to "earn" my love. He had finally arrived at a point in his life when he not only knew he deserved my love, but knew he already had it unconditionally, then and for the rest of his life. And, for me , that's what being a real father and a real son is all about. Steven jacobsen is co-facilitator of the support group for Male Survivors of Childhood Abuse and MRC community outreach coordinator.

I I:

Book Review

-----------------------By Michael Dover

Boys, Mentors, and Ch路anging Men Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America, by Geoffrey Canada. Boston: Beacon Press, 1998, 160 pp. $22.00. uddenly there seems to be an epidemic of violence, fatal violence, among young people. Within a few months of each other come Pearl, Mississippi; jonesboro, Arkansas; Springfield, Oregon. And, here at home, a stabbing in Northampton. All over the country, the question is arising: What:S going on here? As terrible and tragic as these incidents are, they are aberrations. Overall, school violence is down nationally. They make news because of where they are occurring and who is involved. They are happening in middle-class communities and the perpetrators and victims are white. This makes them no less awful, but it:S important to notice, and to notice ,. that the epidemic of violence that has laid waste to minority children in the nation:S inner cities is no longer the top story. And few people are taking note of another important fact common to all of these awful events: the killers are all boys. Geoffrey Canada understand~ this. He opens his new book, Reaching Up for Manhood, with the chilling words, "They were dying again," writirig about three friends who died in their mid-forties in the space of two weeks. It brought on the feeling that it would


never end, that my men friends would die and die, and keep on dying until I would be the only man left at the funeral. I knew I was overreacting, but this was not the first time death had run up the score on me, had taken my friends, not one every now and then, but in bunches. Most of the deaths happened a long time ago, where we were young men. Back then the calls came one after another; bringing the news of another friend lost. It got so after the first sentence you knew what was to follow. "Geoff, has anybody told you? It's D.]., man. He's dead." "You heard about Mikey? Aw man, he 12

just had a kid. OD'd." "You ain't gonna believe this. They found Warren in a lot with trash and stuff They killed him." "I don't know what it was. They said he just died. Was sick or something." Now, in their forties, it was alcohol and tobacco that were taking his friends . But Canada sees the connection, the unbroken thread that joins tnese deaths-and the ones not yet dead. Having grown up in the South Bronx,

Canada hasn't forgotten what:S happening in the ghettos, and he knows that boys are constantly and increasingly at risk. Now head of the Rheedlen Centers for Children and Families in New York City, Canada reaches out to help youngsters whose childhoods are even more dangerous than was his. "More and more," he writes , "I have become concerned with what boys think they should be , with what they believe it means to be a man. Our beliefs about maleness, the mythology that surrounds being a male, have led many boys to ruin. The image of male as strong is mixed with the image of male as violent. Male as virile gets confused with m ale as promiscuous. Male as adventurous equals male as reckless. Male as intelli-

gent often gets mixed with male as arrogant, racist, and sexist." Canada's approach to his subject is simple, but by no means simplistic. In the terse, one-word titles of his chapters he sets the scene: Sex. Drugs. Risk. Fatherhood. But also : Self-Worth. Healing. Faith. Work. Mentors. In each chapter he states the challenges clearly, and his challenge to adults is to be present in boys' lives, to offer them direction, set limits , provide examples, and, more than anything, to give love. Boys need adults to tell them that they don't need to be hard, that it's all right to feel pain and tenderness and grief, that when they need to cry there will be someone to hold them as long as necessary until the hurt is more bearable. Adult men are important, of course, for boys are looking for models of what it means to be a man. But he shows how women have played an important part in his own development, particularly his mother and grandmother, instilling values that he still holds and lives by. Without those real adult models, boys are left to make up the models from the worst of possible sources : the streets, the movies, television, music , advertising. Reaching Up for Manhood is not just a sermon on good behavior and morals. Canada illustrates each point with a story from his own life, mostly from his boyhood. The book becomes part autobiography, part meditation on the present, pa路rt prescription for the future . He tells of his pain at the realization that his father, who left the family when Geoffrey was small, barely recognizes his existence . At the same time he shows the bond between h1m and his older brother as they try in vain to make the best of a junked bicycle that their father almost absent-mindedly gives Geoffrey. With the acceptance that the bicycle is irredeemable comes the recognition that his father's indifference is also inescapable. And in the story is both the lesson of h ow important fathers were to boys of his age, and how poignant the. loss still 1s to the adult Canada, even as h1s own son h onors him. continued on page 14 Voice Male

point, and only then to offer another way _ think it's right that boys are rarely taught to He describes the horror of seeing two talk about the hurt on the outside, and men mainline heroin, oblivious to the of thinking and doing. almost never to talk about the pain on the young boys watching them. He speaks of _ Canada doesn't sp~re himself from inside. I'd tell him it's not always good to criticism, either. In a touching account of his grandparents' great religious faith, just pick yourself up, brush yourself, and not and of his grandmothers sage advice and tending to a boy injured on the playmake a big deal out of it. example concerning work. Some of the ground, he tells how he encourages the child to be "brave," saying to him, "I · Readers looking for policy prescripstories are humorous, such as his tions will be disappointed in this book. attempts to inveigle expensive sneakers · don't want you to be scared. I want you Canada mentions a few, such as focusing from his necessarily frugal mother, and to be a big boy and not be scared, okay?" on work for fathers as well as welfare later, he praises Bobbie for not crying his first encounter with "grinding," a parmothers. But Reaching Up for Manhood is ticularly sexual form of dancing. Others while getting stitches. more a call for involvement than a call are disturbing, sad, scary, including a for action in the political sense. I doubt disastrous attempt by three middle-class black men to become mentors to that Canada is in any way opposed to Geoffreys group of friends . Coming from government programs, but the focus of his book is on 'people. Time and again he outside the ,neighborhood, these wellaskS, in one form or another, Where are meaning men have no idea how their the adults? Who will take responsibility actions are being read by the boys they are trying to help. When they are secrefor these boys? Who will show them a better way? One man is clearly out there tive about a planned camping trip, especially about an initiation ritual in the ' reaching for these children, touching their lives and maybe even keeping them woods, the boys connect their behavior alive. Through his own example, to stories they've heard about men who befriend new prison inmates only to rape Geoffrey Canada is showing that them later. When one of the men involved, caring adults can and do make demonstrates his prowess with a rifle, a difference. But he is also looking for the boys take this as a sign that they are adults who will break the mold. With There are lots of things I would do differat risk of being shot if they try to escape. men like Canada showing a way, there's ently today. I would say to Bobbie, "It's all Violence is averted in the end, but the right to cry. Men cry all the time. If the reason for hope. boys' tenuous trust in th~e three men is stitches hurt and you cry, that's normal." shattered. The lesson is clear. Mentoring After he came back . . . I'd spend time with Michael Dover, chair of the MRC board is not just a matter of showing up and him, helping him deal with his injury, trying of directors, serves on the editorial board of offering to teach. A mentor must be able to see if the scar on the outside had created Voice Male. to see the world from the boys viewa scar on the inside. I would tell him I don't

