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The Magazine of The Men’s Resource Center for change

New Visions of Manhood Summer 2005


• Take One


on the

River INSIDE: ■ Tenderness in Prison

■ Pride (Marches) and Prejudice

■ A Brothers’ Story

■ Apple Pie, Love of Country and Fatherhood?

■ Remembering

■ The

Andrea Dworkin

Boston Globe Strikes Out

F rom T he E ditor • V oice M ale 2

A Missed Opportunity: The Globe Strikes Out By Rob Okun


headline in The Boston Globe on Father’s Day, “Daddy, What Did You Do in the Men’s Movement?”, caught my eye with its catchy if cynical play on the phrase, “Daddy, what did you do in the war?” Expectantly, I began reading, eager to see how New England’s largest newspaper would report on the movement that this magazine, and our publisher, the Men’s Resource Center for Change, has been championing for nearly 25 years. What a letdown it turned out to be. The cover story of the Sunday Globe’s “Ideas” section, the piece was written by a Boston writer-editor named Paul Zakrzewski. Inexplicably, instead of shining a spotlight on what is really happening in the many men’s movements active in the United States today, Mr. Zakrzewski recycled outdated information about Robert Bly’s Iron John, which he termed “a cultural exegesis on wounded masculinity”—published a decade and a half ago—along with references to the Promise Keepers, the evangelical Christian group advocating a kinder, gentler patriarchy. A growing number of men in the United States and around the world subscribe to the twin aims of “supporting men” and “challenging violence,” values Voice Male has reported on for two decades. We’ve long followed men walking that talk, chronicling the rise of community-based men’s resource centers in Taos, N.M.; Harlingen, Tex.; Keene, N.H.; Burlington, Vt.; and Worcester, Mass.; the budding Men’s Resource Center of Boston and Boys to Men in Portland, Me.; and the Men’s Initiative for Jane Doe, a project of the statewide Massachusetts coalition of battered women’s shelters and rape crisis centers. None of their rich, inspiring stories were told in the Globe article.

“Instead of shining a spotlight on what is really happening in the many men’s movements active in the U.S. today, the Boston Globe article recycled outdated information about Robert Bly’s Iron John, sprinkled with references to the Promise Keepers.” Absent, too, was any mention of the vibrant collaborations men’s organizations are having with women and women’s organizations. What also might have added some freshness to the article would have been a description of the emergence in the last several years of men’s work on dozens of college and university campuses, where male-run student groups with names like Men Against Violence Against Women and Male Dissent are engaged in taking the journey to healthy manhood on the twin tracks of inner work and outer action. After reading the Globe article, Steven Botkin, director emeritus of the Men’s Resource Center for Change, sent the newspaper a letter to the editor, writing in part: “As someone who has been educating and organizing men for the past 25 years, I continue to be intrigued by how the media has played the ‘men’s movement.’ ” He noted that what he called “media hype about men’s personal growth retreats in the early 1990s made one expression of this movement a highly visible, and often ridiculed, fad. This, however, was, and still is, only a small part of the real story…. While it may not have the media appeal of drumming in the woods, or football stadium gatherings, men for the past three decades, in partnership with women, have been patiently and persistently building a movement.” In New England, the Globe’s primary community of readers, men’s work is alive and well, from the Monadnock

Men’s Resource Center in Keene, N.H., to the Central Massachusetts Men’s Resource Center in Worcester, Mass., and the Lake Champlain Men’s Resource Center in Burlington, Vt.—three organizations that, as it happens, are working with the Men’s Resource Center for Change, and also distributing Voice Male. The men who are part of this growing movement that supports men and challenges violence are also learning to better navigate their own complex, interior lives while finding their voices to challenge the minority of men who perpetrate violence in society. That is a key characteristic distinguishing the older men’s movement the Globe article rehashed from the rich, many-faceted contemporary one Voice Male reports on each issue. Sadly, like many mainstream-media depictions of“the men’s movement,”the Globe article left readers under-served, ill informed, and hungry. Voice Male’s mission will continue to be to make sure its community of readers receives a generous helping of news, opinion, and inspirational reports on the journey to healthy manhood and the evolution of contemporary masculinity.

Voice Male editor Rob Okun, who is also executive director of the Men’s Resource Center for Change, can be reached at

Table of Contents Features Tenderness A Prison Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 By Dwight Harrison and Susannah Sheffer Sexism on the River . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 By Philip Cornall Johnny, Bob and Me: A Brothers’ Story . . . 12 By Michael Burke Andrea Dworkin, 1946–2005: A Feminist Who Believed in Men . . . . . . . . 16 By Robert Jensen

Columns & Opinion From the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Mail Bonding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Men @ Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Men Overcoming Depression . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Backslide: My Ongoing Struggle with Depression and Suicide By Paul Ehmann Fathering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Apple Pie, Love of Country, and Fatherhood? By Rob Okun OutLines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Pride (Marches) and Prejudice By Carl Erikson GBQ Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Notes from Survivors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Choosing the Right Therapist: A Guide for Survivors By Charlie Hertan Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Thank You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 MRC Programs & Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Voice Male is published quarterly by the Men’s

Henry O’Roark South Hadley, Mass.

We Want to Hear from You! Write us! Please send typewritten, double-spaced letters to:

V oice M ale

MRC 236 N orth P leasant S t . A mherst , MA 01002 or Fax (413) 253-4801 Please include address and phone. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.

Deadline for Fall issue: August 31, 2005 it addressed—domestic violence, men’s responsibility,womenasvictims—havealso been examined repeatedly in Voice Male and are admittedly highly charged. Hence Rob Okun’s column in the spring issue discussing the ad and the responses to it. On reflection, perhaps none of us connected with the organization or the magazineshouldhavebeensurprisedattheangry responses. These issues are complex and generate a great deal of emotion, debate, misunderstanding,andindeedpolarization. On the one hand, pro-feminist men’s organizations and their feminist allies often highlightwomen’srightstosafetyandfreedom from fear of violence, some men’s role as perpetrators of such violence, and the effortsofothermenwhoworktochallenge abuse. On the other hand,“fathers’rights” or “men’s rights” groups have tended to emphasize inequities of family court and custody law, the denial of visitation, the issuingofwhattheydescribeastrumped-up restraining orders, and the atmosphere of male-blamingandmen-bashingthatexists insomequartersandkeepsmanymenfeeling defensive—guilty until proven innocent. Sofareffortstosuccessfullybuildabridge betweenthesetwopointsofviewhavefallen short. To be clear: both Voice Male and the Men’s Resource Center for Change are opposedtoallformsofviolenceperpetrated byeithergender,andregardlessofwhether the victims are men, women, or children. Since the MRC is a men’s organization and Voice Male is a magazine of men’s issues, we have a particular focus both on men continued on page 4

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The Editors respond: The“Valentine’s Day Message from Men of Heart,”signedby155menandpublishedin the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, was an antiviolence effort on the part of the Men’s Resource Center and was not directly connectedtothismagazine.However,theissues

M ail B onding


Resource Center for Change, 236 North Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002. It is mailed to donors and subscribers in the U.S., Canada, and overseas and distributed at select locations around New England. The opinions expressed in VOICE MALE may not represent the views of all staff, board, volunteers, or members of the Men’s Resource Center for Change. The editors welcome letters, articles, news items, articleideasandqueries,andinformationaboutevents ofinterest.Weencourageunsolicitedmanuscripts,but cannotberesponsiblefortheirloss.Manuscriptssent through the mail will be responded to and returned if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped return envelope. Send articles and queries to Editors,VOICE MALE, 236 N. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002, or e-mail to Subscriptions: Call (413) 253-9887, ext. 16, or go towww.mensresourcecenter.organdfollowthelinksto subscribe to VOICE MALE. Advertising: For VOICE MALE advertising rates and deadlines, call (413) 253-2887, ext. 20.

Valentine’s Day Ad Massacre? Why were you surprised at men’s “fire storm of protest” to the Men’s Resource Center’sValentine’s Day ad (see“From the Editor: Can We Find Common Ground?” by Rob Okun, Voice Male Spring 2005)? Instead of denouncing all domestic violence, the ad takes a side, the side of female victims. (The small reference to male victims didn’t really balance the message, did it?) That’s fine if this highly charged political position serves your fund-raising purposes. But surely you realize the letters and e-mails you received are just the tip of the iceberg. Many, many men here in the Pioneer Valley don’t believe the MRC is really there to “support men” as its mission statement reads. No doubt these men saw the ad’s provocative, blaming (“a masculine culture of violence”) message and asked themselves “If these are my friends, who needs enemies?” That is sad. As someone who benefited greatly from attending the MRC’s Friday night support group (for male survivors of childhood abuse, trauma or neglect) for over a year, I wish the organization’s political agenda weren’t so much at odds with attracting more men eager to tell their stories in a safe place. Because of the ad, how many stories of hurt and heartache will never be heard by the MRC’s fine staff of volunteer facilitators and other supportive men in the groups? If you’re sincerely looking for common ground and dialogue about domestic violence, you may want to rethink exactly how and when you choose to challenge other men. As the most visible men’s organization in the valley, you owe it to the men out there who may be ready to change their ways with some real support and dialogue, but who smell judgment and diatribe a mile away.


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as victims of violence (the MRC’s support groups for male survivors of childhood abuse, trauma, and neglect mentioned by the author of this letter, and Voice Male’s “Notes from Survivors”column, for example)andonmenasperpetratorsofviolence (the MOVE batterers’treatment program, now called Moving Forward, and such articles as “Sports (Violence) Illustrated” and“Will I Ever Be Forgiven?: Dealing with the Consequences of a DomesticViolence Conviction,” Voice Male Spring 2005). We believe that part of the work of growing a healthy, responsible men’s movement that truly supports all men and also acknowledgesandchallengessomemen’s violentbehaviorwillbeaboutbuildingsuch bridges, and we expect both the Men’s Resource Center for Change and Voice Male to play important roles in that effort.

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An Open Letter to Robert Jensen Editor’s Note: Voice Male contributing writer Haji Shearer wrote to fellow contributorRobertJensenafterreadingJensen’s article on pornography in the last issue. He shared his letter with the editors who are pleased to share it with you.


Dear Robert, I had to write you with admiration and support for your fantastic article “Pimps and Johns: Pornography and Men’s Choices” (Voice Male Spring 2005). You articulated many of my own feelings about pornography and the increasing normalization of the product. You have emboldened me to take your points and share them more enthusiastically with the men I work with. Just as slavery harmed the slave owners as well as the slave (albeit to a lesser degree), pornography harms the consumer as well as the participant and pimp. I had never considered the analogy of publishers as pimps and consumers as johns before, but I believe it is valid. The participants are clearly prostituting themselves. And I believe you were wise to allow women to address the female performers and to speak primarily to men. While I support your premise 100 percent, I did want to nitpick one point. Because you choose only two of the

infinite number of ways out of pornography, it seems to prioritize them as the most important. In that light, I would argue that for most men feminism is not as important a path out of pornography as is healthy manhood. Healthy men are not consumers or purveyors of pornography. By holding men to the high standards of true manhood rather than the exploitative plateaus of patriarchal capitalism, we can inspire them to walk away from toxic relationships of all manner. For some men, it may not motivate their self-interest as much to see feminism as one of the two most important avenues out of this particular illness. Your article inspires me to become more involved in anti-porn agitation, helping men to plant the seeds of healthier habits in regard to our total sexuality, and I thank you for that. I also came across an article you wrote called “White Privilege Shapes the U.S.” [first published in the Baltimore Sun, July 19, 1998, available at freelance/whiteprivilege.htm] and again agree with and appreciate your sentiments. In working with mostly men of color, I make the analogy that giving up male privilege in our interpersonal (and other) relationships is akin to affirmative action in society. Since most of the men I work with fully understand the need for affirmative action in the workplace, it’s a great opening to get them thinking more about unearned patriarchal privilege. Thanks again. Haji Shearer Fathers Program Director Family Nurturing Center Dorchester, Mass.

