FROM THE EDITOR
By Rob Okun
Where Are Men’s Voices in the Fight for Women’s Health?
Tens of thousands participate in Susan G. Komen for the Cure fundraising walks across the country each year. Detractors and defenders alike are wondering if the foundation will be able to retain high numbers of supporters this year in the wake of their aborted attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.
ow that the public outcry has died down over the Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s ill-advised decision to defund Planned Parenthood (within days they reversed themselves after a blistering protest) there’s time to consider men’s role in the controversy. As a group, caring men were silent, ceding public discourse to the same intrusive men who have long tried to control women’s reproductive lives; men who, in seeking to destroy Planned Parenthood, politicized breast health. Yes, women were major actors in this story, especially including senior management at the Komen Foundation. But men’s fingerprints have long been all over women’s health issues. To me it’s manly to speak out on behalf of our sisters and mothers, wives and daughters. Too much is at stake for men to stand mute while sideline blowhards go after the women in our lives—first their ovaries, then their mammary glands. Consider the politics of the situation— right, left, center, who isn’t in favor of breast health? In case anyone thinks men are immune: we get breast cancer, too. My wife’s cousin, David, was diagnosed three years ago. (See “My Father’s Breast Cancer, Fall 2011.) It’s in men’s interest to acknowledge these are community issues, not women’s issues.
Last summer my wife and I joined our cousin for seven of the 60 miles he walked into Boston to raise money for the Komen foundation. It was a classic New England August Sunday morning and there was a festive buzz among the throng of walkers. Survivors, fami-
Too often, instead of speaking out on behalf of women’s rights, we remain bystanders. Are we too timid, fearful we’ll be put down—castigated as a mangina instead of celebrated as a mangina warrior? lies of those who’d died, young and old—a rainbow of citizens strolling under an azure sky, all with a common purpose: to cure breast cancer. The most heated conversation I heard all afternoon concerned baseball: would the Red Sox make it back to the World Series in the fall. At the end of our leg of the walk, after we’d sauntered through Cambridge neighborhoods and down Boston thoroughfares, slaked our thirst with orange wedges and our hunger
with granola bars, we wrote a check to the foundation in honor of our cousin. We were delighted he was two years cancer-free. And I said a prayer of gratitude for my wife—healthy and strong 21 years after her own bout with breast cancer. Despite reversing its decision to sever ties with Planned Parenthood, I am still angry the foundation inserted politics into a nonpartisan issue—publicly working on behalf of one aspect of woman’s health while privately working against another. Meanwhile, unfathomable as it may be to many citizens at the start of the second decade of the 21st century, another heated debate is underway; this time it’s birth control as it applies to the 2010 health insurance law (aka Obamacare.) On one side is the White House wanting to ensure that women who work at or seek services from Catholic health care facilities have access to birth control. On the other side are employees at those institutions who, for religious reasons, insist they shouldn’t be compelled to dispense birth control. Another community issue where men’s voices are too few and too soft. What if it were men’s health on the line instead of women’s? I can’t imagine caring men standing silently by as other controlling men clog the public airwaves and the blogosphere. Too often, though, instead of speaking out on behalf of women’s rights, we remain bystanders. Are we too timid to speak out, fearful we’ll be put down, castigated as a mangina instead of celebrated as a mangina warrior? Remember the bumper sticker, “Keep Your Laws Off of My Body?” It’s not just a slogan for women. Deep down, men know that an assault on women is an assault on us, too. But unless more of us are willing to raise our voices on behalf of our mothers and sisters, our wives and daughters, we risk ending up like the boys who were banished to the back row of middle school chorus. You know, the ones who were ordered to mouth the words, the ones who sometimes grew up to be tough guys with hardened hearts and scowls on their faces. The risks are too great to be silent. It’s time to open up our mouths. It’s time to sing.
Voice Male editor Rob Okun can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volume 16 No. 56
Changing Men in Changing Times www.voicemalemagazine.org
Features 8 White Ribbon Campaign: Men and Boys Creating a Culture of Nonviolence 11 “I Wish I Had Done More” By Joe Ehrmann
14 Breaking the Silence on Sex Abuse: Interview with Randy Ellison 16 Redefining Manhood After Penn State By Rob Okun
18 Speaking Out About Staying Silent
By Donna Jenson
20 What Kind of Man Am I? By Jason Sperber
24 Women Supporting Men Supporting Men By Frederick Marx
28 Sexual Assault: It’s War By Randy Ellison
Columns & Opinion 2 4
From the Editor
Men @ Work
Men & Feminism
Why Are Some Men Still Afraid of Feminism? by Michael Kaufman
What She Knows: One Woman’s Way Through Incest By Rob Okun
Men & Health
Living and Loving with Erectile Dysfunction By “George”
The Guy’s Guide to Feminism
S is for Sports By Michael Kaufman and Michael Kimmel
The Invisible War: Exposing Rape in U.S. Military By Sharon Waxman
A Practical Guide to Yes Means Yes By Jane Fleishman
Playing Games With Gender Violence By Fivel Rothberg
male positive • pro-feminist • open-minded Spring 2012
Rob A. Okun Editor
Michael Burke Copy Editor
Zach Bernard Intern
National Advisory Board Juan Carlos Areán
National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities
John Badalament The Modern Dad
Eve Ensler V-Day
God Bless the Child Productions
Prof. of Journalism Univ. of Texas
Media Education Foundation
Bill T. Jones
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co.