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Voice Male

By Joe Zoske

Men & Health

Naked Truths: Self-Examination as a Vehicle for Men's Healing like my ''guys body. " I'm even at peace watching the beginnings of Its m1d-life changes. It reminds me of all I've been through, and helps me appreciate both my physical resiliency and my vulnerability But too many men, and even many boys, have a much less friendly relationship. Often they and their bodies coexist uneasily in a detached/split relationship: Ignoring the body's warning signals, but expecting peak performance on command. Pushmg lt to the breaking point, yet avOiding gettmg the help it needs to get back mto working order. Pursuing strength and hardness at the expense of flexibility and vitality. Enduring unreasonable hazards at work. home, and play rather than protecting it. Holding a sense of dread, fatalism , or embarrassment about their bodies in place of positive care-taking. Measuring manhood by a belief m toughness. at the cost of years of lost life . Whether due to upbringing, lack of mformation, m1suse, or abuse, our male bodies have suffered considerably. Yet they remain vital links to the integrated healing of our emotional, social, and spiritual selves. Our collective efforts to improve our hves and our communities as men reqmre self-examination, through personal rd1ectwn, mens groups, literature; counseling, and other avenues. In addition I like to integrate physical selfexamination-not just as a health maintenance skill, but as another vehicle to deeply expl:ore our full maleness. I firmly recommend it as another way of taking time. privately and courageously, to truly look at ourselves: differently, compassionately, With an mtention to care for ourselves, and with an openness to what our bodies need to show and teach us. Whether our healing efforts are directed toward our inner psychological ,world , our outer relationships, or our physical bodies, all areas of our well- . being can be affected . The body presents a useful entry into our personal work,


Voice Male

because it is very real, personal, and with us constantly. It shares our identity, our actions , and is the means by which we interact with life. Our bodies hold vital information (including memories), and have tremendous potential for healing and development. They are also a way for us to celebrate oour masculinity. just as Socrates said that "the unex- · amined life is not worth living," an unexamined body may not live well or long. A good place to start or to improve our efforts is with the following Body Scan self-examination exercise. Body Scan Preparation: • Affirm to yourself that this is a positive, proactive, manly thing to do. • Start a "Body Journal" to write down any physical information, thoughts , questions , or emotions. Use this as a baseline from which to reexamine your body periodically and track changes. • Stand in front of a full-length mirror with good lighting. • Perform it in private to maximize your personal time with your body. Don't hurry Of course, rely on someone else if you require help or desire another opinion. • Progress slowly, from the·top down. This maintains focus, builds skill level, and starts with less threatening body areas. • Relax, breathe, notice everything you can, and hold back your judgmental critical voice (no body's perfect). Fully clothed, begin with your Face/Head. How do you look? Tired, eyes clear, wrinkled, weathered,? Open your mouth, examine your teeth, tongue, and throat. Anything look discolored, red, blotchy, or coated? How's your overall grooming? Remove your shirt and examine your Shoulders/ChesUArms/Hands/Back/Stomach. Check oht your muscle development; look .closely at your skin's condition. Turn sideways. How's your weight, your

posture, and your back? Are there scars, blemishes, or anything out the . ordinary? Remove your pants and look at your Legs/Feet. As above, look at skin, posture, muscle strength, etc. Do you stand evenly? Do you have flat feet? Next , remove your underwear and examine your Hips/Genitals/Buttocks. How do you look? Everything okay? Perform a genital exam and notice any swelling, lumps, or unusual color with the penis, scrotum, and testicles. (Testicular Self-Exam (TSE) instructions are widely available in books and in pamphlets from practitioners and health agencies.) ·Finally, stand back and take an overall Whole Body view What looks okay? What doesn't? Feel it; touch parts you normally don't ; get to know your muscles and skin. Explore basic movement: notice how you breathe; move your arms and shoulders about; squat and stand; do gentle head/neck rolls. Any pain? Any worries? What do you want to change, what do you need to get checked out? Finally ... smile; appreciate your body It's seen a lot of living, and has been your constant companion. Remember: attitudes, feelings, and physical findings can be quite varied, and will change over time. It's common to experience a blend of pride, shame, and worry The goal is to make selfexamination a routine affirming male experience. Most abnormalities you see are not serious, but the ones that ·are can be deadly. Get a prompt medical opinion for anything that bothers you. The point is to -get as comfortable and honest in your relationship with your body as possible and to do the right thing by it. It's said that our bodies are an autobiography of our lives. Learn to read yours well.

joe Zoske is Voice Male Health columnist. 15

By Michael Burke

Book Review

Wounded Boys, Depressed Men I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression, by Terrence Real. New York: Scribner, 1997. Hardcover, 383 pp. ometimes a book that has a personal impact is not easy to write about. For how does one maintain 路 "objectivity," how does one keep a dispassionate tone when considering a book that seems to describe, to narrate, and even to explain major portions of one~ adult life? Terrence Real's I Don't Want to Talk About It is a powerful, emotional, at times disturbing book. A Boston-based psychotherapist, Real argues against traditional psychological notions of depression, offers his own ideas and terminology as an alternative, and shares vignettes from his troubled relationship with his late father, as well as composite sketches of men Real has worked with one-onone, in couples or family counseling, in men~ groups , and at men~ gatherings. It is no exaggeration to say that in the stories of these "covertly depressed" men I saw a reflection of myself, and the struggles of much of my adulthood. I also saw aspects of many men I know: kind men mostly, men of goodwill and benign intentions, but men who often seem adrift within their lives, lost to themselves and their families , in the grip of addictions large and small-at times, emotionally dead. Are all these men depressed? I don't know. In my own case, I believe I suffered from depression for years without knowing it, sometimes aware that something was wrong and at other times suspecting nothing. Even when a counselor identified what I was feeling as "biological depression" (a confusmg phrasewhat other kind could there be?) , I was relieved w know that this mysterious mala1se had a label and a shape, but in doubt about how to proceed with my new knowledge . Because the questions still proliferated: Where had the depression come from and where was it taking me' How could l understand it and defeat it? Would I always have it, or