A Circle of Men on Cape Cod? I have been a subscriber to Voice Male for several years, and I love reading the magazine and also learning about the MRC’s new and upcoming programs through the organization’s e-newsletter. I’m a ManKind Project brother on Cape Cod. I’m also a Big Brother and co-facilitate a youth group at a local UU church. I’ve always wanted to start a “Cape Cod Men’s Circle.” It’s been an ongoing

dream of mine to get a circle started on the Cape—I’m just out on the limb with commitments. However, I’ll keep the intention and visualize this group starting within the next two years or so. I’m also interested in high school and middle school programs focusing on boys becoming men. As a juvenile probation officer, I see the need for mentors BIG TIME. I’m very concerned at what I’m seeing with middle school age boys (and girls). They are experimenting with too many things at such an early age—yikes. Again, great job withVoice Male—keep up the good work. Sean Sheehan West Dennis, Mass.

Men Walking to End Abuse September 29 - October 1

Some of the walkers on the Springfield to Greenfield, Mass. “Men’s Walk to End Abuse.”



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cores of men, women, and young people will walk through three counties in western Massachusetts this fall to promote “harmony in the home” as part of an annual “Men’s Walk to End Abuse.” The walk is designed to raise consciousness and money to prevent domestic violence. “We know that there are many men who abhor violence and who, in particular, want to take a stand against violence in the home,” said walk organizer Michael Dover of the Men’s Resource Center for Change in Amherst, Mass. “The Men’s Walk gives those men—and women and young people who accompany them as allies—a way to literally take steps to say no to violence.” The walk runs from Thursday, September 29, to Saturday, October 1, and marks the third year in a row that the 23-year-old men’s center has sponsored the event to mark October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.“For us, the walk helps to raise awareness that family violence is an issue for men to take leadership in addressing—it’s not just a ‘women’s issue,’” Dover remarked. The walk also raises money to support the MRC’s batterer-intervention program, Moving Forward (formerly called MOVE), which offers men throughout the region a range of tools and strategies to stop abusive behaviors. “This year we’ve decided to donate half of all the funds we raise to five women’s programs working in the Pioneer Valley,” Dover said. “The money will be divided equally among: the YWCA in Springfield; Safe Passage in Northampton; Womanshelter/Compañeras in Holyoke; Everywoman’s Center at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst; and the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition (NELCWIT) in Greenfield.” The walk has been endorsed by the mayors of several western Massachusetts communities, including Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke, Northampton, and Greenfield, and the Select Board in Amherst. Baystate Health System has been a major sponsor. Business underwriters pledge a fixed amount to support the walk and money is also raised from individual walkers soliciting pledges from friends and colleagues, according to Dover. “It’s a great way to make a statement of support for ending family violence, while also providing invaluable assistance to organizations in our community tirelessly working to promote harmony in our families.” Persons interested in learning how they can support the Men’s Walk, either through a financial contribution or by walking, can contact Dover at mdover@ or by calling (413) 253-9887, ext. 33.


letter- writing campaign to the media and local authorities to oppose the showing of “mixed martial arts” matches in Worcester, which while legal in Massachusetts (they’re banned in some states) and regulated by the state boxing commission, have been criticized by some as violent blood sports. Known also as “extreme fighting” or “ultimate fighting” matches, the Gladiator-style fights have been turned away from venues in Boston and Taunton, Mass., though promoter Mike Varner has vowed to use legal means to get them into Boston in the future. Meanwhile, Worcester chief of police Gary Gemme has described the combat as a “sanctioned street fight” that is “very brutal and potentially life-threatening” even as he conceded it was unlikely the show could be stopped. Gemme told CMMRC member Chuck Stuart that he expects this type of fighting to be regulated soon through new legislation. But CMMRC board member Bill Patten commented: “The mission of our Men’s Resource Center is to empower men in healthy ways in their relations to themselves, other men, women, children and their communities. How can we sit back passively and watch our children and their friends soak up these images of publicly sanctioned blood sports? ‘Ultimate fighting’—as the name suggests—appeals to the most bestial, the monster within. Our Men’s Resource Center will never change that reality. But we can, by taking an active role in solidarity together, make it clear that some of us are revolted by this celebration of the bestial.” The matches were held June 17 at the Worcester Palladium.

Alternatives to Violence for Inmates

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he number of incarcerations in federal and state prison systems is at an all-time high. From 1980 to now, the number of prisoners has risen from 500,000 to 2 million in the United States, higher than in any other country, and the costs per prisoner have been estimated as $25,000 to $30,000 annually; to reduce these costs,

some states are cutting their rehabilitation programs. One private group has been trying to pick up the slack. The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), a program begun by Quakers in the 1970s, provides training to prison inmates on how they can deal with conflicts nonviolently. With about a dozen volunteers, an AVP group in western Massachusetts has been delivering more than 1,000 hours of training annually to nearly 150 inmates at a prison in Somers, Connecticut, including weekend workshops in nonviolence training. There are hundreds of other such AVP groups in the United States and other countries. The AVP training format was developed over 25 years ago and has been quite successful; it has been endorsed by many senior prison administrators as well. For more information on how to get involved, either as an outside observer at a workshop or as a trainer, contact Claude Tellier at (413) 256-1721.

Vermont’s New Men’s Center


mongthenewestmen’scenterstoget established in New England is the Lake Champlain Men’s Resource Center in Burlington, Vermont. Since holding its first steering committee meeting and choosing its name and board members in fall of 2004, the LCMRC has incorporated as a non-profit, drafted a mission statement, made a consultation visit to the Men’s Resource Center for Change in Amherst, Mass., and located a permanent free meeting space in Burlington. According to the LCMRC’s Chris Sloane, the new organization is also working with the Sexual Assault Crisis Team of Orange County, Vt., to form three men’s support groups: one for men recovering from childhood abuse, another for men recovering from sexual violence, and a third support group for fathers. The group’s core values statement describes a “male positive” organization that “embraces the inner cycle of men’s work which allows for a man to do his inner healing work and to develop a mature, generative masculinity.” It embraces a pro-feminist perspective on men’s work where “men can work in

unison with women to create the change necessary to achieve social justice and equality and to dismantle the legacy of patriarchal oppression and violence.” Readers interested in learning more aboutVermont’s new men’s center should contact Sloane at

Fathers of Invention

M en @ W ork

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aybe Plato should have said, “Necessity is the father of invention.” Because dads or, in some cases, single men inventing innovative parenting products has become a rising trend. Two dads came up with the idea for Daddy’s Tool Bag, essential training and masculine equipment for the new dad reminiscent of favorite home improvement shows. Other men-invented products include the Baby Shield cover for baby carriers that protects against sun and disease-carrying bugs, invented by a NASA scientist dad, and Baby Banz wraparound sunglasses, invented by a dad in Australia. A new company called Inventive Parent provides these men-invented solutions along with other unique products created by moms and grandparents. For more information, visit

Men’s Center Planted on the Canadian Prairie


new men’s organization has is taking root in Canada: the Men’s Resource Centre of Saskatoon was incorporated on International Women’s Day, March 8, after “an extensive community consultation process that included public meetings and an online survey,” according to spokesman Bruce Wood, who says he has worked “with and for men since 1980 and…supported/helped


he incidence of testicular cancer increased by an average of 60 percent between 1973 and 1997, according to a study of cancer registry data from 21 populations worldwide. SpecialistsfromtheU.S.NationalCancer InstituteinBethesda,Maryland,saidthese apparent increases in testicular cancer “remain unexplained,” but noted that risk factorsmayincludesocioeconomicstatus, maternal smoking, low birth weight and premature birth, and early-life infections. Meanwhile, according to emale, the Australian men’s health e-bulletin, this past April saw the launch in the United Kingdom of the “Keep Your Eye on the Ball”campaign, whose goal is to raise awareness of testicular and prostate cancer among English football fans. The campaign uses a photo of a lumpy soccer ball with the message: “Check your balls for irregular lumps.” Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association in the U.K., said, “We established the campaign in response to a number of players’ discovering that they had testicular cancer. The players are now well enough to continue with their careers, demonstrating how early diagnosis and treatment can lead to full recovery.” For more on the campaign, go to

A Man’s Cup of Tea


e knew that green tea might be good for your prostate (“Green Tea for Your Prostate?” in Men @ Work, Voice Male Winter 2005), but now comes a tea that’s brewed “just for men.” The California-based Republic of Tea has concocted Man Kind Tea, a blend of premium China green tea with wild blueberry bits that’s meant to be prostate-healthy. And the company has joined Lance Armstrong, Arnold Palmer, Major League Baseball, and others in support of the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). The Republic of Tea will contribute 75 cents from every tin of Man Kind Tea sold to the PCF to support prostate cancer research. “Even though prostate cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. and one in six men will develop it, prostate cancer is largely a forgotten disease,” said PCF vice chair and CEO Leslie D. Michelson. “Programs like this one will change that and help us harness more of our society’s resources to defeat this deadly disease.” Both Australian and Italian researchers have found evidence that regular consumption of green tea may help prevent prostate cancer (although the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently demurred). Additionally, both green tea and blueberries contain antioxidants, which help to neutralize free radicals in the bloodstream that have been associated with the development of cancer, heart disease, and the effects of aging. For more information, go to, or


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s a prime example of a men’s center working with feminist allies, or a women’s organization reaching out to a group of like-minded men, consider the recent advent of a “historic partnership” between Safe Passage, a nearly three-decades old organization for battered women based in Northampton, Mass., and the Men’s Resource Center for Change, headquarted in nearby Amherst. Safe Passage executive director Marian Kent announced the alliance at the organization’s June 9 Summer Gala, stating that the two groups were “working intimately together toward truly ending family violence.” “Recognizing that most of the work of each of our organizations has been focused on intervention,” she said, “we plan to focus on prevention together in addition to the crucial services we are already providing. We have drafted a proposal and will be seeking financial support to engage citizens in identifying what strategies will work for specific communities—strategies for engaging people to take a stand against violence. We are truly excited about working closely with our allies and friends at the Men’s Resource Center.” For more information on Safe Passage, visit The Men’s Resource Center for Change is at www.


Working Together: A Men’s Center and a Women’s Organization Make Common Cause

Keep Your Eye on the Ball(s)

create programs for men who have used violence in six different Canadian provinces and in numerous First Nations communities.” For more about the Men’s Resource Centre of Saskatoon, visit


Tenderness: A Prison Story By Dwight Harrison and Susannah Sheffer

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hat does it mean when men get together? Always a hustle and a lie, always a mask for their own selfish desire. That was the knowledge I carried with me in the van on the way to Walpole, and I hung on to it. But what about Sean, what about Seamus, what about Chris or Bobby? These were men who mattered to me now and the mattering was good. Good enough to pry my tightly held cynicism loose. And then there was Jacko. Jacko, the tough queen who accepted himself so fully you couldn’t help accepting him. Jacko, who showed me that things could be a little more complicated than I was used to letting them be. The rumor had swept through 10 Block: “Jacko and his kid are coming down.” His kid? A man in his 40s with a “kid” for sex? I was ready to hate him. And then they put him on my tier and he surprised me—a real, no-bullshit guy, someone I’d have liked if I didn’t know any better. I asked him what he’d done to end up in 10 Block and he said he’d stabbed a guy who called his kid a name. And the other guy was a lot bigger than he was. I tried to put the pieces together. Jacko looked out for this guy Derek. He

Chris Hitchcock

Editors’ Note: Dwight Harrison, the narrator of this account, served nearly 17 years in Massachusetts prisons after being convicted of armed robbery and attempted murder at age 21. He spent several of those years in MCI–Cedar Junction (Walpole), the state’s maximum security prison, and was also transferred for a year to Lewisburg, a federal prison in Pennsylvania. In a Dark Time: A Prisoner’s Struggle for Healing and Change, from which this excerpt is taken, is a memoir of Harrison’s struggle to come to terms with both the harm he suffered and the harm he caused.This passage reflects on the relationships between men in prison.