Mentors in Violence Prevention Strategies
White Ribbon Campaign
Fathering Educator, The Emily Program
Prof. of Sociology SUNY Stony Brook
Other & Beyond Real Men
Mentors in Violence Prevention
Prof. of Sociology Univ. of So. California
E. Ethelbert Miller
African American Resource Center, Howard University
Men’s Initiative for Jane Doe
Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund
Joan Tabachnick NEARI Press
Prof. of Gender and Sexuality Studies, California State Long Beach
Mail Bonding Celebrating Different Roads to Changing Men I find much to agree with and celebrate in Frederick Marx’s essay “Defining Masculinity in Our Own Terms,” (Fall 2011) especially with my “movement” lenses on. He finds that feminist men who are doing the important work of standing against the domination of and violence against women too often “end up speaking to only half of why we as men should join these worthy battles.” This seems right to me. Many more males will join in the transformation of gender relations when they know by example and from experience that their lives will improve with that change. This is the promise of liberation for males from the confines of conventional masculinity and patriarchy. It is a path subject to wrong turns, in part because it is so easy to rationalize new ways of performing privilege. Michael Kimmel (in his sidebar response) is correct to point out that “opting out of systemic privilege is … not an option.” The systemic is not a personal choice. Yet, each individual must make the personal choice to join in (“political”) action with others to change the system. I believe that more men will join in feminist action and in changing their performance of masculinity when they know what is in it for them and they opt for those rewards over privilege and domination. It is good to hear Frederick Marx’s story of how he has moved from reacting to feminism in his family as a young man with some internalized guilt and shame to fully identifying with the changes in his mature masculine identity that includes feminist values and commitments. Each man who gets that far will do it differently. His masculinity is different than mine… and I celebrate his journey. I want and need many more men to take to that path. Then we will have movement and a chance for systemic change. Charles Knight Cambridge, Mass.
Culture Shift Our son-in-law showed me the Fall issue of the magazine thinking I would be interested. I was. The Anita Hill story gripped my attention at once. I have been married for 52 years, raised one son and two daughters and was a teacher and later a librarian for many years. It is obvious that the shift in the culture has brought considerable disorientation to both sexes. Your magazine addresses these issues very well. Ilse Baker Voorheesville, New York
go far, go together My previous work at a rape crisis center in San Diego allowed me to work with a community of allied men that included representatives from the military and [antiviolence activist and Voice Male national advisory board member] Jackson Katz, on an annual Valentine’s Day Men’s Leadership Forum. At that time (2001) it was groundbreaking and exciting to see a conference room full of men working to end gender-based violence and consciously creating a paradigm shift with the existing social constructs of masculinity. Thank you for your work in engaging men in ending gender-based violence and as allies in the movement. As the African proverb goes, “If you want to go quickly go alone; if you want to go far go together.” We have much to do together. Imelda Buncab Sherman Oaks, Calif. THANK YOU Ali de Groot, Kitty Axelson Berry, Jeff Roth-Howe Letters may be sent via email to www.voicemalemagazine.org or mailed to Editors: Voice Male, PO Box 1280, Amherst, MA 01004.
VOICE MALE is published quarterly by the Alliance for Changing Men, an affiliate of Family Diversity Projects, PO Box 1280, Amherst, MA 01004. It is mailed to subscribers in the U.S., Canada, and overseas and is distributed at select locations around the country and to conferences, universities, colleges and secondary schools, and among non-profit and non-governmental organizations. The opinions expressed in Voice Male are those of its writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the advisors or staff of the magazine, or its sponsor, Family Diversity Projects. Copyright © 2012 Alliance for Changing Men/Voice Male magazine. Subscriptions: 4 issues-$28. 8 issues-$45. Institutions: $40 and $55. For bulk orders, go to voicemalemagazine.org or call Voice Male at 413.687-8171. Advertising: For advertising rates and deadlines, go to voicemalemagazine.org or call Voice Male 413.687-8171. Submissions: The editors welcome letters, articles, news items, reviews, story ideas and queries, and information about events of interest. Unsolicited manuscripts are welcomed but the editors cannot be responsible for their loss or return. Manuscripts and queries may be sent via email to www.voicemalemagazine.org or mailed to Editors: Voice Male, PO Box 1280, Amherst, MA 01004.
Men @ Work Penn State Pledges to Combat Sexual Violence
prevention, advocacy, education, and treatment,” said Delilah Rumburg, chief executive officer of both PCAR and NSVRC. “This is a unique opportunity to work together to end sexual violence.”
Too little, too late? Smart politically? Whatever the reason, a glimmer of light is coming out of State College, PA. Penn State has pledged $1.5 million to prevent sexual violence. The beleaguered university is collaborating with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) which will share their expertise and resources with Penn State in a three-year partnership. “We value [the university’s] pledge to support efforts in
Sexual Aftershock Rocks Haiti Since the earthquake that devastated Haiti two years ago, the rise in sexual violence in displacement camps has been well documented. But another face of post-earthquake Haiti has emerged as a pressing issue: the sexual exploitation of displaced women and girls. That is the conclusion of an important new report, Analyzing Sexual Exploitation among Women and Girls in Haiti. The unraveling of Haiti’s already fragile social safety net—from a lack of economic opportunity to the loss of community and family structures—has driven young women and girls into “survival
sex”—exchanging sex for money, water, shelter, jobs, education or even a single meal. The report authored by MADRE, the Commission of Women Victims for Victims (KOFAVIV), the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at the City University of New York School of Law, the Global Justice Clinic at New York University School of Law and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at University of California Hastings College of the Law, reveals that there is an epidemic of sexual exploitation of displaced Haitian women and girls. Following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti on January 12, 2010, hundreds of thousands of people were killed and millions were displaced.
Referring to former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, accused of sexually abusing at least nine young boys, and allegations that community leaders did not take appropriate actions when informed, Rumberg said, “This case is not unique. We know that adults see or hear things that make them uncomfortable, or may even have a child disclose sexual abuse, but they don’t get involved. We want to prevent abuse by equipping people with information, skills and resources.” The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape represents 51 sexual assault centers annually Displacement camps sprung up in and around Port-au-Prince. Overcrowded and with little security, flimsy shelters and almost no privacy, incidents of rape and sexual violence increased exponentially. Left with no way to earn an income and a stark lack of alternatives, increasing numbers of women and girls in the camps turned to survival sex and were made vulnerable to sexual exploitation. That fact should come as no surprise since a rise in sexual violence and sexual exploitation in abusive conditions after disaster is common. Examples abound: Somalia after the famine, Sri Lanka after the tsunami and in Pakistan after the floods. “Survival sex,” defined in the report as the exchange of sex in circumstances where those exchanging sex for survival lack other options, has been treated as distinct from rape given the perception of choice in engaging in transactional sex. But, the report say, for many displaced Haitians engaging in survival sex, the decision is not a result of free choice. Analyzing Sexual Exploitation among Women and Girls in
serving 30,000 men, women and children affected by sexual abuse in Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Founded by PCAR in 2000, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center identifies, develops and disseminates resources regarding all aspects of sexual violence prevention and intervention. NSVRC activities include training and technical assistance, referrals, consultation, systems advocacy, and coordinating Sexual Assault Awareness Month and other national events. To learn more, visit www.pcar.org and www. nsvrc.org.