might I one day shake myself free of it and become "happy"? At the time I was offered two treatments: exercise or medication. Since that time I have tried to maintain a greater level of physical activity, and that has helped. So have meditation, being in a men~ group, talking with friends, writing poetry, and other activities. I am still depressed, most acutely for a day or several days , at other times more low-level, as if seeing everything through a lens tinted slightly gray.' So far I have resisted medication-not out of pride, principle,

or stubbornness, but out of fear. Real suggests another course of action: therapy. Not, he stresses, traditional Freudian psychotherapy, in which the patient bonds with the therapist, who works to "reparent" his damaged ego. Rather, Real, himself a veteran of past battles with "the blackness" of depression, claims to teach the men he works with to reparent themselves and, as he puts it, to "practice relational maturity." Central to Real~ argument is the premise that depression, often characterized as a "woman's disease," actually hits men just as hard and just as frequently, but tends to be hidden from society and from the men themselves because it is

expressed by men in different ways , such as substance abuse, workaholism, violence (domestic and otherwise), and failures in intimacy. "Depressed women," he Writes, "have obvious pain; depressed men often have 'troubles.' It is frequently not they who are in conscious distress so much as the people who live with them." In grappling with the "nature or nurture" question surrounding the origin of depression, Real maintains that it is both biological and psychological: certain people inherit a tendency toward depression that may be exacerbated by trauma , particularly in childhood. Real differentiates between active trauma, meaning a boundary violation of some kind by one~ caregiver, and passive trauma, which refers to physical or emotional neglect or abandonment. Either may be strong enough to trigger depression; there is no hierarchy of the traumatized. Men and women, says Real, tend to express pain differently. Women tend to internalize it, becoming more obviously or overtly depressed, while men tend to externalize it, acting it out on those around them. Thus , he says, "Too often, the wounded boy grows up to become a wounding man, inflicting upon those closest to him the very distress he refuses to acknowledge within himself." Indeed, a traumatized man may come to have "two inner children," according to Real, a "wounded boy" and a "harsh boy": the former a culturally determined "feminine" victim, shamed and lost, the latter a perpetrator, ~ perfectionist "masculine" voice, a "punishing judge. " When our culture teaches boys to repudiate the 'feminine" in themselves, to hold that part of themselves in contempt, it teaches them to split themselves in half Each half takes on an assigned role-roles that look very much like traditional gender stereotypes. The boy learns to go "better than" himself, to bring the dynamic of contempt into his own psyche. The dialogue between those two internalized roles often . becomes the inner discourse we call depression. As anyone who has this dialogue going on in his head knows , it is difficult Voice Male

to tgnore. As a consequence, "covertly depressed" men, in Real's parlance, tum to various addictive defenses to "ward it off," and to suppress the larger life issues it masks. These "grandiose" addictions range from drugs and alcohol abuse to sex and love addictions to overwork, excessive spending or gambling, obsession with money-making or achievement , to any sort of addictive relationship. In Real's view, the "substance" of the addicnon is not important; what is important is that it is an attempt to defend against depression . . This attempt is doomed to failure, and Real believes that the only cure for this hidden, addictive cove rt depression is the onset of overt depression, the classic psychological textbook depression: "profound impairment, utter despair, thorough debilitation." Only by entering the "wasteland" or "inferno" of this more obviously depressed state can a man begin to confront his pain, stop running from it and let his feelings surface. Only then can he begin to do the healing . work that is ne<:;essary. It was at this point in Real's argument that I was unsure . I've not experienced much in the way of "overt" depression-a friend helpfully said , "Maybe you just haven't had it yet"-but I have tried hard to face the behaviors with which I sought to avoid my pain and to endure and surmount the depressed state of mind that is part of my reality, to one degree or another, every day. It's not that I deny Real's claim; just that in my case I can't quite see how a more serious and debilitating depression is either necessary or inevitable for my healing. Nonetheless, Real outlines a threestep program to foster that healing. First, the "addictive defenses ," including even relatively "mild" compulsions, must stop. The affair must end, the booze must dry up, the TV be unpluggedwhatever it takes. Second, the man must confront his relationship to himselflookmg at self-esteem, boundaries, and feelings- so that he can start to develop a new "functional parent" within. Third, the buried early trauma in his life must be allowed to reemerge and, if possible, be released. Real's book shows how men's "loss of Voice Male

the relational" has crippled us, left us wounded and unwhole-and depressed. I come away from it convinced that the insidious disease Real describes has harmed many men and their loved ones. They may not be aware , as for years I was not, that they are depressed, or even that there is any problem to work on, any healing to be done. But as I hope that more men will open up to themselves, those closest to them, and to each other, I also hope that some curious, well-intentioned men will pick up this book. If they see themselves in it, as I

did, I hope they will also find the courage, and receive the support, to begin the work of their own healing.

Michael Burke is a freelance writer and editor, MRC Drop-In Group facilitator, and managing editor of Voice Male.




by jake Stevenson

Notes from Survivors

Walking into a New Room: Multiple Personality Disorder and Multisexuality ost people experience a direct connection between their sexual identity and their sexual behavior; indeed, in our culture we often define who we are by what we do in many different ways, including our sexual practices. Thus, straight men express and validate their sexual identity in part by sleeping with women; gay men by sleeping with men. In either circumstance, the majority of these men both define and confirm their "maleness" in part through their actions and involvement with others . So , too , bisexual men are secure in their sense of a "male" self, perhaps even in a less culturally constrained fashion . A man who finds himself sexually attracted to both women and men simply discovers himself in a position where the arena of his identitys behavioral expression has expanded: it unfolds the potential of more diverse experience, without diminishing or narrowing the recipients of that experience. But what about transsexuals? Here we encounter a situation where the individuals sense of identity is at odds with his biological reality, thereby greatly hindering the self's ability to express its identity in behavioral (including sexual) matters. But it is perhaps significant that a male transsexual understands the dilemma as "''m a woman stuck inside a mans body," rather than ''I'm a man who has a woman stuck inside my body:" This suggests that the difficulties and confusions .{\ transsexuals may experience are not so much related to their sense of identity, but mstead connected to the literal, physical housing of that identity: So, although the anatomical construct of their very bodies may well interfere with a smooth, behavioral expression of their sexual identity, the understanding of the self and its desires remains clear and relatively unconflicted. However, male survivors of abuse who have developed multiple personality disorder (MPD) present an entirely different picture of identity and, consequently, se~ality: When the reality of a