“Tenderness may be prison’s greatest secret—more hidden even than the brutality. And sometimes even more frightening.” stood up for him, stood up for himself. I always thought guys like Jacko would do anything to get what they wanted and then run the minute loyalty and honor were on the line. But Jacko didn’t run. So—cautiously—I didn’t either. I hung around enough to see what this guy was all about. It turned out Jacko wasn’t only tougher than I expected. He had an even bigger surprise. I saw it when we were back at Walpole together after I returned from Lewisburg. By this time I liked to hang out in his cell while he cooked linguine in his hot pot. We talked about things in an easy way—cards, because Jacko loved to play, or our mothers, because Jacko’s had died when he was young. I told him my mother was there when I was growing up but she wasn’t really there. It was out of my mouth before I realized what it meant: I was letting Jacko matter to me too. Sitting

around waiting for the linguine to cook, I was telling him things. Derek was there too. While Jacko listened to me he was rubbing Derek’s feet, caressing him with a gentle hand, and even as I kept talking a part of me was going holy shit, look at that. Wasn’t he embarrassed? Didn’t he know what shame was? But the thing is, what he was doing wasn’t even shameful. It was kind. It was actually tender. That was what they had, and they let me see it. Two men who were giving something to each other instead of taking, and Jacko so comfortable in his own skin, so ready to let others figure out how to deal with who he was. So I began to figure it out. I put it together with every other new thought blossoming inside my head and I asked myself, what’s the harm here? None that I could see, but I had to be sure. I got Derek alone and asked

him if he really liked what he had going with Jacko. “Yeah,” he said, looking at me straight on. “Me and Jacko are cool. He’s not making me do anything I don’t want to do.” Right. That was the point. I saw it as clearly as I’d ever seen anything. So when Jacko asked me the next day if I’d be their lookout, I took one look at his mischievous grin and said sure. He and Derek hung a sheet over the cell door and I stood at the end of the tier looking out for cops. They had their privacy and even though I got a little jealous sometimes, thinking about how they had each other to turn to while I had only pictures in magazines, I couldn’t help smiling at how far I’d come. Jacko liked men, I liked women. That was just how it was. And I was standing here protecting someone I would once have despised. Protecting him because I could. Because I didn’t need to destroy him anymore. Tenderness may be prison’s greatest secret—more hidden even than the brutality. And sometimes even more frightening. The quiet openness of Jacko’s

hand on Derek’s foot, or my confession to Sean, or Danny’s to me. What an unexpected reprieve it was, each time. It meant the sentence of isolation and shame that the man who raped me had handed down all those years ago didn’t have to be a life sentence. Under that burning sun there might actually be some shade—some place that has not been scarred; some part of me that can still be touched without harm. Born in North Carolina, Dwight Harrison now lives in Massachusetts. Since being releasedfromprison,hehasspokenabouthis experiencestogroupsoflawmakers,universitystudents,andotheraudiences.Susannah Sheffer’s books include A LifeWorth Living and A Sense of Self, and her essays and poemshaveappearedinnumerousmagazines and journals. She writes frequently about prison issues and victims’ issues. This article is excerpted from In a Dark Time: A Prisoner’s Struggle for Healing and Change, by Dwight Harrison and Susannah Sheffer (Stone Lion Press, 2005). Used by permission.

Looking to Connect? Try the MRC’s Drop-in



Open to all men. Tuesdays, 6:45-8:45 PM Council on Aging, 240 Main St. IN AMHERST

Open to all men. Sundays, 7-9 PM at the MRC IN GREENFIELD

Open to all men. Wednesdays, 7-9 PM Network Chiropractic, DHJones Building, Mohawk Trail FOR GAY, BISEXUAL & QUESTIONING MEN

Open to all gay, bisexual, gay-identified F-to-M trans men & men questioning orientation Mondays, 7-9 PM, at the MRC FOR MEN WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED CHILDHOOD NEGLECT AND/OR ABUSE

Open to all men who have experienced any form of childhood neglect and/or abuse (physical, emotional or sexual) Fridays, 7-8:30 PM, at the MRC FACILITATED BY Moving Forward




2005 •


Moving Forward



Taking a Stand Against the “Male Tribal Code”

Sexism on the River By Pip Cornall

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was guiding a group of men on a two-day whitewater rafting trip on the Upper Klamath River near the Oregon border. This wild, isolated section of the Klamath slices through the rugged Cascade Mountains of southern Oregon and northern California. With its unparalleled wilderness beauty and over 30 major rapids including Hell’s Corner Gorge, it is one of the West’s finest class IV–V river trips. My group consisted of 11 men aged 30 to 50. My helper was a competent young guide, E., who had not guided a commercial trip on this river before. I’d kept him close to me as we negotiated the tricky class IV+ rapids in the gorge. We had a very successful run through the gorge and even played a significant part in a rescue involving two other rafts. One of the other boats had flipped and several participants were injured. After the rescue I took several of the injured in my boat and placed two of my strongest paddlers in each of the weaker boats with instructions to “follow my lines” in the gorge. Although I’d had a lot of experience in the gorge and ran it regularly throughout the summer, I was quite tense about the situation. I’d lost four good paddlers and replaced them with two injured passengers. The men I placed in the other rafts had extensive rafting experience, so I told them to steer the boats from the front since the guides were struggling in the bigger water. Consequently we had all experienced the level of bonding that occurs in such dangerous sport activities. I could not have been happier with the performance of the men I’d put in the other boats. They had done well and followed my lines perfectly!

As we drifted on the calm waters leading to our pullout we were happy, tired and content. This was rafting and companionship at its best. At the pullout we transferred the injured paddlers and said goodbye to the other rafts. For them it was mostly easy water for the remainder of their trip. Meanwhile, our group would be meeting our driver to be transported back to the head of Hell’s Corner Gorge, where we would camp for the night. In the morning we would run it again, this time as paddle boats without oar assist. I would be using a guide paddle and would not have as much control in big water, but would have to rely more upon the paddling ability of the crew. This was both a reward and an acknowledgment of their excellent assistance in the gorge. After a short wait we met our driver and began the slow climbing trip back to our campsite. As we prepared the evening meal there was a lot of boisterous boasting and storytelling as the men recaptured the excitement of the gorge. I remember thinking what a great day it was and how much I loved my job as raft guide. After a while I noticed that the men had launched into some serious drinking. As I listened to their joking, it dawned on me that this was a stag trip! They were here to celebrate the impending wedding of one of their members. Soon the evening’s activities became debased and crude. The men passed around pictures of women engaged in degrading sex acts and other sorts of porn. The jokes had a demeaning sexist tone to them. I felt uncomfortable and wanted to remove myself from the group, but was obliged to stay until I had fed them all. Like any group of men, they wanted

to include me in their activities. They kept pouring me drinks and laughingly implied that my “Aussie image” would be compromised if I refused to join them. This was very hard for me. I had got a lot of mileage from my Aussie image; it had opened many doors for me in America. Also I liked the men; we had shared danger together and had been generous in the rescue of the other rafters. Any refusal on my behalf to join would also brand me an outcast, a “wuss.” My heart pounded as I realized I was up against that old male tribal thinking which said, “We’ll accept you, and protect you, but now you must do as we do, you will not go against the traditions, you must follow the rules of the tribe.” I checked in with myself and decided to talk to them. Summoning all my courage, I told them that since I did gender awareness work in the schools and with men in the wider community, I could not condone this behavior. I knew that demeaning sexist behavior ultimately supports sexual assault and other forms of violence against women. I explained how this tore at me, since I liked them as a group and wanted them to enjoy their rafting trip. I suggested they have fun and celebrate the impending marriage without having to demean women. By this time they had downed a number of hard drinks, so my speech appeared futile. Some of them said I was being a spoilsport! Unfortunately E., the young guide, joined in with them, but I could hardly blame him. He had neither the maturity nor the education and understanding to do otherwise; he was just being “one of the boys.” As soon as dinner was over I moved my bedding upriver, out of earshot of the group. I’d rather be among

Hunting for Masculinity

continued on page 22

My friend told me of her experience whilewewerediscussingarecenthate crimeperpetratedbysomeyoungmen in Ashland, Oregon. —Pip Cornall

2005 •

stunned when I saw that each raft had a life-size blow-up doll lashed to its bow. Oars and paddles had been crudely shoved into any orifice and the effect was grotesque. I was in shock. I had hoped the evening’s activities would be forgotten. I normally loved the mornings on the river. It was my quiet time, a time to connect with nature and prepare for the day. I really had no choice: another showdown was imminent. I gathered the men, who were giggling like schoolkids. E. was carried along by their antics and was not much help to me as I made my stand. I asked that they remove the blow-ups and stated again that I was not happy at the disrespect to women. I suggested that these attitudes might be carried over into their marriages. One man argued vehemently against me. He was the Vietnamese son of an American GI. He had in the past led some of the group on trips to Vietnam, where they visited prostitution houses. Last night I’d heard them laughing and boasting about what they’d done to women on their last trip. We faced off. I was alone and some of them were large, strong men. I wondered where this might end. I told them that once again I was compromised. I had to walk my talk on


the bears than be involved with the debauchery, but I had the usual sick feeling in my gut when I heard women being degraded. It reminded me of my youth in rural Australia, when I’d had to choose between supporting women and any aspects associated with the feminine and being included in the dominant male group. When I tried to resist the group I was teased, but if I went along with them I felt dirty and in betrayal of the women I loved. As I sat on my bedroll I felt alone and somber in contrast to the laughter floating up the valley from the “party.” I took a deep breath and tried to let the bad taste leave my body. I rolled back and lay there looking up at the stars, trying to connect with nature and to calm the confusion I felt. Eventually I began to feel grounded again, and fell asleep to the sounds of the river and the animals of the night. I was in camp early the next morning to get a strong brew of coffee going. We had some very serious rapids to run and I did not want any of the group to be hung over. They needed to be fit and alert. The men filtered down to breakfast one by one but surprisingly appeared bright and energetic. These guys were obviously conditioned to solid drinking sessions. After hash browns and pancakes I went down to prepare the rafts. I was

wo white-tailed deer grazed contentedly among the wildflowers in a southern Oregon field. Watching them, my friend breathed deeply, enjoying the serenity of nature’s perfection, her busy mind soothed by their soft brown eyes, their innocence. Her heart opened, her body relaxed. Steady footsteps on the path in front of her interrupted this peaceful moment. Upon seeing the deer, the young man raised his arms, simulating a rifle, and took aim. “Blam!” he shot one, “Blam!” then the other. Lowering his imaginary gun, he continued his hike. My friend observed that the young man now walked more upright, shoulders squared. Clearly he felt stronger and more powerful after his “kill.” Many years ago I could have been that young man. Like him, I was not hunting for food; I was hunting for masculinity within myself—and this, I thought at the time, was a matter of my survival. Re-establishing my masculinity was a task I would need to repeat over and over until I’d gained some awareness as to how I’d been socialized and began to break free. Like him, I’d been unaware of the deep programming of men: To dominate, to kill, is what defines us as real men.

Scott Bauer, USDA ARS,

Courtesy of Pip Cornall



Johnny, Bob and Me: A Brothers’ Story By Michael Burke

Who is our family? How do we define it, and what determines who are its members, its constituent parts?