Haiti is based on interviews with displaced women between 18 and 32 who have either engaged in sexual exchange themselves or know someone who has. Interviewees and organizations alike said they recognize that economic disempowerment is the principal factor making women and girls vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Few jobs are available, and those that are rarely generate enough income for women to provide for themselves and their families. “Survival sex will not end until Haitian women and girls can access what they need to live,” said Margaret Satterthwaite, Faculty Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law. “Haitian women want economic opportunities and the capacity to access basic resources. The international community should work closely with the Haitian government to create jobs, extend microcredit to women, and provide free education to all.” To learn more, go to: http://www.awid.org/Library/ A-New-Report-MADRESexual-Exploitation-in-PostEarthquake-Haiti.
Men @ Work Helping Men With Psychotherapy Assisting men in psychotherapy is the theme of the third national Psychotherapy with Men Conference this June in New York City. Keynote addresses by Dr. James O’Neil of the University of Connecticut (“Helping Men with Their Gender Role Conflicts in Psychotherapy”) and Dr. Douglass Haldeman of Seattle, Wash. (“Gay Therapists, Straight Clients: Power, Privilege, and the Psychology of Men”) will be augmented by presentations from 15 of the nation’s leading authorities on men and psychotherapy. The conference will be held on June 9, at the Lincoln Center Campus of Fordham University. For details, visit the conference website at http://www.fordham. edu/PMC.
Men with A New Kind of Strength Fathers and sons, coaches and players, police officers and civic leaders. Who are the men with a “new kind of strength” who have decided that violence against women is not just
The film A New Kind of Strength features an interview with Joe Torre, former Yankees and Dodgers manager.
a women’s issue? Who are the men who have taken action in their communities to advocate for lasting change? Viewers will meet them in A New Kind of Strength, a new documentary short weaving together a historical perspective with the voices and experiences of men who have witnessed violence against women, including Joe Torre, former New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers manager, and former Nashville, Tenn. Police Lieutenant Mark Wynn. And, say producers, Cindy Waitt, Alan Heisterkamp, and Kit Gruelle, A New Kind of Strength includes the voices of other men who have stepped forward to challenge domestic
Ellen Pence: 1948-2012
t is not easy to make an audience roar with laughter while lecturing on domestic violence and homicide, but such was the compelling humor of activist Ellen Pence, who died of breast cancer in January. She was 63. A pioneer in creating and promoting innovative strategies to deal with domestic abuse, the training she developed, and the accessible and motivational way in which she delivered it, changed the way violence towards women and children in the home is viewed. In an obituary in The Guardian, Ellen Pence was described as having the goal of teaching offenders to accept responsibility for their actions and to desire change. In 1980 she founded the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project widely known as the Duluth model—named after the Minnesota city where it was developed— (theduluthmodel.org). Based on a multipronged approach in which police, probation offices, courts, social services and women’s (and later men’s) advocacy projects work together to assess risk, protect victims and deal effectively with abusers, the strategy
and sexual abuse who remind us “what we all lose when we allow violence against women to continue.” Well suited for trainings and community awareness programs in a wide variety of settings, A New Kind of Strength is a collaboration among the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention (www.waittinstitute.org) Astraea Productions, Markay Media, and Shelter From the Storm Productions. For nearly half a century women have done the heavy lifting in organizing to respond to the needs of domestic and sexual violence victims and survivors. For three decades, more and more men have recognized the critically important role they can play in stopping the violence and reinterpreting what it means to be a man of strength and integrity. By challenging accepted notions of masculinity, the producers believe, these men are presenting new images of a different kind of strength, especially for boys who are just forming their identity as men, and who are beginning to define their relationships with women. Funded by the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevenlargely remains a blueprint for programs in the United States and other parts of the world. Pence maintained that abusive men can change, especially if those working with them have the appropriate training, skills and tools. She created the program to teach those acting abusively to accept responsibility for their actions and to desire change. The Duluth model runs in several countries as an alternative to, or as part of, mandatory sentencing for domestic violence offenses.
tion, to learn more, go to www. privateviolence.com.
Sports Illustrated Doesn’t ‘Suit’ You? Much like the late Joe Paterno, Sports Illustrated does the bare minimum when it comes to criticism of its annual soft porn swimsuit issue. The Letters section of issues leading up to publication in February bears a note which says in part: “If you’re a subscriber and would prefer not to receive [the swimsuit issue], call our customer service center toll free at 1-866228-1175 …SI will extend your subscription.” According to a report on CNBC.com, the issue generates seven percent of advertising revenue and is the single best-selling print issue in Time Inc.’s stable of magazines. On average, CNBC.com reports, it sells more than one million copies at newsstands. How many SI subscribers opt out? “…[l]ess than one percent...” Interested in letting SI know how you feel before next year, email: letters@SI.timeinc.com or fax 212.467.2417.
The “Power and Control Wheel” that Ellen Pence designed with her colleagues in 1984, explains the complex set of tactics used by abusers to instill fear and achieve control over those they are victimizing. It includes isolation, victim blaming, using children as a weapon, and emotional abuse. The wheel is used in training by professionals and activists worldwide.