singular consciousness is utterly absent, the standard model of an omnipresent self must be replaced with a far different template of organization. Having a multiple system of consciousness means dealing with "selves" rather than "selÂŁ''-and not all of these entities are so accommodating as to be available or present at any given moment, or even necessarily aware of one another's mutual participation in the same psychic landscape. And when we realize that those entities do not experience themselves as sexually identical-in the sense of either self or behavior-we are confronted by a very dramatic example of the extreme potential fluidity of huinan sexuality. Over the past several years it has been my honor and pleasure to meet many men and women who are multiple. This is not because I hold any professional standing in the psychological community, but because I'm a man diagnosed with MPD myself. I've communicated with 18 men who are so diagnosed, and close to 70 multiple women. The subject of our sexuality, and the question of our sexual identity, is a topic which frequently arises , and has led to many lengthy conversations and more than a few good belly laughs. But perhaps most tellingly, we wonder how and why it is that there is so little information available on this topic within the professional community. In fact , I have yet to meet a multiple person whose therapist has ever dealt with multisexuality, or a therapist who is even aware of any literature on the subject. This is odd to the point of being startling, especially when one considers that MPDs are alm9st invariably the victims of chronic and savage sexual abu:;e themselves: How might anyone understand, let alone recommend treatment, for any survivor of sexual abuse, multiple or not, without attending to that victims own sexual identity, orientation(s), issues, difficulties, and hopes? How may we as multiple people fully heal and move on into our futures when some-

thing as basic and profound as our sexuality and its healthful expression remains a puzzle that is hidden, unaddressed, unrecognized? Every multiple person I've encountered contains both male and female ¡entities within their specific existence. (A therapist I know is aware of one female multiple who reports her various selves as gender consistent.) And those entities-or alters, as they are more commonly called-not only possess discrete sexual identities, but particular and differing sexual orientations from one another. which obviously means that the expression of their sexuality (behavior) generates a cornucopia of conflict and confusion for the specific alter, the multiple . system in sum, and other, external folks who come to be involved with them. A male multiple whose system includes a female alter named "Clarissa" does not understand himself, or that part of himself, as representing a woman trapped inside a male body: The body itself is seen as , and felt as, that of a woman. But there is conflict, because just as Clarissa exists in current time m what she subjectively experiences as a woman's body, she and the other alters also recognize that her physical body seems to be male. But this is understood more as a curiosity than as an insurmountable problem-many multiples m such circumstances simply assume that . the body is merely a bit slower than the soul, needing more time (and patience) to "catch up" with the psyche's genderbending transforination. While that may sound. contrad~<::tory, it is not. It is an enormous paradox, though. and begins to hint at how perplexing multisexuality can be. And it gets even more complex rather quickly. What if Clarissa. the female alter who lives in a body that is simultaneously male and female. identifies herself as a lesbtan? But ''Oscar" (another alter con. tained withm the same host) 1dennfies as being a gay man in a man's body, and right now he's having sex with a male lover. Then a switch of conscwusness ::::N' Male

norm, and thus the best of options, being woman, and a straight woman all funcand identity occurs, and Clarissa is then gay, bi, trans-G , or trans-S becomes at tioning in unity, all with equal claims to in the position of-what? Can Clarissa best an inferior position, at worst an evil understand that the man she finds herself possession of the body, and all equally and willful .perversity. People who are deserving of existence and respect within having sex with is homosexual? No . She MPD are generally thought , certainly on contemporary reality. How would one misunderstands him as being heterothe lay level, to be not just "crazy," but describe the sexuality of such a unique sexual, by his behavior and her identity. truly insane in the worst possible way. amalgamation? (Scrambling through the She is further likely to consider the When our sexuality is considered at all, it dictionary will not help much, in this episode at least invasive, and possibly case*) is invariably in the most negative light: rape-because she would never be interwe must be rapists, perverts, perpetrators. ested, herself, in having sex with a man Now imagine yourself as a multiple In other words, it can be flat-out danunder any circumstances. And the poor person with, perhaps, ten alters in your gerous to answer these questions. But consciousness, each with its own special guy shes in bed with-you think he questions are the natural, exciting, and knows what the hell's going on? and deserving sexual identity and preferbeautiful engines of thought, of learning, Nor are the living circumstances of a ences. Are you getting dizzy yet? Cit may of exploration. What is behind that door? be callous of me to say it, but I hope so.) multiple even binary, simply switching I don't know We may try to explore back and forth between two genders with So: slow down, take some deep together, knowing full well that what I'll their particl.)lar sexual tastes. The particibreaths, relax. Take some time to ponder · see in the new room unveiled to us will pating alters within a multiple system of the ramifications of being MPD; a few conciousness also differ by age-a typical seconds more to consider what it might not be what you see. If we must be frightage span of entities for a male MPD is be like to try to grasp your own identity ened by discovery, lets at least share that: likely to range all the way from a threenot always but often, a shared fear turns and behavior when those terms are writyear-old boy to a seventy-year-old ten in smoke and there's a stiff wind into a common exultation. woman. (This is the established, demonI've tried to introduce a new area of blowing. Consider a few personal quesstrated pattern within the recovery tions: Are you straight? Are you gay? Are thought in this article by suggesting that process for a man who has been diagyou bi? Are you transgendered? Are you multisexuality as evident in people with nosed and begun treatment in his forties.) transsexual? Are you male? Are you MPD is an issue long overdue for discusFurther, there are many common misunfemale? Are you all of the above? How do sion. I know that this issue is difficult, derstandings about how the various paryou express the above? Are you confusing, and sometimes painful. But it ticipating members of a multiple conwondering? may also l;:>e true that through the pain sciousness interact with each other, when These questions may be simple-for winks a ray of light, leading into a darkthey interact at all; but when aware of most people. They are not simple for ened room, the door of which has just one another, the alters construct liaisons, multiples (and they are virtually incombeen cracked ajar. relationships, dislikes, and friendships prehensible to me). The questions are Let's see whats in there. among themselves exactly as any group of also unfair-to all people-in at least two *A Survivor's Dictionary, reported on people living in the singleton world do. It ways. page 8, does provide some helpful informais even possible-and hardly rare-for, say, First, in our culture and our times , we tion regarding MPD in a general way. a male alter to be with, and sexutend to respond to questions as though ally attracted to , a female alter housed they were accusations. ("What ~ere you within the same body. Such internal doing last night?" is a good example.) To attractions can exist in every possible per- consider questions with sincerity requires mutation along the sexual spectrum. that we admit we are not in possession of • Tennis slloos • Hikl•l bools Since the "goal" of treatment for MPD the answer, which places us in a position • Aerobic shoa • Aquo IO<U • Tro<k spikes • Ruaoina sllots always involves some form of psychic of vulnerability. Men in particular are • CrOI!S-traioin&shoa integration, the early stages of healing for • Outdoor cr....lrliniJIIoften made to feel as though we carry a a multiple man, evolving in increments, responsibility to possess and provide not .include developing the ability to be cojust an answer, but the answer. Questions conscious; tha~ is, being able to allow two may dazzle us with uncertainty and fear, runner'shop, inc. or more alters to be present in the body placing us in a territory without a map, 114 Main Street Northampton, MA 01~ and the mind at the same time, with no but if we do not know the "answer, " we (413)5.!16-1971 Mon-Sat !0:00a.m-6:00p.m. amnesic barriers separating them from are almost certainly stupid, and possibly one another. So if four alters are present bad or defective to boot. in the body simultaneously, and co-conSecond, culturally we still continue to scious in a fully reciprocal way, that could define sexuality as being a fundamentally mean a straight man , a gay man. a gay moral condition: heterosexuality being the