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“I liked watching The Tonight Show with Bob because it was special; it was something we could enjoy together, our parents were uninterested in it, and I was just becoming old enough to be allowed

Robert R. Rosefield


e spend our lives searching for the answers: searching for love and understanding, for like-minded souls to live with. We try to maintain or resuscitate our ties to the family that bore us, to our ancestors and relations both living and dead, even as we create a new family, possibly an alternative family, out of the disparate elements of friends, lovers, children, coworkers, teammates—and even the surrogate families we concoct from among the athletes, musicians, and actors we see on television or in movies. Whether we find them or they find us, these become our“family,”often without our knowing it, without our realizing or acknowledging just what role they play in our lives. As the last of five children raised in southern California, I grew up in some ways like an only child: all my siblings are at least 10 years older than I, and the oldest was 19 when I was born. The two older ones left for college when I was still a baby; the other two were gone before I hit my teens. My sister Teresa, closest to me in age, remembers taking care of me when I was small. “You were my bud!” she exclaims. I don’t dispute it; but I have no memory of it. The sister I remember was the one who, as a teenager with a car, took me to the movies with her boyfriend, and out for ice cream, and to the high school pool or the beach. I fought with her and always lost; she used to boss me around interminably; and she would have kicked anybody’s ass who messed with me. I missed her when she left home. My brother Robert, on the other hand, is a special case, in every sense. He is 14

to stay up and watch.” years older than I, and was born with impairments both physical and mental. He has cerebral palsy and is prone to epileptic seizures, during which he may grind his teeth or say strange things. His right hand curls forward and down at the wrist, and his legs don’t quite match. Fortunately he’s left-handed, and his left hand was always very strong—I know this from having been seized in its viselike grip pretty regularly. He couldn’t drive, but he rode his bike—which he called Rocinante after Don Quixote’s horse—almost everywhere, and was in great shape as a consequence—in great shape, that is, for a “handicapped” person, as the phrase went then. He also did pretty well for a person with his limitations, holding several jobs—and suffering under bosses who exploited him—even earning an associate’s degree

at the local community college. (He attended a Cal State school for a few years as well, before finally having to drop out.) Robert and I shared a room when I was small, until he too left home to live on his own. He could be kind and generous, patient and funny, and would listen to things my parents didn’t want to hear. He could be frightening, too: he had a terrible temper, and once punched a hole through our bathroom door. (One of my first complete sentences was “Wobet is souting.”) When he and my dad went at it I would run and hide somewhere—it was horrific, like the Clash of the Titans, or the T. rex going up against the Triceratops. It scared me, and I’m sure it contributed to my aversion to conflict and confrontation, which remains to this day.

familiar patter, the cozy way he could still fit into my life. After that, Johnny abruptly retired and withdrew from the public eye. Johnny’s world, his persona and his time now seem increasingly dated, long past—but no one has taken his place, either for me personally or in our culture. Perhaps no one will. Three years after Johnny called it quits, my brother Bob, then living independently in his own apartment, suffered a severe head injury—whether from a bike accident or as the victim of an assault, we never learned—and wound up in the hospital, having lost his memory of the last 20 years or so. (“Why am I not at 7904 Indiana Avenue?” he asked, referring to a home we left in 1969, to a house that’s no longer there.) Today Bob lives in a nursing home, cannot walk and needs help caring for himself, and I don’t know whether he’s heard that Johnny is gone, or whether it registered if he did. He’s not the man he was, by any means: for one thing, in his nearly immobile current state he’s gained a lot of weight, whereas the Bob I knew was a thin, vigorous guy who did walkathons for charity in the summer heat. It’s hard to see him now, when I make the infrequent cross-country trip; my oldest sister, who lives closer and visits him more often, says she cries as soon as she gets out the door of the facility he’s in, and doesn’t pull herself back together until she reaches our parents’ house, several miles across town. Sometimes one of us visits and he doesn’t remember the next day that we were there. His memories are not of today or yesterday, but of the old familiar places of his life in the ’60s and ’70s, when he was out on his own, riding Rocinante or taking the bus downtown, announcing youth league baseball games, following the Dodgers, speaking Spanish, and watching Johnny. He’s still my brother and I still love him, even in his altered circumstances, but it’s those memories of him that I would choose to hold on to as well. Michael Burke is Voice Male’s managing editor.

2005 •

all its little rituals (like my brother’s life), there was also an unpredictability: who knew if maybe Dean Martin would show up drunk? Or Shelley Winters blathering about the good old days in Hollywood when she was sexy and not obese? Or some new comedian we’d never seen before (and didn’t really get)? During high school and college I worked in a restaurant, as a dishwasher, prep cook, and cook, and I would come home after work, tired and covered with grease, make myself an ice cream soda and kick back to watch The Tonight Show. Something about its combination of sameness and difference, ritual and the unexpected, was soothing to me, as were Johnny’s voice and the familiar music, the TV studio backdrop, the latenight ambience. If the “cast” of the show formed a family, then Johnny should have been the father, the leader—except he was more like a wisecracking uncle. Unburdened by the responsibilities of actual parenthood, he just dropped in late at night and made you laugh. He was self-deprecating and Nebraskahumble, but at the same time rich, smooth, well dressed, seemingly at ease in the world of Hollywood and Malibu, and the television world of “beautiful downtown Burbank.” That world was an illusion, but a beautiful, comforting one, a refuge from the stress and strife of reality: Vietnam, gas lines, recessions, the Iran hostage crisis, Reaganomics, the Gulf War. Johnny was an entertainer—“America’s nightlight”— and in real life apparently not quite so smooth or at ease with other people. But on TV, where he reigned as the late-night king for many years, Johnny was a soothing presence, for me and many others. He was, as the saying goes, “like family.” I only vaguely recall seeing the last show in 1992, when Johnny sang duets with Bette Midler and wiped away tears, and the band played “I’ll Be Seeing You in All the Old Familiar Places.” I was the father of a young daughter by then, immersed in parenting, far from California, and struggling with the demands of adulthood: marriage, work, childcare, male isolation, depression, confusion. But I appreciated Johnny’s


Bob—as I usually called him—liked to “teach” me things, and he liked to enlist my aid in his own pursuits. In that sense I guess we had a true brotherly relationship—one based on compulsion and manipulation, as well as occasional incentives. Bob’s greatest joy was baseball, specifically the Dodgers, so of course I was drafted to read to him from the box scores and the list of the day’s probable pitchers. (Bob’s other great joy was learning and practicing his Spanish, so naturally I had to pronounce the Latin players’ names correctly. “Try it again: ‘Loo-EES TEE-ont.’”) He showed me how to keep score, and taught me about the game without our ever playing it together, because he couldn’t. But he could watch, and listen (most games were only on radio in those days), and impart his knowledge to his baby brother. It was Bob who also introduced me to The Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson, whose death earlier this year brought back some of these recollections. Bob was always a creature of ritual: pot of coffee in the morning, the a.m. TV talk shows, the afternoon radio call-in shows, the same local newscast in the evening, from KNBC in Los Angeles. And late at night, like a religion, The Tonight Show, “starring Johnny Carson.” I first remember watching The Tonight Show with Bob on New Year’s Eve, which was always a special show. But then I discovered that it was just as entertaining every weeknight: it was always the same, and always different. It had jokes, comedy skits, music, rising young comedians and established stars who came on and schmoozed and chattered—not to mention the goofy guests, like the lady from the San Diego Zoo and her animals, who could be counted on to crawl on Johnny’s head or poop on his desk, or the Amazing Kreskin, or the bright young boy who’d won the big spelling bee. I liked watchingTheTonight Show with Bob because it was special; it was something we could enjoy together, our parents were uninterested in it, and I was just becoming old enough to be allowed to stay up and watch. And even though there was a sameness to the show, with


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M en O vercoming D epression

Backslide: My Ongoing Struggle with Depression and Suicide


By Paul Ehmann


epression sinks in on a cloud of distraction. Suddenly I’m under the dull throb of a personal suicide watch. Never saw it coming. The doctor, my GP, fidgets on the metal stool in the exam room. “Do you have a plan?” he asks, looking not at me, but at the chart. With a laugh, I reply, “Of course not. Just a thought.” I know my practiced, pat answer will keep me off the flight deck. I play with this disease like a kid with a yo-yo, sometimes wrapped tight around the axle, sometimes spinning lazily at the end of a walk-the-dog. Always going around the world. On March 29 of this year the backslide toward my childhood is complete: I’m 12 again, and Coach, that foul bastard, has got my dick in his mouth. History has dictated my emotionality and the absence of it. Never able to relieve myself of my past, I’ve tried therapy, group counseling, even a week away at an intensive program. Memory is persistent. Silence is deadly. Abuse lasts. Ten years ago, on the sixth anniversary of my sobriety, I sat across the desk from my newest therapist. The four-hour intake included a physical and mental observation. He could have, but didn’t, caress my spirit, which lay gray and wilted on my sleeve. I leaned back in my chair and thought I aced the exam. Again. Honesty is a precious concealed commodity on the personal suicide watch. You can’t give up too much. He was writing. Then he passed the note over the cluttered mahogany desk. It was written on a prescription pad. “What’s this?” I asked. “A script for Buspar (antianxiety) and Serzone (antidepressant).”

“Surviving a suicide attempt is about as embarrassing a predicament as has been invented. A thundering failure. And if you’re fortunate enough, the ultimate grace. ” “What for?” I said. “You have major depression, Paul, and I fear for your life. This will help.” No one ever feared for my life. Even in the darkest days, the days I made light with alcohol and cocaine, the days that swept into nights and binges a week long. The constant refrain, “You’d better slow down, you’re killing yourself,” from my brother, my parents and my wives, did not register as concern. More like nagging. Suicide thoughts are a constant with me, a thread in my spiritual tapestry since the first time I was sexually abused at age six or seven. The notion returned the other day without fanfare on my son’s 26th birthday. That’s a long time. I’ll be 50 soon. Notice the hope? That’s the confusing thing. Makes me believe I’d never actually do it. Off myself, that is. There have been attempts, I’m told. Unconscious efforts to overdose or to wreck the car. A progressive march toward death by alcohol and drugs. A death wish. I minimize the ticker tape thoughts of running into bridge abutments or off the cliffs or into the trees. Normal thinking for me. What’s the harm? I was in my mid-20s when I made

the decision to die. A weeklong drunk full of promises to stop drinking crept up on me while I slept. She was gone. Work, I supposed, or anywhere but next to me. I was asleep on the floor next to our bed. The car, full of scratches from an off-road excursion, was hidden from view in the garage. The loneliness and despair of a remorseful drunk can sometimes be overwhelming. This morning or afternoon, I couldn’t be sure, was particularly bad. This is it, I thought. Don’t make it messy. I was glad we didn’t have guns in the house. An intoxicated person really stands less of a chance in a logical world. Pulling the trigger could be an inexcusable mistake. An act of drunken despondence and no one would know you really weren’t ready. You were just weary. Momentarily empty of hope. So my weapon was a pile of coke. I made the embarrassing phone calls to my sister-in-law and my wife. “I don’t know what’s going to happen,” I cried. There was no overt threat. The implication lost on the ears of the knowing. I paced the house like a father waiting for the delivery of a stillborn. I don’t want to die, I thought, and the pacing grew more frantic, but I’ve already made the phone calls…

2005 •

Paul Ehmann is an essayist and a realtor. He lives in Loudonville, N.Y., with his wife, Diane.


In an instant I emptied the bag on the table. Maybe half an ounce. I just sat there looking at it. All that life ahead and no way to live it. I put on my clothes and my sneakers. I took a pull of vodka and rolled up a bill and snorted the pile as fast as I could. Gagging dry heaves were no deterrent. Then I went for a run. I was not a jogger. My intention was to fulfill the prophecy of a drug overdose, have a simple heart attack and make it neat. The suicide hat trick. A wake filled with “it’s so sad,” “what was he thinking,” and “I told ya so.” Surviving a suicide attempt is about as embarrassing a predicament as has been invented. A thundering failure. And if you’re fortunate enough, the ultimate grace. So the doctor, convinced that I don’t have a plan, suggests I go back to therapy again. I know that the absence of alcohol and drugs in my life is the reason I still have one. The therapist will want me to rehash my past, and then put me on antidepressants. I will resist, insisting on toughing it out. The death wish will whirl and eventually cease. Thought and deed are now rarely contiguous, and I’ll pull out of this depression wondering, What was I thinking? Mostly I’ll keep it to myself. Secrets are still warm and comfortable. I am triggered to relive the crime of sexual abuse with the abruptness of the evening news. Lately it’s been the 24/7 of the Michael Jackson case—and more insidiously, more damaging, the unapologetic, pedophile-shuffling Catholic cardinal from Boston being given the honor of saying high mass for his pope. The lack of compassion glows red, like a grade-school backhand across the face. The memory of my abuse will move quickly out of the physical and lodge deep in the emotional. It’s a crime of time and it lasts a lifetime. Some lifetimes are shorter than others. I’m one of the lucky ones. I just live with the thoughts. The gnawing. Maybe this time I’ll take the meds. Or not.