Men & Feminism
Why Are Some Men Still Afraid of Feminism? by Michael Kaufman
Being a Man is Hard to Do Here’s the strange thing: many men also fear feminism because they fear they’re not “real men.” I’ve written a lot about this, what I call “men’s contradictory experiences of power.” What this means is that the ways we set up our male-dominated societies not only bring men power and privilege but, paradoxically, is the source of pain for men. One source of this pain is that we set up impossible ideals of manhood: You know: always strong, fearless, in control, etc. etc. Of course no man can live up to these ideals. But so long as we had uncontested male-dominated societies, we could pretend to ourselves and each other that we did. Why? Because we could contrast ourselves to the other half that clearly did not. Now that women are asserting their strength, power, smarts, and sexuality, now that women are saying that anything a man can do, they can do as well, it takes the air out of the sails of many men. If deep down they didn’t feel like real men before, now those feelings are unconsciously multiplied.
Changing Ideas is Hard to Do Giving Up is Hard to Do
am a strong believer that men gain a huge amount from feminism. It’s been a theme of my writing and public speaking for thirty years (including in my new book, co-written with Michael Kimmel, The Guy’s Guide to Feminism, see page 27.) But, let’s face it, you don’t make omelets without cracking a few eggs. In this case, the eggs are the forms of power and privilege men have traditionally enjoyed: • In the past, we men only had to compete with half of humanity for most jobs. Now, we have to compete with all of humanity. • At night, men got to relax, go out with friends, or pursue our careers, sports or hobbies while our wives (even if they worked outside the home) did most childcare and domestic work. Now, we’re expected to do our fair share. • Some workplaces were straight out of locker rooms. Now, with sexist behavior challenged, for some men, work just isn’t as much fun. • No matter our personal abilities, society automatically valued us. Some religions said we were closer to God. We were automatically seen as stronger, more rational, and leaders. • In relationships we got cooked for, shopped for, cleaned up after, and emotionally stroked. • We could (if we so chose) have power in getting sex. Now, we can get put in jail for things that not long ago were seen as men’s rights. • In some families and relationships, we were the ultimate decisionmakers. Now, we have to share power and decision-making. In other words, some men are afraid of feminism because it challenges forms of men’s power and privilege that one-half of our species foisted on the other about 8,000 years ago. Giving up is hard to do.
In spite of amazing changes that are benefitting most women and most men, the ideas associated with male domination still cling hard: • Religions and traditional beliefs have a life of their own and a deep staying power. Especially in a time of economic, political and social upheavals when the future seems tenuous, some men (and women) cling to old ideas. • Old ideas continue to morph and adapt. You might think that rightwingers are against women’s equality. But actually, many of their current ideas would have been seen as crazy feminist ideas forty years ago: A woman can be president or prime minister? Women are as smart and capable as men? Women have as much right as men to pursue careers and education? … In other words, feminism has actually had a big impact even when it seems there is still huge opposition by some men and women to it. • Parts of the media have continued to do a remarkable hatchet job on feminism. Ask people in many countries about the specific issues associated with gender equality or violence against women. Many (and in some countries, most) will take a feminist stance. But ask if they agree with feminism and they’ll bring out their stereotype of who or what a feminist is and say “No!” Finally, feminist women and pro-feminist men haven’t done a good enough job of transforming the mainstream. If we truly believe our ideas are just and are right, then everyone should subscribe to them! We should not be afraid of working in the mainstream. We should not be afraid of differences among us, but rather we should find ways to work with those who we don’t see as natural allies, and agree to disagree on specific issues. We should not be afraid to make mistakes or not to be perfect. Voice Male contributing editor Michael Kaufman is one of the leading profeminist figures promoting gender equality in the world. He is the author/ editor of six books on gender issues, democracy and development studies, and also wrote the awardwinning novel Possibility of Dreaming on a Night Without Stars. Spring 2012
White Ribbon Campaign Men and Boys Creating a Culture of Nonviolence
“From this day forward, I promise to be part of the solution in ending violence against women.”
t was December 6, 1989. Angry that he’d failed to get into engineering school, a lone gunman strode into a lecture hall at the University of Montréal and murdered 14 women whom he blamed for his academic failure. A shock wave pulsed through every segment of Canadian society—from the classroom to the barroom. Two years later, challenged by the women in their lives to respond to all forms of men’s violence against women, three men—the late Jack Layton (see sidebar), Michael Kaufman, and Ron Sluser (with others)—launched the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) as a way for men to begin to take a stand against men’s violence against women. That first year, 1991, 100,000 wore ribbons across Canada. Today, the campaign has spread to at least 70 countries and several million men have signed pledges not to commit, condone, or remain silent in the face of domestic or sexual violence. At its heart an educational campaign, WRC is politically nonpartisan, seeking to reach a wide swath of men. Some serve as informal ambassadors spreading the word. In the U.S., the campaign has been growing in recent years in, among other places, Massachusetts. It is spearheaded there by the Men’s Initiative for Jane Doe Inc. (JDI), the Boston-based statewide coalition of battered women’s shelters and
rape crisis centers. It coordinates 60 local member programs around Massachusetts working with allies on lasting solutions that promote safety, liberty, and dignity for victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence. The 2012 Massachusetts White Ribbon Day, the fifth such commemoration, included a gathering at the state house, and a separate first-ever White Ribbon Campaign by members of the military. Since launching the campaign in Massachusetts in 2008, Jane Doe Inc. has recruited more than 400 White Ribbon Day Ambassadors and tens of thousands of men and boys have signed the pledge. JDI led efforts for Massachusetts to join this international effort for human rights to engage men to help end violence against women, men and children. “Our approach celebrates positive masculinity, invites men and boys to be leaders to help end violence against women, and encourages men and boys to contribute to a solution in any number of ways,” said Craig Norberg-Bohm, Jane Doe’s men’s initiative coordinator who directs White Ribbon Day. In 2012 the campaign added a new component, a tool kit to help male high school athletic teams across the Commonwealth. “Young Men 4 Change” encourages male youth to demonstrate leadership
in addressing violence against females coaches and student athletes across in the school community. “Since the state declaring their commitment many coaches and student athletes are to this principle of non-violence? leaders in their wider communities,” Among other possibilities, NorbergNorberg-Bohm said, “emphasizing Bohm says, consider these: working with male athletic teams is a • Creates a clear, loud and visible powerful way to both invite and inspire statement from male athletes about other men and boys to make a public building a school social climate that and private commitment to promote promotes positive masculinity and respectful, safe, and healthy relationhealthy relationships ships.” • Promotes safety and respect in all High schools, Norberg-Bohm relationships and situations acknowledges, are not immune to issues of sexual and domestic violence. • Fosters a positive image of “Whether the violence occurs among manhood and invites coaches and students or is experienced at home, at athletes to join in a celebration of work, or in the community, sexual and personal peace and cooperation domestic violence affects everyone— Young Men 4 Change encourages male youth to be leaders in challenging • Builds a network of resounding including athletes.” As leaders in their violence against women and girls in their school communities. voices to support and advance the White communities, athletes taking a stand Ribbon Day Campaign initiative challenging violence against women can inspire others in other schools and different communities to do the same. Coaches can be To learn more about White Ribbon efforts in Massachusetts go to instrumental in helping athletes they are training to become involved http://whiteribbonday.janedoe.org. For more on the White Ribbon in White Ribbon Day and to assist them to be responsible people on Campaign, visit http://www.whiteribbon.ca. the field and off. What could the impact be of hundreds of male
Remembering Jack: 1950 – 2011 White Ribbon Campaign Cofounder Jack Layton By Todd Minerson
One of the co-founders and visionaries of the White Ribbon Campaign, longtime Canadian activist and political leader Jack Layton, died last August. Layton believed men should have both a role and responsibility in working to end violence against women; that men needed to step up our efforts in promoting gender equality; and should be accountable to challenging the most harmful aspects of masculinity. He was the subject of a memorial appreciation by WRC executive director Todd Minerson.