Voice Male


Living o·n the Gender Frontier By Sam Femiano ender has come into the forefront of our consciousness recently, not only because we are much more aware of gender socialization and its effects on both men and women, but also because the concept itself is being revised. No longer seen as a dichoto~ous, black-or-white reality of masculine or feminine, gender is now more often viewed as a continuum: ~e notion of only two, distinct genders is fast becoming obsolete. Gender and sexuality are also increasingly looked at as related but not equivalent realities. Sexuality refers very specifically to one's biological reality: male or female. Gender, on the other hand, is a social construct, and a person's gender is determined by a number of factors, including body mannerisms and chosen lifestyle. As such, it is subject to the vagaries of changing times. Those who are knowledgeable in anthropology are familiar with the tradition of "third gender" persons, the


berdache, who are part of the cultures· of many Native American peoples. Given these evolving notions and the intersections of gender and sexuality, the issues raised by "Opening the Door to a New Room" become even more complex and the questions asked by the author even more difficult to answer, because one also must ask if they relate to sexuality and sexual orientation, or to gender, or to both simultaneously. Bec~use the author frames these issues in the context of men and women with dissociative identity disorder (DID, the more common clinical name for what the author calls "multiple personality disorder"), it has even more salience. People on the margins of our society often ask the most embarrassing questions about its assumptions. Because they see life differently from the rest of us, they are able to surface the underlying conflicts that the rest of us may overlook, because our lens is one-dimensional.

More than simply raising the therapeutic issue of how one works with people who are multisexual or multigendered, "Opening the Door to a New Room" calls forth the deeper question of how much of our own sexuality, our sexual desires and sexual fears, we suppress or deny. Whether we have DID or not, it is important to work on understanding ourselves in the light of these questions, in part so that we might create a cli.rp.ate, and a society, in which the "other" feels .at home and accepted. As we continue the process of revising long-held notions of gender and sexuality, perhaps it is time to turn for guidance to those who have already experienced life at the blurred frontier of this realm which we are just beginning to explore.

Sam Femiano is a psychotherapist in Northampton, Massachusetts, who specializes in working with male survivors of abuse.


A Supportive Therapy Group for Men Based on Indigenous principles of listening and mutual respect; And the healing power of men coming together to share their experiences. This short-term, 8-week group will provide a safe space to share your experience and learn from others about:

Relationships: lovers and friends dealing with feelings • sexuality family issues • spirituality work/career issues Meeting weekly for 8 Tuesdays 7-9 PM, at Florence Civic Center, 92 Park St. (corner Rt. 9), Florence (about 2 miles from downtown Northampton). Led by Charles Hertan, LICSW. Total cost for 8 weeks: $135. · Limited to 10 participants; please reserve early. Starts on or about Sept. 29, 1998. INFO/Registration: Charles Hertan, 268· 7301.


Vdiee Male

- - -·M EN'S NEWS---

Men·'s Peace Conference Planned he Mens International Peace Exchange (MIPE) has organized a community building conference: "Peace-The Next Generation, " to be held Oct. 30-Nov. 1 at Fellowship Farm, a retreat and conference center outside of Philadelphia. "Our vision is to bring together people, both men and women, from all over the world to share the skills and values they pass on which help men become more peaceful," said Mordecai Jackson, MIPE director. These are people, Jackson believes, whose skills as teachers, facilitators, trainers, mentors and role model are critical to transmitting the values of peace rrom generation to generation. Jackson says a goal of conference is for attendees, the "Peace Makers," to bring home these skills to help men become more peaceful. The Men's International Peace Exchange (MIPE) was founded in 1991 at the start of the Gulf War began and came from the need of one man to leave a legacy, other than war, for his [then) five year old son. MIPE's vision is to help men in the international community become more peaceful through education, to foster collaboration and cooperation towards that goal through networking and to build a world-wide community of Peace Makers who help men become more peaceful. In November of 1992 MIPE held a weekend workshop/conference: "Uncovering the Source of Conflict". In March of 1993 it began publishing a quarterly newsletter: "The PEACE


EXCHANGE," that now goes to nearly 300 people in some 15 countries plus the U.S. and Canada. Opening speaker at the conference will be Rev. Beki Gamedze, a South African man raised under apartheid, who will describe the legacy of peace he received in his homeland. Workshops expected to be offered include: Reconciliation - A South African Model; Building a Mens Center-The MRC of Western Mass. model; Healing the Impaired Family; Gaining Control of Your Mind Through Meditation; Promoting Coexistence; Lawyering from the heart; Healing the men returning from war; African-Jewish reconciliation; Alternatives to Violence Project; Grass Roots efforts in Bangladesh; Family healing: What single dads are passing on to their children. Other conference activities include a presentation by MIPE Director Jackson, community entertainment, and a plenary session "to define our common threads building community, and action planni~g." The conference closing \Yi,ll feature Victor Lewis, who appears in the gripping documentary film on male racism, The Color of Fear.

For more information about MIPE and/or about the Conference, visit their web site at: _ <http://www.Peace Exchange .org>; contact their via email a~ <>; fax: 610-872-3642; phone: 610-872-8178; or write PO. Box 36, Swarthmore, PA 19081-0036.