Andrea Dworkin, 1946–2005

A Feminist Who Believed in Men By Robert Jensen

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“Dworkin wanted to help men claim our humanity, not just for our sake but because she wanted to stop men’s violence against women. And she knew that required men to change, to Ephrat Beloosesky

have lost count of the number of times since her death in April that I have heard feminist writer Andrea Dworkin referred to as a “man-hater.” Of all the lies told about feminists, one that always made me particularly angry and sad is the claim that Dworkin—and by extension, any woman with a similar critique of men’s violence—hated men. Dworkin’s prolific and powerful writings, particularly her critique of pornography, made her a target for some of the ugliest attacks levied against any feminist over the past four decades, and the label “man-hater” was at the center of the campaign to marginalize her and her ideas. I am a man who has read all of Dworkin’s books, and here’s how it looks to me: I don’t think she hated men. I think she loved us. I think Andrea Dworkin loved men because she loved people, and men are people—men are human beings—no matter how hard we sometimes seem to want to prove otherwise by our behavior. Here’s what Dworkin said when she addressed a men’s conference and asked them to work against rape: “I don’t believe rape is inevitable or natural. If I did, I would have no reason to be here. If I did, my political practice would be different than it is. Have you ever wondered why we [women] are not just in armed combat against you? It’s not because there’s a shortage of kitchen knives in this country. It is because we believe in your humanity, against all the evidence.” Dworkin wanted to help men claim our humanity, not just for our sake but because she wanted to stop men’s violence against women. She wanted an end to the harassment, rape, battery, child sexual assault. And she

save ourselves. She challenged men to take that responsibility.”

knew that required men to change, to save ourselves. In that same speech, she challenged men to take that responsibility: “[Women] do not want to do the work of helping you to believe in your humanity. We cannot do it anymore. We have always tried. We have been repaid with systematic exploitation and systematic abuse. You are going to have to do this yourselves from now on and you know it.” Dworkin was called a man-hater not because she hated men but because so many men do not want to face that challenge, so many men will not come to terms with what it will take to end that violence. Dworkin is gone, but her challenge remains, and I would like to restate it for men: Before dismissing her work as man-hating, read her work for what we can learn, not just about the experiences of women but about ourselves. Take up that loving challenge she offered. (See It’s a cliché to say that a powerful writer “changed my life,” but no other phrase captures what Dworkin’s

work has meant to me. I don’t know exactly who I would be today if I had never read—never felt—Dworkin’s passion for justice. I am not sure exactly what I would be doing if I had never come to understand—as she helped me understand—that feminism is not just a movement for the liberation of women but a gift to men. I suppose I would be more of a man, but perhaps I would be less of a human being. Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, a foundingmemberoftheNowarCollective,http://,andamember of the board of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center, http://thirdcoastactivist. org/. He is the co-author of Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality (Routledge) and author of Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (City Lights Books). edu.This article originally appeared in the Houston Chronicle, April 19, 2005, and is used by permission of the author.

Apple Pie, Love of Country, and Fatherhood? “Being a father is one of the greatest joys of I’ve ever known.” “Too many fathers are totally absent from their kids’ lives.” “I know so many dads who are loving and caring.” “Fathers can’t be counted on.” “Fathers sacrifice so much for their families.”


continued on page 26

Celebrating Fathers and Father Figures


e celebrate fathers, stepdads, and all father figures who work hard, and strive to promote respect and harmony in their families, and demonstrate great love for their children. We celebrate fathers who actively engage in raising their children and do their share of family chores, showing that it takes everybody’s hard work to make a home. We celebrate fathers who love and respect their partners and strive to work honestly to maintain equality in their relationships. We celebrate fathers who make the difficult choices involved in balancing family and career, ensuring they make time for their children. We celebrate fathers who encourage their children to feel good about themselves, promoting understanding and respect between boys and girls. We celebrate fathers who challenge prejudice that demeans not just their sons and daughters but everyone else’s, too. We celebrate fathers who advance the idea that peace and harmony in the home are preconditions for peace and harmony in the world. We celebrate fathers who place their children’s need for love, safety, and support first, whether they see them each day or some days. Children thrive when they are cared for by devoted, involved parents— it’s love that makes a family. Let’s celebrate that fact not just on Father’s or Mother’s Day but every day. (Text of the ad that ran in the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, June 17, 2005.)

2005 •

one of my daughters was turning 13 and her emotional growing pains were excruciating—and not just for her. She became uncommunicative, and I remember feeling lost as she withdrew from me for a while. It meant a lot to me at the time knowing I had the nonjudgmental support and counsel of other men, fathers all. Beyond those difficult fatherhood passages, I know there are countless fathers—and other men—walking around all the time feeling judged, bracing themselves for criticism, expecting to be called on the carpet for falling short as a parent, son, husband, partner, brother, uncle, friend. And not enough of us talk about the pressure and the aloneness that explicit or implied questioning evokes in us. I know my experience with a daughter becoming a teenager would have been that much more difficult if it hadn’t been for the group of men to whom I turned. The bitter truth is that the “expecting the worst” dread that hovers over a big part of contemporary fatherhood often overshadows our hopes and dreams, our sense of possibility and potential. Whether the road many of us traveled with our own fathers was rocky or smooth, a sense of loss or abandonment often looms just around the bend. It’s part of the uneasy sadness many fathers feel. And it is also what clouds our thoughts and actions when the going gets tough. Too many of us carry that burden alone. I can’t underscore enough the suggestion that fathers find other dads to talk to. We don’t connect the same way mothers do, and society doesn’t assist us to create conditions that work for men. But that doesn’t take us off the hook from trying to figure


hat do we think about fathers? Opinions vary: from loathed to loved, reviled to respected. Nowadays, society is holding fathers to a higher standard than ever, expecting male parents to regularly “do the right thing”—to be accountable, to follow through responsibly as fully involved dads raising their children. But for many men such a high standard comes with a cost. While feelings about mothers and motherhood have evolved in recent years to reflect women’s important roles outside of the home, female parents still maintain a respected place in U.S. society, right up there with apple pie and love of country. Fathers, however, are more vulnerable. Many feel an underlying tension, a sense of being questioned: “Are you going to come through, be reliable, or are you going to flake out on your family?” This past Father’s Day, Voice Male’s publisher, the Men’s Resource Center for Change, coordinated a newspaper signature ad published in the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, a daily with a circulation approaching 100,000. More than 150 men and women endorsed its message, under the headline “Celebrating Fathers and Father Figures.” (See sidebar for the full text of the ad.) As admirable as the ad’s message is, some who were considering endorsing it told me they felt it put too much pressure on fathers, suggesting dads might read it not as a goal to strive for but as a job description to which it would be impossible to measure up. I understand. Some of us have felt at times that fathering is too challenging a role, one for which we’ve never had adequate training. I remember when

F athering

By Rob Okun


Flaunting Bodies or Celebrating Community?

Pride (Marches) and Prejudice

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ay Pride Marches fill May and June around the U.S. I’m ambivalent about them, particularly when media coverage dwells on the things I don’t like. Instead of making me proud as a gay man, they drive me into my journal to explore my connection with “gay” and “gay community.” They cause me to ask a number of questions to which I don’t have adequate answers. Here are a few: Should we focus public attention on our differences—our extreme differences? Are they that crucial to us? If they aren’t crucial to us, why are we flaunting them in the public’s face? Isn’t a large chunk of me just like everybody else? I worry about paying bills, keeping my job, selling my artwork, getting my books published, navigating my social life, figuring out how to be a good father to my grown kids…is that any different from my next-door neighbors? And what about the “gay community” thing? From my experience and the comments of many other gay men, the publicly visible gay community—the one on display in Pride Marches—is often a pretty ugly scene, incredibly shallow and vindictive. A lot of gay men act just like fourth graders: taunting others for their clothes, for wearing glasses, and for (me) not being able to hit a baseball. Fortunately, a lot of gay men are real people; it just takes time and effort to find them. Unfortunately, the public doesn’t see them and their kindness, intelligence, and creativity out on the streets. Where are they hiding? How could they “demonstrate” their/my qualities in a parade? Or maybe the Pride March isn’t about “gay community” but something else. Like what? Like a statement of our numbers and therefore a statement of our


O utlines • G ay & B isexual V oices

By Carl Erikson

power for political reasons; to protect the safety of and respect for gay men and lesbians; to tell the public that we recognize who we are and that there are enough of us to protect ourselves physically if we have to; like a statement to the fearful and trapped that life can be lived in ways different from what society demands and expects—maybe this (“gay”) is not for you, but you can make a life on your own terms and neither you nor the world will blow up or collapse; like a statement to the closeted and questioning that gay is okay, that you can be gay in any kind of body you have, in any kind of job you do, in any kind of things you do. The “proper people” complain about Pride Marches and all our efforts to be honest and be safe: “You’re forcing a ‘gay agenda’ on the world, and on me in particular,” they say. But I’ve yet to see or hear any gay person knocking on doors to convert anyone to a gay sexual identity, and I’ve never heard a gay person tell someone that he or she ought to have gay sex in order to be respected or saved or to live a life of his or her choice. The only gay agenda I’ve ever heard or seen is our desire to be safe and respected, to be free to live our choices respectfully and fully in our own lives and homes. All well and good, but I still don’t like the sex and anarchy messages Pride Marches so often deliver, which are enhanced by the three-second media sound bite treatment. This isn’t me; this isn’t what I want to tell the public about me. I don’t think it’s what many gays and lesbians want to present to the public either. How do I tell the public that I’m an intelligent, compassionate man who pays his taxes, causes little harm to anyone, drives safely, keeps several organizations financially

organized, brings great beauty to people interested in his art, and treats chocolate with the obsession it deserves? I don’t have a clue. So, what do I do about Pride Marches? Sabotage them, agitate to ban them? Give my money and time to plan and support them? Yes, I could tolerate them and ignore them, but this feels like a copout. Whether I like it or not, Pride Marches affect my life—distantly maybe, but concretely. I have to conclude that the statements Pride Marches make are too important for me and for lots of unknown people in this society to be ended, wiped out of our society. Maybe, like democracy, Pride Marches are a bad system but the best available to deliver the messages and opportunities many people need to hear and have. Maybe I just have to hope that, long after the parade passes by, its anarchy and raunch will fade from a viewer’s mind, that he or she will give honest thought to people who are gay and lesbian and figure out that the lives of the viewer and the gay person have a lot in common. Seems a mighty slim hope in the midst of all the naked and near-naked bodies and circuslike atmosphere of a march. Do I trust that most Pride March viewers will make that kind of effort? Ten percent of them? One of them? I’m sure of the one, but that makes it a very long time before Pride Marches become unnecessary. Maybe I can hope for a dozen; that will speed things up. A frequent contributor to Voice Male, Carl Erikson is a textile artist and writer, and former director of operations for the Men’s Resource Center for Change, where he is a volunteer support group facilitator for the MRC’s Gay/Bisexual/Questioning men’s group.