He felt the time was right for great things to happen—for men to begin to move en masse to the idea that we could do better, be more caring and compassionate in our lives. That as men we could stop being afraid of equality, that we could stop being defensive about the harm that can result from male privilege, that we could embrace the fact that we all benefit from a world with less violence against women and girls, and ultimately against each other. Once, when I was feeling overwhelmed by the scope of the work, Jack told me, “Always have a dream that will outlast your lifetime.” I have thought about our work to end violence against women in that way ever since. There are too many dreams left after your passing. I am honoured to have called Jack an inspiration, a mentor, and a friend.
long with Michael Kaufman, Ron Sluser and others, Jack launched the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) in 1991, generously contributing his indefatigable energy. The first WRC office was actually in his children’s bedroom—the bed would just get cleaned off when his son Mike was home from school. I have talked to many men who said they never would have understood the positive role they could play in working to end violence against women if it weren’t for Jack. Handing out ribbons in Union Station in Toronto, making donations, offering up everything from office space to websites, when it came to the WRC few people could effectively say no to Jack. From those humble beginnings, WRC is now the world’s largest effort by men and boys working to end violence against women and girls. From his son’s bedroom to more than 60 countries, men have taken up the dream of ending gender-based violence. Governments around the world, scores of NGOs, and the United Nations have all recognized the importance of this effort, a remarkable accomplishment—one that would not have happened without Jack. It’s a small piece of his legacy. Early on after I’d become executive director of WRC, I had the chance to meet with Jack one-on-one. While he freely shared stories from those early years, it was clear his intention was not to discuss the past but the future.
White Ribbon Campaign cofounder Jack Layton died in August 2011. Spring 2012
White Ribbon Campaign
• Never use coercion, threats, or violence in your relationships with others. • Teach your students and the youth in your community about gender equality and healthy, equal relationships. • Be a good role model and share with the boys and young men around you the importance of respecting women and girls. • Learn about the impact of violence against women in your community. Volunteer with a local shelter or a women’s organization. • Challenge and speak out against hurtful language, sexist jokes, and bullying, in your school, community, workplace, or place of worship. • Accept your role as a man in helping to end violence against women. It affects everyone.
Ways Men and Boys Can Make a Difference
Men and boys in our various roles—as individuals, community members, leaders, educators, fathers, and family members, among others—have a responsibility and an important role to play in promoting gender equality and ending violence against women and girls. Here are some examples: • Think about the kind of man you want to be: kind, responsible, someone who shares equally in family life and respects women and girls. • Be respectful towards women, girls, and other guys. Sexism and homophobia hurt us all. • Ask first. Whether it’s holding hands, kissing, or more, it’s important to communicate and seek consent.
• Start a White Ribbon Club or Campaign in your school or community. • Help educate others in your school, community, or workplace about men’s violence against women and girls. • Learn about the important connection between masculinity and gender equality. • Educate yourself about the important role men and boys can play in ending gender-based violence. • Teach the boys in your life how healthy, equal relationships help you do your part in creating healthy families and strengthening family bonds. For more helpful information about specific actions men and boys can take go to www.itstartswithyou.ca.
“I wish I had done more” By Joe Ehrmann
A Prescription for Action From the author of InsideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives
he reflective and regretful six words uttered by the late Penn State Coach Joe Paterno—“I wish I had done more”—could very well summarize what each of the men indicted or fired at Penn State must be feeling for their role in not stopping a predatory coach from sexually victimizing young boys. Arguably, each of these men is a “good man.” But that’s part of the problem—it’s not enough to just be a “good man”—you have to engage in what is around you and become a man of action. An involved man’s voice and actions are in alignment with his moral and ethical beliefs. Moral courage enables us to stand up for what is right even if it means standing alone or risking rejection or negative consequences. As Edmund Burke stated—and the shameful inaction at Penn State illustrates— “All it takes for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Evil prevailed at Penn State due to an extreme lapse in moral courage. What keeps us from being conscious and courageous enough to protect the hearts, souls and bodies of children? How could it be that for more than 15 years, at least nine boys were sexually abused? I want to suggest three steps to demand accountability for the safety and protection of every child everywhere and to help good men and women become involved persons of action in the war against child abuse. My hope is that by implementing these steps, adults will
become better protectors of those who cannot protect themselves. May we stay ever mindful of Joe Paterno’s parting words, “I wish I had done more.”