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RESOURCES Men's Resources in the Valley & Beyond AIDS CARE/Hampshire County (413) 586-8288 Transportation, support groups and much more free of charge to people living with HIV. The American Cancer Society (413) 734-6000 Prostate support groups, patient support groups, nutritional supplements, dressings and supplies, literature, lowcost housing, and transportation. Children's Aid and Family Service (413) 584-5690 Special needs adoption services. Counseling for individuals, families and children, with a play therapy room for workingwith children. Parent aid program for parents experiencing stress. HIV Testing Hotline (800) 750-2016 GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,

Transgendered) Gounseling & Therapy Referral Service (413) 586-2627-16 Center Street, Northampton, MA 01 060. Free group for people 15 to 20 who are gay, lesbian or questioning their sexual orientation. Meets in Springfield Friday afternoons. The Gay & Bisexual Men's Programs (802) 254-4444 Brattleboro, VT. Weekly/monthly social gatherings & workshops, and volunteer opportunities. Contact Carey Johnson. Hadley Men's Support Group (413) 253-3353. Every Monday night from 79 p.m. Call for details. life Course Counseling Center (413) 253-2822 Individual, couples and group counseling for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. Men's & Women's Divorce/Separation Counseling 路 1413) 253-7918

Men in Relationships a group for nzen in co1n1nitted relationships toward better partnering Sliding Fee Scale. Call for Brochure.

Call Peter Corbett, LMHC, LCSW at (413) 586-4802

Men's Therapy Group (4l3) 586-7454 Reed Schimmelfing, MSW Men in Relationships Group (413) 586-4802 Peter Corbett, LICSW For heterosexual men in committed relationships Sex & love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) (800) 749-6879/(617) 332-1845 Referrals available for 12-step groups throughout New England. The Stonewall Center (413) 545-4824 University of Mass., Amherst. A lesbian, bisexual, gay & transgender educational resource center. Valley Gay Alliance (413) 746-8804 P.O. Box 181, Northampton, MA 01061-0181 . Western Massachusetts' gay social and service organization. 路 Men with Eating Disorders Group to start soon. Call (413) 584-8027.

Internet Resources Men's Resource Center of Western Massachusetts: National Men's Resource Center National calendar of events, directory of men's services and a listing of books for positive change in men's roles and relationships. .The Men's Issues Page: www. 100Biack Men, Prorfeminist men's groups listing: Pro-feminist mailing list:


Readv to <;hange Your Life? Men's Group Therapy Psychotherapy for:


Reed Schimmelfing MSW, LICSW

Couples - Families Individuals

Offices in Northampton

and longmeadow


Individual and group psychotherapy Therapy groups for male survivors ofchildhood abuse 25 MAIN STREET- NORTHAMPTON, MA 01060 413-586-0515



FAX: 413-584-8903



At Home Dads: The Fathers Resource Center: www.slowlane .com/frc National Fatherhood Initiative: The Fatherhood Project: Magazines Achlles Heel (from Great Britain): html XY:men, sex politics (from Australia): xyintro.htm Ending Men's Violence Real Men: The Men's Rape Prevention Project: Quitting Pornography, Men Speak Out: Hill/1139/qu itporn.html



RESOURCES Volunteers Needed


AIDS CAREl Hampshire County (413) 586-82898 Help make life easier and friendlier for our neighbors affected by HIV or AIDS. Men are especially needed. Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Hampshire County (413) 253-2591 Bangs Community Center, Boltwood Walk, Amherst, Massachusetts. MRC Volunteers Wanted Bulk Mailers-several times a year we hold a bulk mail party (2-3 hours) for Valley Men & other cool stuff. Call Steven Jacobsen, 253-9887. Office Staff-2-5 hours a week helping with data entry, copying, answering phones, follow-up phone calls, text entry, runs to the outside world, & more. Call Steven Jacobsen. YEP-Make a difference! We will train adult male volunteers to cofacilitate workshops in area schools on healthy relationship issues. Also, looking for college & high-school aged students to be trained as mentor/advocates for junior high school students. Call Russel Bradbury-carlin. Photographer &/or Videographer-to document and provide publicity photos and videos of our special as well as regular events for publication in Voice Male and other area media outlets ..Contact Steven Jacobsen.

Join us for our free Annual Training for facilitators November- December 1998. For more information Call Support Group Coordinator: Juan Carlos Arean at the MRC

413-253-9887 I


DOUG AREY , LICSW psychotherapy individuals, couples, groups insurance accepted sliding fee scale offices in Northampton and Greenfield

(413) 586-7377 or (413) 774-7998






Robert Mazer psychotherapy for men in transition, men seeking movement in their lives free initial consultation I flexible fees staff member at the Synthesis Center in Amherst


Voice tylale - - - : - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 23

------THANK Y O U - - - - - The Mens Resource Center is truly a community organization. Our programs and services continue to grow in size and scope because many hundreds ofpeople have shared our inspiration and commitment, and contributed their time, services and money toward a vision ofpersonal and social transformation. We are gratified at the outpouring ofyour support. Although the following acknowledgments name only a small portion of our supporters, we hope they give you a sense of being part of a broad-based community of commitment and vision. We are grateful for grants from the Irene and George Davis Foundation, the Town ofAmherst, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, the Haymarket People's Fund, the Threshold Foundation, the Solidago Foundation, the Donor Advised Funds of the Tides Foundation and the Peace Development Fund, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health , the U..S. Department of Justice, and Florence Savings Bank. Tlianks also to Stan Rosenberg, Ellen Story, Steve Kulik and the other legislators from western Massachusetts for their support of ongoing state funding for MRC programs. And thanks to the dozens of contributors and participants who raised almost $3 ,000 in our Fifth Annual Bowl-a-Thon this past spring. A very special thanks to the aozens of men, women. and businesses who have contributed time, money and materials to make the purchase and renovations of the new MRC building possible: Jim Geoffrion,

George Schroder, Bruce Bokor, Nathan McCaskill, Tom Schuyt, Rick Martin, Robert Cummings, Mark Nickerson, Bueno y Sano, Antonio's, Bread & Circus, Subway, The Pub, Aubuchon Hardware, Leader Lumber. We de~y appreciate the generosity of Peter Jessop from Integrity Builders for his skilled coordination of our new building renovations and, for their labor and advice, of Llan Starkweather from Torii Design, John lies from lies and Sons Flooring, Carl Shumway of Shumway and Sons Landscaping, and Keith Winston and Chad Fuller. Ron Basto of Jones Town & Country Realtors and attorney Will Flanders were extremely generous in guiding us through the land of real estate. Thanks for support from the Florence Savings Bank for providing meeting space for the MRC Board of Directors' meetings,

and to Henion Bakery of Amherst for regularly providing baked goods. Thanks to all of our program volunteers: the facilitators of our Support Group Programs, the educators in our Youth Education Programs, the college and high school students in the MARS project, and the men and women who have participated on our Speakers' Bureau. Special thanks to Michael Dover who, in addition to serving as the Chair of the Board, works many hours each week as a volunteer in the office. Finally, we want to express our gratitude to the MRC Board of Directors for the many ongoing volpnteer hours of guidance and support they give to this organization and all who are part of it. And a hearty cheer for all of the MRC staff who give the best of themselves to make this organization what it is.