For more info or to submit new entries for GBQ Resources contact us at (413) 253-9887 Ext. 10 or

AIDS Project of Southern Vermont Contact: (802) 254-4444. Free, confidential HIV/AIDS services, including support, prevention counseling and volunteer opportunities. Continuum Support group for the gender variant/ transgender community. Goal: to provide support/ resources to individuals dealing with gender, and to provide a space where medical transition is not central. Meetings: third Tuesday of the month, at PrideZone in Northampton, from 7 - 9 p.m. For more information/directions contact Zane Barlow at (413) 221-5769 or email East Coast Female-to-Male Group Contact: Bet Powers (413) 584-7616, P.O. Box 60585 Florence Station, Northampton MA 01062, Peer support group for all female-to-male transgendered, crossdressers, transsexuals, or partners and significant others. Meetings 2nd Sundays inNorthampton, 3-6 p.m. Free Boyz Northampton Social/support meetings for people labeled female at birth who feel that’s not an accurate description of who they are. Meet 1st and 3rd Mondays, 7 p.m. at Third Wave Feminist Booksellers, 42 Green Street, Northampton. Gay, Bisexual & Questioning Men’s Support Group Free, drop-in, peer-facilitated. Monday, 7-9 p.m. Men’s Resource Center, 236 No. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA. or information: Allan Arnaboldi, (413) 253-9887, ext. 10. Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Support, shelter, advocacy and referral services for male victims of domestic violence. Contact: (800) 832-1901. Offices in eastern and western Mass.

GLASS (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Society) GLBT Youth Group of Franklin County Meets every Wednesday evening in Greenfield. Info: (413) 774-7028. HIV Testing Online: (800) 750-2016. Men’s Health Project Contact: Hutson Innis (413) 747-5144. Education, prevention services, and counseling for men’s health issues, especially HIV/AIDS. Springfield, Northampton, Greenfield. Tapestry Health Services. Monadnock Gay Men or e-mail PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) PFLAG-Pioneer Valley. Movie and pizza night, groups for parents and transgendered people. Contact: Jane Harris, pflagpv@, (413) 625-6636. Help Line: (413) 625-6636. Speakers Bureau: (978) 562-4176. Pride Zone - GLBT Youth Group of the Pioneer Valley Meetings every Thursday at Pride Zone Center, 34 Maplewood Shops, Northampton. Socializing, discussions, and games. Open for evening drop-ins Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday. (413) 584-1116. SafeSpace SafeSpace provides information, support, referrals, and advocacy to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) survivors of

violence and offers education and outreach programs in the wider community. P.O. Box 158, Burlington, VT 05402. Phone: 1-802-863-0003; toll-free 1-866-869-7341. Fax: 1-802-863-0004. Email: Website: The Stonewall Center University of Mass., Amherst. A lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender educational resource center. Contact: (413) 545-4824, Straight Spouse Network Monthly support group meets in Northampton, MA, the first Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. For spouses, past and present, of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered partners. Contact: Jane Harris for support and location, (413) 625-6636; Confidentiality is assured. The Sunshine Club Support and educational activities for transgendered persons. Info: (413) 586-5004. P.O. Box 564, Hadley, MA 01305. T.H.E. Men’s Program (Total HIV Education) Contact: Glen Johnson (802) 254-4444, Brattleboro, VT Weekly/monthly social gatherings, workshops, and volunteer opportunities. Valuable Families Gatherings and newsletter for everyone who supports, cherishes, and respects our lesbian, gay, and bisexual families of origin and of choice. Info: (413) 774-2558; P.O. Box 60634, Florence, MA 01061; Venture Out Organized activities, usually of the outdoors variety, for gays and lesbians. Contact: Elizabeth Wilbranks (413) 527-6582; P.O. Box 60271, Florence, MA 01062.

GBQ Men GBQ Men Are Welcome at All Men’s Resource Center Support Groups (Not just Monday nights)

2005 •

For information about Schmoozefest activities or other MRC support programs contact Allan Arnaboldi at (413) 253-9887 Ext. 10 or


GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England’s leading legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity and expression. Contact: 30 Winter St., Suite 800, Boston, MA 02108. Tel: (617) 426-1350,

Fax: (617) 426-3594,, Legal Information Hotline: (800) 455-GLAD (4523). GLAD’s Legal Information Hotline is completely confidential. Trained volunteers work one-on-one with callers to provide legal information, support and referrals within New England.Weekday afternoons, 1:30-4:30; English and Spanish.

GBQ R esources

AIDS CARE/Hampshire County Contact: (413) 586-8288. Buddy Program, transportation, support groups and much more free of charge to people living with HIV.


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Choosing the Right Therapist By Charlie Hertan


ack,” a white man in his early 30s, was living on the edge. He knew he needed help. Uncontrolled rage came over him out of nowhere, triggered by little things—the kids arguing, a careless driver. On bad days— and there were many—he had images of putting his head through a wall. Jack entered therapy at an outpatient clinic. He was assigned to a female therapist who seemed nervous and made him uncomfortable. She talked about his “depression” and “family dynamics” and discussed medication. After three sessions, Jack stopped coming to therapy, but fortunately called the clinic director and requested a transfer. After doing a thorough assessment, the new therapist focused attention on the horrendous, sadistic physical abuse and mental cruelty Jack had suffered at the hands of his father. The confidence of the new therapist, as well as his good listening skills and optimism, made Jack feel more at ease. He stuck with therapy and is starting to feel more in control and hopeful in his life. Choosing the right therapist has much in common with choosing the right doctor; but the unique issues faced by male survivors of childhood abuse, cruelty and/or neglect require special qualities in the therapist, and in the nature of the therapeutic relationship, to facilitate profound healing. Lingering social stereotypes that define men as the “perpetrators” of abuse and women as the “victims” also make many therapists uncomfortable working with male trauma victims. Men who disclose their wounds in therapy and don’t feel heard, supported, or believed may get discouraged and disdain help, perpetuating the legacy of isolation that “

“The unique issues faced by male survivors require special qualities in the therapist, and in the nature of the therapeutic relationship, to facilitate profound healing.” is a core problem for survivors. What follows is a short guide to finding the right therapist for you. Attributes of a Good Trauma Therapist The first question to ask is, “How does it feel to be in the same room with this person?” Recovery work requires a very high level of safety and trust. While these elements of a relationship always take time to develop, it’s important to have a gut level of comfort and relative ease with your therapist. If it feels like pulling teeth just to talk to this person, it’s going to be awfully hard to trust him or her with your most vulnerable parts. A good trauma therapist should be skilled at helping direct the pace of the therapy. Often, when survivors finally have a chance to talk about their experiences, they want to spill everything

at once, before they even get to know the therapist. This natural temptation is counterproductive, because feeling too much too fast is overwhelming, and can lead to retraumatization. The road to recovery is a slow, piece-by-piece sorting through of feelings and experiences, best done while feeling seen and understood. The therapist needs to have a strong sense of when things are going too fast, and the ability to help you slow down and focus on specific emotions and incidents. Any good therapist should be an excellent listener, but for survivors, it is important that the therapist know what to listen for. The experience of having the therapist “glide right over” an important disclosure of a traumatic event in your life can be damaging, because it reinforces the message learned in childhood that abuse is “nor-

Charlie Hertan


R rom S urvivors

A Guide for Survivors

mal” or “not that important.” A good trauma therapist must treat every disclosure of incidents of abuse, cruelty, or neglect as of the utmost importance in terms of its impact on self-esteem and development. Survivors have a natural tendency to minimize their abuse, with statements like “maybe it wasn’t so bad” or “my siblings had it worse.” Minimization can be an internalization of the abuser’s lies (“s/he told me it was for my own good”), as well as a crucial survival tactic for children who have no power to stop the abuse. However, in order to move forward into a corrective adult understanding of the experience, it’s essential to realize that abuse and neglect are always very bad for children. A good trauma therapist should react the way an “ideal nurturing adult” would have reacted if they had witnessed your abuse: with anger and indignation toward the abuser; caring, compassion, understanding, and reassurance toward you. Over time, internalizing the therapist’s strong, compassionate manner can help you develop a “nurturing inner parent” who can comfort your inner child and speak the truth to him about the abuse, counteracting the damaging lies (spoken or implied) of the abuser. Because recovery work requires the ability to connect deeply with the therapist on a feeling level, the therapist must have impeccable boundaries, and at no time make you feel in danger of being violated. Opening up so deeply requires a lot of vulnerability, and you must be able to trust absolutely that the therapist will not take advantage of it. Sexual contact, overtures, or comments that make you feel uncomfortable are never appropriate in recovery work; on the contrary, they are retraumatizing and damaging. Also totally inappropriate is the therapist suggesting that a minor was in any way responsible for any sexual, physical, or verbal abuse by an adult.

Don’t Give Up When you’re ready to do recovery work and you find the right therapist, you’ll know it. You may feel a sense of dread at times about letting your deepest wounds see the light of day, but you’ll also feel a humming excitement, a visceral response that tells you new heights of feeling alive and whole are possible. The right therapist will help you pace yourself, and ground your fears, anticipating the hard stretches as well as the light at the end of the tunnel. You may actually feel worse for a while, with an emotional sense of barely hanging on, as the truth of your trauma, how it felt and what it really meant, passes through you. However, when you know you’re ready, your “higher self” will guide you through the arduous journey to transformation. A strong, compassionate, savvy therapist can help you create the sacred space in which healing begins. Charlie Hertan is a psychotherapist, writer, and nature photographer who is currently producing the 2006 Peace Calendar, proceeds from sales of which will benefit the Men’s Resource Center for Change ( for information).

2005 •

Is It Important for Me to Work with a Male Therapist? Not necessarily. The qualities outlined above are more important to the success of recovery work than the gender of the therapist. I’ve had very successful therapeutic experiences working with both male and female survivors. The bottom line is, follow your gut. Some men who have been tremendously traumatized by men may find it too scary to open up to a male therapist, while others are easily able to distin-

guish emotionally between abusive and “safe” men. Many survivors have learned to “sexualize” their emotional needs. Men who discover that they have the power to seduce women (or men), but continue to feel unlovable deep down due to their internalization of abuse (“I’m bad,” “tainted,” etc.), may go into therapy unconsciously wanting to seduce the therapist, since this is the only way they know to get close to another person. Men who find themselves with few or no friends, but with a long, continuous string of lovers, would be well served working with a male therapist (or for gay men, a female) at some point in their lives, with the goal of internalizing the idea that others can value them for who they are, not just for their sexuality. However, in early recovery work, it is more important to feel comfortable and safe.


Should I Look for a Specialist? If you can find one in your area, it makes a lot of sense to go with a therapist who specializes in working with male trauma survivors. I was

lucky enough to ask around and find one when I needed to do my recovery work, and the result couldn’t have been better. The therapist’s knowledge about the impact of trauma on men, and the path of healing, is an invaluable tool on the road to recovery. It’s important that you have a sense that the therapist understands your experience and has faith in his (and your) ability to help you get better. The therapist’s well-grounded confidence, based on experience helping other men recover from trauma, can help instill feelings of hope and relief. Unfortunately, the field of men’s recovery work is so new that many men don’t have access to a local therapist specializing in recovery work. But the good news is that the special qualities of the therapist are even more important than specific training in men’s healing. You’d be better served by working with a nonspecialist you feel really comfortable and safe with than a specialist who makes you feel uneasy. Any experienced, top-notch therapist with strong compassion and insight, the ability to make you feel at ease, great listening skills, and an openness to both guiding you and learning more him/herself about men’s recovery work may be the right therapist for you. Read one of the excellent books on trauma recovery while in therapy (such as Victims No Longer by Mike Lew or The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davies) and take notes on your thoughts and reactions, then share this material in therapy. If your therapist hasn’t read these books and would be willing to do so, this is better still.