Teach, model, nurture and develop moral courage As I wrote in my book, InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives (insideoutcoachingbook.com), moral courage is what sustains the basic freedoms and responsibilities of life in community; we belong to each other; we need each other; we affect each other. What is painfully missing in this horrific story at Penn State is the lack of moral courage displayed by men who spent a lifetime in education, leadership, sports, coaching and working with young people. Courage can be divided into two types: physical and moral. Of the two however, physical courage is the more recognized virtue in the world of sports. Coaches talk about physical courage; they encourage it and hold up examples to the team often in the context of fighting through injuries, rehabilitation, and pain. There is far too little emphasis on teaching, modeling, nurturing and developing moral courage. Moral courage can be likened to a muscle— it can be strengthened and developed through training and proper nourishment. I challenge every coach, teacher, parent, administrator—
Penn State’s legendary football coach Joe Paterno died in January.
all of us—to seize the Penn State story as an opportunity to evaluate the strength of our own moral courage and start integrating practical skills that build and strengthen that muscle to act in the face of injustice. For teachers it will be in your lesson plans; for coaches, at practice; for all of us in our daily conversations. Every day young people are tempted to break moral codes over a missing homework assignment, engage in gossip, and boast about some sexual proclivity of themselves or others. Think of the myriad of other academic, peer or social pressures on young people to conform to self-preservation at the expense of their own moral well-being. We have an opportunity to engage young people in age appropriate discussions of moral courage, including the devastating results when one’s moral courage muscle is atrophied and impotent. It is time for every individual and institution to take responsibility for developing moral courage. The leaders of institutions cannot build moral courage into others when the strength of that leader’s courage is weakened. How an institution holds its adults accountable for the growth and protection of our children should be a measure of its own moral courage— whether it is politically safe or not. If we are taking responsibility for our young people, let’s have the moral courage to back it up so the next time a crisis occurs none of us will ever have to say, “I wish I had done more.” [continued on page 12] Spring 2012
Create policy, procedures and accountability to protect children We must demand the highest standards of accountability at every level, individually and institutionally. Coaches by the very nature of their power, platform and position in the lives of young people, must be screened and educated to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to threats of child abuse. And they must be held accountable to enact them. In fact, every institution should have a policy—including training and accountability—built into its culture to protect children under its care. Every day it seems we are reminded of the long list of institutions over the course of history that preferred to protect themselves rather than protecting children. This institutional self-preservation has historically permitted pedophiles, molesters and abusers the access and sanctuary to destroy the hearts, minds and souls of millions of children. When there are no guidelines or protective procedures, teams and leagues literally open the door for abusers. And in our ever-expanding competitive youth sports universe, there are too many schools, leagues, teams and programs that have failed to place a protective barrier around our children. Every youth sports program should have policies, training and sexual abuse awareness in place for players, parents, coaches and
administrators. If they don’t, demand it. It is not enough to say you have a policy. If coaches and volunteers don’t know the policy or are not held accountable to enforce its rules, then it is just words on paper. Every principal, board member, athletic director, coach and parent should demand these protective procedures are being practiced. Don’t be afraid to speak up and find out what protective procedures exist. “I wish I had done more” never need be a final statement since we always can do more.
Act morally courageous and responsible to prevent child sexual abuse As a nation we seem to be paralyzed by beliefs and feelings around the subject of child sexual abuse. It appears too shameful, uncomfortable or impolite to talk about personally or publically. I know. As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I carried a shame that silenced me for almost 50 years before revealing my abuse in InSideOut Coaching. Since the book was released last August, I’ve been amazed at how many people have emailed, called or approached me to share their own stories of abuse or the abuse of loved ones. Adult retrospective studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that one in four women and one in six men were sexually abused before the age of 18. This
Women don’t know what goes on behind men’s disguises and they assume the worst
means there are more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the U.S. Too many of us are silent because we have not sought the help needed to overcome the social stigma attached to sexual abuse. I know for me in this part of my life journey I will continue to find my voice and stand up, show up and speak out in hopes of preventing another tragic story of failed moral courage and human responsibility. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” In the face of the Penn State tragedy, and in prevention of future crimes against children, each of us should ask what we can do to help prevent child sexual abuse so we will never have to hear ourselves lament, “I wish I had done more!” Author of InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives Joe Ehrmann is founder and president of Coach for America and a former player on the Baltimore Colts in the NFL. He leads trainings and workshops around the country. A version of this article appears on his website (www.coachforamerica.com)
Behind the Mask A woman’s guide to the mystery and mayhem of the inner lives of men
This groundbreaking book invites women to see behind the mask and discover the good-hearted, but struggling men we really are. SUBMISSIONS WANTED: The heart of Behind the Mask features men’s stories—moving accounts of our hurts, fear, shame and joy. We seek Voice Male readers’ honest stories of your relationships with women, when you were or were not acting as a man of integrity, when you opened your heart, and when you didn’t. For more information on Behind the Mask: A woman’s guide to the mystery and mayhem of the inner lives of men and how to submit contributions, email us at email@example.com. All writers whose submissions are accepted for publication will receive a copy of the book. Charlie Donaldson LLP, LPC and Randy Flood LLP, are coauthors of Stop Hurting the Woman You Love, (Hazelden, 2006), and founders and directors of the Men’s Resource Centers of West Michigan, menscenter.org. Anticipated publication, Fall 2012. 12
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Breaking the Silence on Sex Abuse An Interview with Randy Ellison
BOYT: There seems to be an awareness today that sexual predators are found in the very organizations that we entrust our children to— churches, scouts, coaches, teachers. Should the groups be screening adults who become involved more closely? RE: If you have any business that deals with kids, pedophiles will be drawn to you for easy access to their victims. Yes, they definitely should screen very closely. They also need a written policy on what they do to protect children, which needs to include that no adult will be in a private one-on-one situation with kids. The policy should be posted where it can easily be seen and every parent and child should have it explained to them and get a copy of it. ” BOYT: Are there any clues that should trigger our suspicion so we can protect our children? What kind of behaviors should we look for? RE: We need to be vigilant in protecting our children. Watch for someone paying undo attention to one child in particular. Someone who offers to take a child out for a treat, offers to give them a ride home, or who gives them small gifts—these are all red flags. Especially when it is a child who doesn’t get much attention socially or displays needy behaviors. We need to make the choice that it is better to question and report suspicions than to accept and turn away. It’s not about “them”—victims and perpetrators—it’s about us. We need to reprogram ourselves to keep children safe.