<ÂŁelehratin~ . Mas<~:uline a workshop with


John Dore

Most males in our culture suffer some form of Role Strain. Although our culture offers us many distractions. the pain down deep persists - a call from the depths of our soul to pay attention to what we have neglected. This workshop is an opportunity to form a strong container of trust and respect so that we can let go of what blocks us and connect with ourselves and each other on a deep level through ritual. myth. poetry. meditative movement and soul-journeys. Sunday, October 25, lOam to Spm $60-$75(sliding scale) to register contact:

The Synthesis Center 27 4 N Pleasant St. Amherst, MA 01002 413-256-0772

PSYCHOTHERAPY GROUP An ongoing group for men and women seeking greater personal awareness,more satisfying relationships, better inter rsonal and communication skills. Jennifer Bryan, Ph.D., CGP

Licensed Psychologist Certified Group Psychotherapist 155 Main Street Northampton, MA 01060 413-582-7002 Group meets Wednesdays, 6:30- 8:00pm. $30.00 per session Initial consultation free of charge


Voice Male

MRC PROGRAMS & SERVICES Support Group Programs · Open Men's Group - 7 - 9 p.m. Sunday evenings at the MRC Amherst office. A facilitated drop-in group for men to talk about their lives and to support ·each other. · Survivors of Childhood Abuse - 7 - 8:30 p.m. Friday evenings at the MRC. Specifically for men who are survivors of any kind of childhood abuse. · Gay, Bisexual, Transgender; & Questioning 7-9 p.m. Monday ev~nings at the MRC. Discussion group on issues of sexual orientation. Fathering Programs A variety of resources are available - lawyer referrals, parenting

guidance, workshops. educational presentations and conferences, as well as grouP, and individual counseling for new and expectant, separated or divorced, gay, step, and other fathers . Youth Education Programs (YEP) · High School Education. Project (HEP): We train adult men to present workshops for area high schools on issues such as sexual harassment, date rape, creating healthy relationships, masculinity and sexism. We also provide ongoing young men's leadership programs and support groups . · Mentor Advocates for Respect and Safety (MARS) : In collaboration ~th the Everywoman's Center we train college and high school males to be mentors to j unior high males with a particular focus on sexual assault prevention education. · Alternatives to Detention: We lead after-school programs for junior htgh school students on respect, violence prevention and healthy relationships. · Men Overcoming Violence (MOVE) MRC state-certified batterer intervention program serves both voluntary and court-mandated men who have been physically violent or verbally/emotionally abusive. Fee subsidies available. • Bas1c Groups Groups for self-referred (20 weeks) and court-

mandated. (40 weeks) men are held in Amherst and Ware. · Follow-up Groups for men who have completed the basic pro-

gram and want to continue in their recovery are ·available in Northampton, Amherst and Belchertown. · Partner Services: Free phone support, resources, referrals and weekly support groups are available for partners of men in the MOVE program. 1 · Prison Groups: A weekly MOVE group is held at the Hampshire County jail and House of Corrections. (See story, page 11) · Teen Groups: A 10 week MOVE group for young men (ages 1419) who have been violent or abusive to others. · Community Education and Training: Workshops and training on domestic violence and clinical issues in batterer intervention are available. . · Speakers' Bureau: Formerly abi,Isive men wfw want to share their experiences with others to help prevent family violence are available ~o 'speak at schools and human service programs. Alternative Families Project A 60-page manual, Children, Lesbians, and Men: Men's Experiences as Known and Anonymous Sperm Donors, which answers the questions men have, with first-person accounts by men and women "who have been there." Resource and Referral Services Information about events, counselors, groups, local, regional and national activities, support programs for men. Our library and resource files are available to all MRC members. Training and Consultation Training and consultation is available to colleges, schools, human servic~ organizations, and businesses on topics such as "Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response;" "Strategies and Skills for Educating Men, " "Building Men's Community," and "Challenging Homophobia, " among other topics. Specific trainings and consultation available. Voice Male Published quarterly, the MRC magazine includes articles, essays, reviews and resources, and services related to men and masculinity.

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CALENDAR September 12, 3-6 pm Men's Resource Center Dedication and Open House Join us for refreshments and music as we celebrate our new building. September 16, 23, 30 MenSing Workshops with Singer/Songwriter Tim Van Ness . Discover the power of your voice. Explore the connection between your feeling and song. Sing like you' ve never sung before. $25 Call 413-587-9699; Septem ber 18-20 Granite Men' s Gathering Semi-annual New Hampshire retreat. Fall theme: ''The Shadow Archetype." For information calll-888-727-6238 September 18-20 Gender-Free Dance Camp Becket, Massachusetts. Sponsored by the Lavender Country & Folk Dancers. Jim LaBonte, 781-642-7544; "September 25-27 COMEGA: Connecticut Men's Gathering Semi-annual event. For information contact Wayne Arey, 860-872-0085; or Ted Gerhardy, 203-458-3903; September 25-27 Western Mountains Men, Fall Weekend Retreat Bryant Pond, ME, 207-665-2284

contmued from page 5

October 2-4 God, Sex & Money Benefit gathering for men with John Lee, Jeffrey Duvall, and Joe Laur. Sponsored by the Mankind Project/New Warrior New England. New Salem, MA. Contact Marty Wells- 413367-2636 October 10 Physical and Emotional Intimacy Among Men Day-long workshop for men of all sexual orientations led by Steven Botkin. Call the MRC 253-9887 October 9-11 Mankind Pr:oject (formerly New Warrior) Training Montreal, Canada. For information - Will Flanders, 413-586-2729 October 16 Batterers' Intervention: Whom do we protect? Whom -do we hold accountable? 路 Conference sponsored by the Family Institute of New Jersey. New Brunswick, NJ. For information - 732-548-0444;