R esources Men’s Resources

(Resources for Gay, Bisexual & Questioning Men, see page 19) The American Cancer Society (413) 734-6000 Prostate support groups, patient support groups, nutritional supplements, dressings and supplies, literature, low-cost housing, and transportation. Brattleboro Area AIDS Project (802) 254-4444; free, confidential HIV/AIDS services, including support, prevention counseling and volunteer opportunities. 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 working with children. Parent aid program for parents experiencing stress. HIV Testing Hotline: (800) 750-2016 Interfaith Community Cot Shelter 582-9505 (days) or 586-6750 (evenings). Overnight shelter for homeless individuals. 123 Hawley St., Northampton. Doors open at 6 p.m. Men atWork is a Maine nonprofit providing opportunities for men 18 and over to share their stories and learn life improvement skills. Fatherhood, relationships, health, aging, our fathers, addictions, mentoring, and more. Trained professionals facilitate. Free walk-in discussion group (Man to Man) meets in Portland monthly, 7-9 p.m. on first Thursday, except July and August. Residential programs (1-3 days) also offered. For more information call Steve at (207) 865-2048orcheckout Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) (800) 749-6879 Referrals available for 12step groups throughout New England. TRY Resource/Referral Center for Adoption Issues Education and support services for adoptees, adoptive parents, professionals, etc. Support group meetings first Wednesday and third Sunday of each month. Contact: Ann Henry (413) 584-6599

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Fathers with Divorce and Custody Concerns Looking for a lawyer? Call your state bar association lawyer referral agency. In Mass. the number is (800) 392-6164. Here are some websites that may be of use to you: ***( * * 1259/links.htm * * good resource ** strongly recommended At Home Dad The Fathers Resource Center National Fatherhood Initiative The Fatherhood Project

Internet Resources

Men’s Resource Center of Western Massachusetts The Men’s Bibliography A comprehensive online bibliography of writing on men, masculinities and sexualities. mensbibliomenu.html XY Magazine Pro-feminist Men’s FAQ Pro-feminist Men’s Mail List Violence Statistics HomophobiaandMasculinitiesAmongYoung Men (Lessons in becoming a straight man) 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 100 Black Men, Inc. Pro-feminist Men’s Groups Listing Pro-feminist Mailing List

Magazines Achilles Heel (from Great Britain) XY: men, sex politics (from Australia) Ending Men’s Violence-Real Men The Men’s Rape Prevention Project Quitting Pornography, Men Speak Out

Sexism on the River continued from page 11

sexist issues and yet that was hard because I felt bonded to them. There was some nasty arguing, mostly led by the brothel trip leader. Eventually I insisted that if the blow-ups were not removed the trip would end there and we would all have to walk out. I did not like making a stand like this at all, and wondered how it might affect our rafting ability if we got on the river. Eventually the men agreed to remove the dolls, and we spent the next hour working hard to break camp and tie everything into the rafts. They were muttering among themselves and I felt I was the butt of their joking. I was confused and felt leaden. I had little energy. It was all I could do to focus on the task ahead. My fingers fumbled and it was clear that the events had affected me deeply. I asked E. to double-check everything I did so that our safety was not jeopardized. I breathed a sigh of relief as we pushed off into the current. I could focus on being a river guide again. We all had a chance for a new start—in fact it was absolutely necessary to put our problems aside and be present to the rapids ahead. The next moment took me by surprise. Four of the six men in my boat turned to me, looked me in the eye, and thanked me for having the courage to make a stand as I had. They explained that they had wives, sisters, and women they loved at home, that they also felt compromised by the group behavior. Individually they had struggled with breaking male traditions, upsetting their friends or “spoiling the fun.” I was astounded! I wondered if the majority of men in the other raft felt the same way. I guess I’ll never know. Pip Cornall, a peace skills educator, gives workshops in Australia and the United Statesonmalegenderissuesincludingviolence and sexual assault prevention, positivecommunication,genderreconciliation anddisputeconferencing.Heteachesyoga (body/mind/ peace) and is a raft guide in northern California//southern Oregon. His website is

MEN FOR VAWA: A Declaration Of Support For The 2005 Violence Against Women Act


s men throughout the United States who are committed to ending violence in our families and our communities, we support the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). We believe that men must join together with women to be part of the solution to the problem of domestic and sexual violence.

Since 1994 VAWA has helped to reduce the rates of domestic and sexual violence, but the problem continues in epidemic proportions throughout our country. VAWA 2005 expands support for domestic violence victims and focuses on breaking the cycle of violence by targeting resources to children and youth who have been exposed to violence, and engaging men as allies in this work. By signing this Declaration we call upon our legislators to co-sponsor and work to pass this bi-partisan bill that renews Congress’ 10-year commitment to safe and violence-free families. We are grateful for the bi-partisan group of Senators, led by Joe Biden (D-DE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Representatives, led by Mark Green (R-WI), John Conyers (D-MI), Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) and Hilda Solis (D-CA) for recently introducing the bill. On behalf of the vast majority of men who know that domestic violence has caused personal damage to ourselves, pain to our loved ones, and tremendous costs to our society, we ask you to join us in this effort.

S I G N T H E D E C L A R AT I O N : Men’s Resources International

Educating, Consulting & Organizing for Positive Masculinity


110 Pulpit Hill Road Amherst, Mass. 01002 (413) 549-7919


Meeting All Your Building Needs Since 1978

2005 • 23

C alendar Please send all Calendar Listing for events from September 15, 2005 (and beyond) to:

V oice M ale C alendar or mail to : 236 N. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002 Fax (413) 253-4801 Deadline for Fall Issue: August 31, 2005 August 4 . Cambridge, MA Open Human Rights Meeting Public meeting of the human rights commission. Cost: Free Location: 51 Inman Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room Info:, Carmen Negron; (617) 349-4396

• V oice M ale

August 4-6 . Atlanta, GA Echoes of Violence: National Organization for Men Against Sexism’s 30th Annual Men and Masculinity Conference “Echoes of Violence” will bring together a diverse group of people to build and strengthen alliances that work for social justice and equality, with the long-term vision of preventing and ending violence in our communities. Among our goals are: gender and racial equality; reproductive health and justice; preventing and ending men’s violence against women and children; economic justice; addressing the rise of militarism and the prison-industrial complex; youth empowerment; challenging heterosexism and homophobia; equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community; and restoring safety and justice. We will develop and engage a growing number of men as allies who are supportive of feminist ideals, who will challenge male privilege, and who will advocate for violence prevention, ultimately leading to a more just society. Cost: unknown Location: Georgia State University Info:,, 404-270-9894, Ext. 25


August 5–7 . Hartford, CT The Eighth Annual Ritual Abuse, Secretive Organizations and Mind Control Conference The purpose of the conference will be to help survivors of ritual abuse and to help stop future occurrences of ritual abuse and

mind control. The conference will be for survivors, co-survivors, helping professionals and others interested in the topic. We recommend always bringing a support person to all conferences and staying with that person or another safe person at all times. Cost: $75 to $195 (depending on number of days and time of registration) Location: DoubleTree Hotel near Bradley International Airport (between Hartford, CT, and Springfield, MA) Info: smart-2005-conference.htm, August 5–7 . Boulder, CO Spiritual Warfare Effectiveness Training Spiritual warfare is a learning experience and an adventure for men and boys. The warrior experiences real kinship with the earth, learning to reintegrate with nature, and to consciously walk, observe, play, and graciously live within it. Participants have an opportunity through many processes, including guided imagery, ritual, and play, to experience the courage, honor, and heroic nature of the spiritual warrior. Participants also explore the vast and awesome landscape within as they are given the opportunity to awaken to higher realities of spirit, including a greater awareness of the Creator, which offers a deep sense of meaning to their lives well beyond the weekend itself. Cost: $350, ($300 if registered 30 days in advance) $100 for full-time students ages 13+ Location: Boulder, Colorado Info:, 215-947-8198 August 12–14 . Cambridge, MA Creating Compassionate Families & Schools In this experiential workshop, participants will co-create a compassionate environment for living and learning. Our focus throughout the workshop will be learning and practicing the consciousness and skill-set of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), as developed by Marshall Rosenberg. Cost: $175 (full weekend), $100 (Friday/Saturday) Location: Cambridge College, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue Info:, 617-491-6905 (for those without Internet access) August 12–14 (en español), Sept. 16–18 . Madisonville, TX The New Warrior Training Adventure The New Warrior Training Adventure Weekend is designed to help men examine those aspects of their lives that are non-

productive and to begin to create new, healthy ways of living. This change is facilitated by a series of activities, including group discussions, games, guided imagery visualizations, journaling and individual work. Our trainings are focused on empowering men to develop their own missions of service in the world and to live more powerful lives imbued with qualities such as integrity, accountability, passion, and connection to feeling and the authentic self. Cost: $650 with $100 deposit upon registration Location: “Land of My Grandfathers:” 10 miles west of Madisonville, 100 miles north of Houston, 160 miles south of Dallas Info: August 19–21 . Pownal, VT Healing Weekends The Chrysalis Community delivers a program designed to provide people living with HIV the knowledge and skills that support a healthy lifestyle. These include: practicing self-love and self-care, taking a proactive role in wellbeing and wholeness, learning techniques to minimize stress and depression, and participating in activities which boost the immune system. At the end of the weekend, participants will be better prepared to manage HIV, feel a greater sense of emotional and spiritual support; and better understand how their immune system works and what it needs to stay strong and healthy. Participants will also have a better understanding of how to incorporate complementary and alternative healing into their daily lives. Cost: $485 Location: Chrysalis Community farm Info:,, 802-893-9309 Sept. 2–5 . Santa Rosa, CA Summer California Men’s Gathering The California Men’s Gathering is an educational and social experience for a large group of 100–400 men. The primary mission of the California Men’s Gathering (CMG) is to educate men about men becoming men, and to challenge them to examine their roles in society with the express intention of eradicating the fears and prejudices that separate men from other men and from women, and keep them from honoring and celebrating men and healthy masculinity in all of its diversity. Cost: not yet known Location: Camp Newman Info:

September 9–11 . Shutesbury, MA Finding Ourselves in Nature: A Men’s Retreat Co-sponsored by the Men’s Resource Center for Change and the Hitchcock Center for the Environment. Join Hitchcock Center naturalist Ted Watt, former MRC associate director and ecologist Michael Dover, and writer/farmer Al Miller in an exploration of what it means to be a man and how that affects our relationship with the natural world. We’ll combine nature walks, discussion, writing, and meditation as we examine our personal connections to nature and our role in protecting the life systems that support us all. Cost: $150 includes all meals and accommodation in the lodge or bring your own tent. Cabins available at additional cost. Deadline for registration ($50 deposit required) is August 8. Location: Temenos Retreat Center Info: retreat05.html,, (413) 253-9887, ext. 33 September 13–18 . Sturgeon Lake, MN 21st Annual Men’s Conference We are asking all the men to reach back toward young men—both the fathered and the fatherless—and to work out rituals and ways of communication in order to offer to the younger men what the culture as a whole does not. Cost: $650 adult men, $350 young men Location: Camp Miller Info:, 860-923-6987, 877-333-3136 September 16–21 . San Diego, CA 10th International Conference on Family Violence 10th International Conference on Family Violence:Advocacy,Assessment,Intervention, Research, Prevention, and Policy—Working Together to End Abuse, presented by the Family Violence & Sexual Assault Institute. Cost: $265–$325 (depending on time of registration) Location: Town & Country Hotel and Convention Center Info:

October 5–November 30 . Amherst, MA Conscious Communication Workshop Tired of arguing in your important relationships? Learn to stay connected in the heat of difference with partners, family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Imagine being able to learn more about yourself and each other through exploring differences, instead of shaming and blaming and being stuck in self-righteousness. Imagine being able to use differences to actually grow in understanding and intimacy and to experience the joy hidden in conflict. This eight-week workshop, sponsored by the Men’s Resource Center’s Moving Forward: Developing Healthy Relationships program, will help you do just that. The workshop is facilitated by Karen Fogliatti, experienced mediator, counselor, and educator with a Ph.D. in philosophy of education. She is currently both an associate with the Conscious Communication Institute and a counselor with Moving Forward. The workshop is open to both men and women. Cost: $230–$280, sliding scale, includes materials Location: Men’s Resource Center for Change, 236 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst Info:,, 978-544-3844