he statistics are hard to ignore: one in six boys and one in three or four girls are sexually abused before they turn 18. An estimated 20 million male and 30 million females are victims of child sexual abuse; 80 percent of people being treated in residential alcohol and drug abuse treatment centers were abused as children; more than 90 percent of perpetrators are known by their victims and 30 percent are family members. Child sexual abuse is pervasive in our society, yet it’s often swept under the rug, hidden and ignored. Randy Ellison, an advocate for victims of child sex abuse, and himself a victim as a teenager, is trying to do something about it. “We can’t stop the cycle,” Ellison believes, “unless the abuse is acknowledged, talked about, understood and prevented.” Author of the new book, Boys Don’t Tell, he was interviewed by Best of You Today (www.bestofyoutoday.com) not long ago in an effort to shed some light on a topic still under-examined in society. A version of the interview appears below. Ellison, a victim’s advocate and activist for cultural change in the child sexual abuse arena, works with several organizations on abuse prevention and awareness in his home state of Oregon. Best of You Today: You say sexual abuse of children is actually accepted by the majority, the government and our institutions. What do you mean? Randy Ellison: To start, we consider sexual abuse of children a heinous and horrific crime. We prefer to not picture it happening and we definitely do not want to imagine someone we know doing these things. Perpetrators are not strangers dressed in dark clothes hanging out around schools and ice cream shops. More than 90 percent of perpetrators are known to the victim and more than 40 percent are family members. What would you say if someone accused your brother, father, uncle, minister or teacher of abuse? Likewise when institutions get a report of suspected abuse by a long-time employee they use any rationale to dismiss it. “It probably didn’t happen and if it did we’ll just believe him (or her) when they say it won’t ever happen again. Okay, now we can move on and get back to a more acceptable reality.” We are prosecuting at most two to three percent of sexual assaults on children. Remember, innocent until proven guilty and we really don’t want to believe anyone could do that. Add that most pedophiles are master con men. They not only groom their victims, they are very good at making people like them and showing how much they care about kids. 14
BOYT: In your book you talk about how it was difficult to actually look at your abuser as a predator because you had considered him a friend and mentor. Is this typical? Is it part of the reason that an abused person decides not to tell anyone? RE: Yes, it is typical in many cases. Part of the grooming process is to get the victim to bond and feel a loyalty to the perpetrator. For me, I just dissociated the abuse behavior from the rest of our relationship. I never thought about it. It would happen and I would put it away and live the more acceptable parts of life that made sense to me. Loyalty definitely is part of the reason people don’t tell. I know of several cases where pedophile ministers or priests die and their victims actually come to honor them at their memorials. BOYT: What about other factors that keep victims from speaking up? RE: Well, fear and shame are also major factors. Some victims are threatened into silence or feel the abuse was their fault. Especially with boys, they often experience a physical arousal and satisfaction from the abuse, so they feel shame from that and become conflicted over the right and wrong of it. In the developing mind of a child being sexually abused by a trusted adult or loved one is like two trains in a head on collision. The abuse is in direct conflict with everything we are taught about relationships. Every line is crossed or destroyed. BOYT: When a person is sexually abused as a child, though they may hide this aspect of their past, it manifests in many ways. What are the long-term effects of abuse? RE: A lot of survivors, me included, feel as though our souls were stolen. My abuse threw me off the track of life. I had thought I would be a minister, but not only did I not do that, I dropped out of college and drifted through several careers and life in general. I never let anyone get close to me and to help deal I became an alcoholic and drug addict. Never let anyone get close. We moved a lot as well. It was though I was running from something and doing my best to forget what that was. Eighty percent of people in residential alcohol and drug treatment programs were victims of abuse. Eighty percent of people being treated for Schizophrenia report abuse as a child. More than 50 percent of women in prison report they were abused as children. Of the 200 men (of which I was one) on Oprah for a program about male abuse, 80 percent said they had contemplated suicide and 30 percent had attempted
it. Eliminating child sexual abuse is the most impactful thing we can do to change our society for the better. BOYT: What hope can you give a survivor of abuse? What would you like to say to readers who haven’t yet admitted or spoken up about their abuse as children? RE: When we become victims of child sex abuse often our emotional maturation stops. We do not develop into the adults we were meant to be. We also lose the rest of our childhood and lock that child away. Once you get to the point of safety where you can begin to deal with your abuse, some amazing things can happen. It is an important and joyful experience to go back and honor that lost child within, even learn to play again. As I faced my fears and shame I immediately began to mature and develop. My addictions no longer rule my life. I find myself in new meaningful relationships and making friends. I am no longer alone and I am able to give and receive love freely without fear. BOYT: Can you share some final words on what survivors can do to heal? RE: If you have never spoken about or dealt openly with your abuse I encourage you to start with a friend you can trust. Counseling and therapy are a must. You cannot unpack all you have locked away by yourself. That process will require that you learn to put yourself first. You have value and you were not the cause of what happened to you. It is an extremely difficult process, but one that pays off ten-fold. You will find you can replace fear and shame with joy and satisfaction. I wish you strength for your journey. For more information on Ellison’s work, visit http://www.boysdonttell.com/
Resources For Survivors
Male Survivor http://www.malesurvivor.org/ Male Survivor describes their organization as being committed to preventing, healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men through support, treatment, research, education, advocacy, and activism. RAINN http://www.rainn.org/ The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE and the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at http://online.rainn.org, and publicizes the hotline’s free, confidential services; educates the public about sexual violence; and leads national efforts to prevent sexual violence, improve services to victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. NSVRC http://www.nsvrc.org/ The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is an information and resource hub nationwide addressing all aspects of sexual violence. The NSVRC staff collects and disseminates a wide range of resources on sexual violence including statistics, research, position statements, statutes, training curricula, prevention initiatives and program information. With these resources, the NSVRC assists coalitions, advocates and others interested in understanding and eliminating sexual violence. Information about Abusers Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. www.atsa.com The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers is an international, multi-disciplinary organization dedicated to preventing sexual abuse. Through research, education, and shared learning, ATSA promotes evidence-based practice, public policy and community strategies that lead to the effective assessment, treatment and management of individuals who have sexually abused or are at risk to abuse.