October /6-1 8 Maine Coast Men, Fall Weekend Retreat Lincolnville, ME, 207-236-8141. EMail: October 25 Celebrating M~sculine Soul Day-long workshop for men with John Dote. Call the Synthesis Center-413-256-0772 October 30-November 1 Men's lnternation~I Peace Exchange Conference PEACE - The Next Generation: Creating a Legacy of Peace for Our Children. October 30November 1, Pottstown, PA. For information61 0-872-8178; November 6-8 Jewish Men's Seventh Annual Retreat: The Many Faces of Jewish Masculinity Elat Chayyim Conference and Retreat Center, Accord, N.Y. For information- 800398-2630 November 13-15 Authentic Movement for Men Led by Andrew Gaines and Bill McCully at Earthdance retreat and conference center, 4 13-634-5678;

Making Change Happen in the Courts

So far th1s cooperanve approach Wlthm the structure of the court system seems to be workmg, at least for the men who choose to take advantage of it , and Van Ness would like to see the early intervention strategy expanded to other areas . "This 1s a program that would do really well m Northampton, Greenf1eld Spnngheld," he says. In additwn to h1s work m the courts Van Ness 1s a MOVE staff assonate. workmg with the seven-person MOVE staff. and he also serves as MRC development associate , assistmg Wlth 路 special events , membership. and the MRC$ computer database "I do a lot of detail work," Van Ness says Ongmally from upstate New York, Van Ness earned a degree m music educanon fro m the University of Colorado beiore movmg to western Massachusetts in 1994. In the spring of 1995 he got involved with the MRC , firs.t through the Sunday mght mens


路September 25-27 Mythic Warrior Training: Men's Search for Masculinity and the Sacred First weekend of a 9-month, 9 weekend program led by Sparrow Hart and John Dore. 802387-6624;

Drop-In Group. Then he did a Gentle Warnor retreat. "I just started volunteering [with the MRC] ," he says. "I had made a big change in my life." He began at the MRC in the winter of 1996 as a volunteer, working in the office and answering phones. Subsequently he went thr;ough a state-certified program to learn about batterers' treatment ,' which led to his work with MOVE. Before working with the MRC , Van Ness held a variety of jobs, including working for Interface, a holistic adult education center in Boston; Spice and Grain , a natural foods market in Concord. Mass. and. locally, as produce manager for the Leverett Co-op. Interestingly enough, an Ness also has a long background and deep roots in the theater, having cofounded the 路 Boston Playback Theater in the late eighties, and the Valley Playback Theater in 'Northampton in 1996. Hes

also been involved recently with two other unique theatrical ventures: Dramaworks, founded by MRC member Eric Muten in conjunction with the Family Business Center at UMass, and WOW Theater, an interactive peer education theater for young people whose codirector, Toni Bergins, is Van Ness's life and business partner. These interactive, improvisational theater groups are based on the enactment of personal stories and feelings, Van Ness says, and his work in them actually has a great deal to do with his work for the MRC. "Its sort of walking a line between theater and therapy," he explains. "Like any good theater, it's catharsis." "A lot of what I've been trained to do is listen to people's stories," he continues . "All of the things I do are connected somehow. They have a threadpersonal transformation." Voice Male


A Male Survivor's Dictionary Compiled by Sleven Jacobsen MRC Community Outreach Coordinator wit/7 a foreward by Sam Fern1~1no. Ed.d, T!J.d

A Pobltc.lioo ol


The Men's Re source Center of Western Massachusetts

available through the Men's Resource Center. 236 North Pleasant St., Amherst 253-9887, and at many bookstores.

Voice Male

Take This Quiz: If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions, you may have a problem with abuse. At Men Overcoming Violence, we can help you evaluate your situation. Call us to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our trained staff. We can help.

MOVE Men Overcoming Violence

(413) 253-9588


BACK PAGE MRC "Challenge and Change" â&#x20AC;˘ Awards Go to Gavin Harrison and . Sokhen Mao South African writer and meditation teacher and a Camb.odian high school teacher have been selected as recipients of the Men's Resource Center "Challenge and Change" Award , honoring men who through their lives and work embody the tdeals of positive masculimty that the MRC promotes. This year's awardees are Gavm Harrison of Northampton and Sokhen Mao of Amherst. They will be honored at the MRCs annual Awards Banquet on Sunday, December 6. The event will be held at the Red Bam at Hampshire College from 6 to 9 PM. "We're very excited about this years awardees ," said Michael Dover chair of the MRC Board. "Coming from very different backgrounds and speaking to different communities, both are teachers who mspire similar feelings of respect and admiration for their commitment to understanding and nonviolence. By hononng these men, we ourselves feel honored." . Gavm Hamson IS a teacher of Buddhism and meditation . Born m South Afnca, he was active in the anti-apartheid movement there before errngratmg to the Umted States. Some years ago , he contracted AIDS and has written and spoken extensively about living with the disease. "Gavin has taken his condition beyond survival. beyond coping, to make it a part of his teach-


ing," said Dover. "Talking about his own experience with AIDS enables him to speak about compassion in a way that is truly compelling." A friend describes Harrison as a model for how to live with AIDS, taking responsibility for his medical care, paying attention to his emotional and spiritual heeds , and being completely h.onest about what is happening. Sokhen Mao survived the Cambodian genocide and came to the U.S. in 1982. He.attended the Amherst public schools and the University of Massachusetts, and is currently a bilingual teacher in the Amherst Regional Middle and High Schools. "Sokhen is a peacemaker," said Steven Botkin, MRC Executive Director. "In addition to his teaching work, he is deeply involved in the local Khmer community, respected by the elders and young people alike. He has worked to prevent . domestic violence and served as a translator for the police when they are called to intervene." Mao also gives workshops on Khmer culture at schools and colleges in the region. "He bridges the gap between the generations and also between the Khmers and the larger community," said Botkin. "We're proud of the tradition we've established with this award ," said Rob Okun, MRC Associate Director. "Every year we do this , we're trying to make a statement about who we are and what we stand for. These two men's lives and work add immeasurably to the depth and feeling ofthat statement. " Tickets for the banquet go on sale in October. To reserve tickets early, or for more information, contact the MRC at (413) 253-9887.


236 North Pleasant Sto Amh erst, Mass" 01002

MRC: (4 13) 253-9887 FAX: 253-4801 MOVE: 253-9558 Youth Ed: 253-9887 EMail:

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Voice Male Fall 1998  
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