November 1 . Worcester, MA 2005 Teen Pregnancy Institute: Switching Gears in Changing Times Each year, the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy draws together teen parent and pregnancy prevention service providers from across New England for a day of continuing education, skill-building, networking, resource-sharing, and support. This year’s conference will provide an opportunity to learn about new approaches to work with teen parents and in pregnancy prevention. Cost: $65–$100 Location: College of the Holy Cross Info:,, 617-482-9122 November 2–4 . Detroit, MI From Roots to Wings: The Future of Batterer Intervention This conference will provide participants with an opportunity to be part of the first national conference on batterer intervention in this century, meet the people who started batterer intervention programs and network with a variety of professionals who share the goal of ending domestic violence, gain new tools and strategies, learn about funding and legislative changes, learn the latest research, experience dynamic and well-known presenters, learn from communities that are monitoring batterer intervention programs, be exposed to philosophical changes in batterer intervention programs, and participate in discussions on defining success. Cost: Between $275 and $400 Location: Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center Info: biscmi10thconference.html,, (517) 482-3933


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September 22–23 . New York City A Call to Men: Becoming Part of the Solution to End Violence Against Women First national conference, presented by Tony Porter, representing the National Association of Men and Women Committed to Ending Violence Against Women. Guest presenters include Ted Bunch, senior program director, Safe Horizon; Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary, assis-

tant professor, Portland State University; Dr. Robert Jensen, Voice Male writer and professor, University of Texas at Austin; MonicaWalker, core trainer, People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond; Byron Hurt, independent filmmaker; Paul Kivel, educator and writer. Men and women from all professions and communities are welcome. Cost: $150 Location: John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Women’s Center Info: Phone 845-354-2556; Fax 845-354-2557; Website:


T hank Y ou ! The Men’s Resource Center for change is truly a community organization.Wehavegrowntowhereweare becausehundredsofpeoplehavesharedour inspirationandcommitment,andcontributed theirtime,services,andmoneytowardavision ofpersonalandsocialtransformation.Asour programsandservicescontinuetogrowinsize andscope,thesizeandscopeofourcommunity support also expand.We are filled with deep gratitudeatthisoutpouringofsupport.Wehope thefollowingacknowledgmentscommunicatea senseofbeingpartofagrowingcommunityof support. Thank you. Donated Space Clinical and Support Options, Greenfield Network Chiropractic, Greenfield Northampton Council on Aging Fathers & Family Network Presenter Amanda Horowitz, Stop It Now! In-Kind Donations Henion Bakery, Amherst Interns Jessica Abad Maz & Mark Lionetti Office Volunteers Christopher Klunk, Eric Sherman, Adam Williams Pride Rally Volunteers Aaron D, James R, Jim N, John T, Carl

Fathering continued from page 17

Circle of Many Stones The Men’s Resource Center’s donor society, the Circle of Many Stones, gives members an opportunity to provide a key foundation of support and stability for the MRC. • The Circle of Many Stones welcomes individuals who make three-year pledges at or above $1,000 per year. • MRC has identified a goal of 20 founding Circle members with contributions totaling $150,000. Please consider joining. • On the way to this goal, the Circle of Many Stones currently has ten founding members who have pledged nearly $100,000! • For information on becoming a founding Circle member contact: Rob Okun at

Schmoozefest Volunteers Hank S and Mitch Sorensen

• V oice M ale

Challenge & Change Celebration Table Captains: Gustavo Acosta and Ruth Trujillo, Barbara Allen, Allan Arnaboldi, Charles and Epi Bodhi, Nan Carey and Stuart Bicknell, Jenny and Peter Daniell, Jan Eidelson, Darren Engstrom, Paul Entis, Lisa Freitag-Keshet and Meirav Kalfon, Tom Gardner and Karen Levine, Mary Hale, Joy Kaubin and John Anderson, Yoko Kato, David and Gail Kielson, Jonathan Klate and Carlotta Willis, Dot Lafratta, Gabor Lukacs, Bob and Magda Mazer, Russ Pirkot, Steve Rogers and Mary Ellen Shea, Joe and Toni Rufer, Sheldon Snodgrass and Judy Goldman, Steve Trudel, Kateri Walsh Other Contributors/Volunteers: Lisa Baskin, David Boutilier, Elaine Bonsant–BHS, Collective Copies, Beth DeGray–Log Cabin, Michael Dover, Carl Erikson, Suzanne Hendery, Sut Jhally–MEF, Andrew Killoy– MEF, Phil Korman–NPP, Media Education Foundation, Rebecca Reid, Silverscape Designs.


Asalways,theMRCextendsourgratitudetothe BoardofDirectorsfortheongoingguidanceand support they give to this organization and all who are a part of it.We are also grateful to our volunteers who support us in so many ways.


Justice of the Peace Officiating at Weddings for Couples in Massachusetts & Beyond (413) 253-7918

out how to find—or create—a circle of support. Imagine the possibilities for contact, insight, affirmation, a strengthened self-esteem, if we did. Fathering is one of the most life-altering experiences a man can know. Many of us felt a frozen part of our hearts begin to melt when we first held our babies. Or when we cared for them solo for the first time. Or first took them to the playground. In other words, when we got in touch with that natural part of being human that finds meaning and fulfillment—and love—through the act of nurturing another being. There is more. Spending alone time with our children. We have so much to learn from just being with them. As they grow older, young adults now, I realize I can learn more about myself from witnessing our relationships evolve. Earlier this summer, I spent a long weekend with the daughter who struggled at 13. She’s 20 now, working outside of Baltimore where she goes to college. Our weekend together was special, including a perfect morning hike. Stopping on a trail in the woods to observe a family of deer, I put my arm around her and she put hers around me. We stood together watching, breathing as one, no words exchanged in the stillness of the July morning. I could sense something familiar in the moment. It was the same feeling I had when I held her in the crook of my arm 20 years ago. Easy. Natural. When the deer family finally bounded off into the woods, instead of feeling as if our special moment had been broken, I felt our bond as father and daughter had been strengthened. Just as fathers often can’t find the words for the powerful emotions that overcome us at our children’s birth, I couldn’t explain the heightened sense of connection I felt in that moment. Happily, I didn’t need to. For me, Father’s Day came in July this year—as it comes on many other days when I least expect it. Voice Male editor Rob Okun, who is also executive director of the Men’s Resource Center for Change, can be reached at

Men’s Resource Center for Change Programs & Services

Administrative Staff Executive Director – Rob Okun Associate Director – Russell Bradbury-Carlin Director of Operations – Carl Erikson Development Associate – Gretchen Craig Financial Manager – Paula Chadis Administrative Assistant – Ursula Shea Borneo Moving Forward Director – Russell Bradbury-Carlin Clinical Supervisor – Sara Elinoff-Acker Intake Coordinator/Court Liaison – Steve Trudel Partner Services Coordinator – Jan Eidelson Franklin County Coordinator – Joy Kaubin Hampden County Coordinator – Scott Girard Group Leaders – Sara Elinoff-Acker, Karen Fogliatti, Scott Girard, Steve Jefferson, Joy Kaubin, Dot LaFratta, Susan Omilian, Bill Patten, Tom Sullivan, Steve Trudel Support Programs Director – Allan Arnaboldi Support Group Facilitators – Allan Arnaboldi, MichaelBurke,JimDevlin,MichaelDover,DarrenEngstrom, Carl Erikson,Tim Gordon, Jerry Levinsky, Gábor Lukács, BobMazer,RobParfet,TomSchuyt,Sheldon Snodgrass, Roger Stawasz, Bob Sternberg, Gary Stone, John Trainor, Peter Venman Youth Programs Director – Allan Arnaboldi Group Leader/Outreach Worker– Paul Collins Board of Directors Chair – Peter Jessop Clerk/Treasurer – Charles Bodhi Members – Jenny Daniell, Lisa Freitag-Keshet, Tom Gardner, Yoko Kato Executive Director Emeritus – Steven Botkin Voice Male Magazine Editor – Rob Okun Managing Editor – Michael Burke Designer – Mary Zyskowski Ad Sales – Ursula Shea Borneo

Main Office: 236 North Pleasant St. • Amherst, MA 01002 • 413.253.9887 • Fax: 413.253.4801

Youth Programs ■ Young Men of Color Leadership Project Amherst ■ShortTermGroups,Workshops,Presentations and Consultations for Young Men and YouthServing Organizations Moving forward Anger Management, domestic violence intervention, youth violence prevention ■ Anger Management Various times for 15-week groups for men, women and young men at the MRC. For more information, call (413) 253-9887 ext. 23 ■ Domestic Violence Intervention A state-certified batterer intervention program serves both voluntary and court-mandated men who have been physically violent or verbally/emotionally abusive. Fee subsidies available. ■ Basic Groups Groups for self-referred and court-mandated men (40 weeks) are held in Amherst, Athol, Belchertown, Springfield, and Greenfield. ■ Follow-up Groups for men who have completed the

Workshops & training ■ Men & Divorce This workshop series can help you get your bearings and find your way through the divorce process to reach a successful conclusion in this transition. Six Sunday afternoons. At MRC, 236 North Pleasant St., Amherst. For information, call Allan (413) 253-9887, Ext. 11. ■ Workshops available to colleges, schools, human service 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 consultations also available. Publications ■ Voice Male Published quarterly, the MRC magazine includesarticles,essays,reviewsandresources, and services related to men and masculinity. ■ Children, Lesbians and Men: Men’s Experiences as Known and Anonymous Sperm Donors A 60-page manual which answers the questions men have, with first-person accounts by men and women “who have been there.” Resource & Referral Services ■ Information about events, counselors, groups, local, regional and national activities, and support programs for men.

2005 •

E-mail: Website:

Fathering Programs ■ A variety of resources are available — Fathers and Family Network programs, lawyer referrals, parenting resources, workshops, presentations and conferences. Contact: (413) 253-9887 ext.10

basic program and want to continue working on these issues are available in Northampton, Greenfield and Amherst. ■ Partner Services Free phone support, resources, referrals and weekly support groups are available for partners of men in the MOVE program. ■ Prison Groups A weekly MOVE group is held at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Corrections. ■ Community Education and Training Workshops and training on domestic violence and clinical issues in batterer intervention are available. ■ Speakers’ Bureau Formerly abusive men who want to share their experiences with others to help prevent family violence are available to speak at schools and human service programs. ■ Youth Violence Prevention Services for teenage males who have been abusive with their families, peers, or dating partners. Contact: (413) 253-9588 ext.18


Springfield Office: 29 Howard St. • Springfield, MA 01105 • 413.734.3438

Support Group Programs ■ Open Men’s Group Sundays 7-9 p.m. at the MRC Amherst office Tuesdays 6:45-8:45 p.m. at the Council on Aging, 240 Main St., Northampton. Wednesdays 7-9 p.m. in Greenfield at Network Chiropractic, 21 Mohawk Trail (lower Main St.). A facilitated drop-in group for men to talk about their lives and to support each other. ■ Men Who Have Experienced Childhood Abuse /Neglect Specifically for men who have experienced any kind of childhood abuse or neglect. Fridays 7 - 8:30 p.m. at the MRC. ■ Gay, Bisexual & Questioning Mondays 7 - 9 p.m. at the MRC. A facilitated drop-in group for gay, bisexual and questioning men to talk about their lives and support each other (not a discussion group). ■ GBQ Schmoozefest Events Seasonal events with catered food, art and music, opportunities for interacting with GBQ men and other men who love men from Springfield to Brattleboro and beyond.


Third Annual

Men’s Walk to End Abuse Thursday, September 29 to Saturday, October 1

Begin Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a walk from Springfield to Greenfield to raise money and awareness. Join the Men’s Resource Center for Change by walking part of the way, all of the way, or joining us at a rally on Saturday, October 1. Proceeds will benefit the domestic violence prevention program at the Men’s Resource Center and the work of our partners: YWCA, Springfield • Womanshelter/Compañeras, Holyoke • Safe Passage, Northampton Everywoman’s Center, UMass-Amherst • NELCWIT, Greenfield

For additional information, call (413) 253-9887 x33 or e-mail

Voice Male Summer 2005