Book Review Evicting the Perpetrator By Ken Singer, 334 pages, paperback, NEARI Press, 2010
There are few resources for male survivors of sexual abuse and still fewer by an author with expertise treating both survivors and abusers. This balance of knowledge and practice makes Singer’s contribution vital. Neither a workbook nor a manual, this book is a new standard for the fields of treating abusers and survivors alike. The central mission of Evicting the Perpetrator is assisting male survivors not just in coming to terms with abuse, but in moving beyond the ways abusers and abuse can control a person’s life, often for years after the abuse. The most obvious strengths of the book include its organization and wealth of clinical examples. It would be very difficult for a survivor to feel alone or isolated after reading it. Singer addresses such global issues as what prevents survivors from telling, and why “demonizing” abusers helps keep them powerful in the life of the abused. He also addresses important topics spanning the effects of abuse on one’s sex life and self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors. There is a special appendix for friends and families of survivors. For too long, resources for male survivors of sexual abuse have fallen short on their understanding of all the people involved in the abuse. Evicting the Perpetrator changes that. —David S. Prescott The reviewer is author of Assessing Youth Who Have Sexually abused.
Center for Sex Offender Management (CSOM) www.csom.org The Center for Sex Offender Management (CSOM) is a national clearinghouse and technical assistance center that supports state and local jurisdictions in the effective management of sex offenders. CSOM aims to provide those responsible for managing sex offenders with ready access to the most current knowledge by synthesizing and disseminating research and effective practices to the field; and by offering specialized training and technical assistance on a wide variety of issues related to sex offender management. Youth Serving Organizations Preventing Child Sexual Abuse CDC http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/preventingchildabuse. html The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures [PDF 4.5MB] to assist youth-serving organizations as they begin to adopt prevention strategies for child sexual abuse. Publications Engaging Bystanders in Sexual Violence Prevention by Joan Tabachnick, http://www.nsvrc.org/publications/nsvrc-publications/engagingbystanders-sexual-violence-prevention This free book presents a compelling orientation to the importance of engaging bystanders in sexual violence prevention. The narrative provides background on the development of an approach that empowers each of us to be involved in prevention. It discusses various reasons why individuals who witness a range of inappropriate behaviors may or may not take action, and presents ways to encourage and develop greater bystander involvement. Finally, this book serves as an excellent training resource; it provides activities and trainer instructions throughout that make it a useful educational guide on bystander engagement in sexual violence prevention.
Redefining Manhood After Penn State
AP Photo/Matt Rourke
By Rob Okun
oe Paterno, the Penn State football coach who died in January The college football season ended without the general public just three months after a child rape scandal had stained his hearing much from the National Collegiate Athletic Association reputation, left behind more than a flock of adoring fans and (NCAA). That was a lost opportunity for the NCAA to exercise a growing band of critics. His legacy now includes inadver- leadership in tackling the issue of sexual abuse. There still is tently energizing the movement to stop the sexual abuse of children. time. Well before college players return to training camps this There’s more. That the heinous actions that came to light took place summer, the NCAA should announce they are financing—not in the athletic world also offers a rare, national just a one-shot teach-in at Penn State—ongoopportunity to raise questions about the culture ing trainings at colleges and universities across of sports and the silence of men. the country. What is needed is a sustained, The NCAA should Paterno did the bare minimum, reporting national campaign addressing sexual assault, finance ongoing only one rung up the chain of command what male socialization, and the masculine culture trainings on campuses of violence. Money for such an effort is not an was reported to him about his longtime assisthat address sexual tant, Jerry Sandusky—seen raping a 10-yearissue since the NCAA long ago turned college old boy in a university athletic department sports into a megabusiness. assault, male shower. While legally in the clear, morally In every state, sexual and domestic violence socialization, and the prevention Paterno missed the goal by a wide margin. coalitions are working night and day masculine culture of No points scored and a lifetime penalty. His to stop the violence; they also can and should be silence was deafening. How much more did tapped. And men’s antiviolence organizations violence. that eat at him than did the lung cancer offiincluding Men Can Stop Rape, A Call to Men, cially cited as the cause of his death? and Men Stopping Violence, among others, can Although officials could have done much more, by firing Coach play a role in an all out effort. “JoePa” (who, it was reported, planned to retire at the end of the Starting at Penn State, let’s get ESPN and Sports Illustrated to season), the university changed the rules of the game: No longer broadcast and cover the teach-ins nationwide—so students especially would hush-hush trump sound the alarm. Going forward, the can see this is a national crisis, not just a campus scandal. precedent now is: a bystander who doesn’t try to intervene, who “The bottom line,” says activist-writer Kevin Powell, “is that doesn’t try to stop an act of abuse, will be held accountable. our notions of manhood are totally and embarrassingly out of Programs and organizations like Coaching Boys into Men, control…[S]ome of us have got to stand up and say enough, that Mentors in Violence Prevention and the Waitt Institute, among we’ve got to redefine what it is to be a man… But to get to that new others, are poised to lead trainings on this lesson. They have long kind of manhood means we’ve got to really dig into our souls and facilitated workshops for students and staff on bystander interven- admit the old ways are not only not working, but are painfully hurtful tion—learning the how and why of speaking up. to women, to children, to communities, businesses, institutions, 16
and government, to sport and play, and to ourselves.” As he says, “Looking in the mirror is never easy but if not now, when?” The truth is, most men are good guys who don’t abuse women, girls, boys, or other men. A simultaneous truth is the overwhelming majority of perpetrators of abuse against women, girls and boys are male. So while the minority abuse, assault, rape, sometimes murder, we look away mouthing our sorry excuse, “That’s not me.” Men have a long history of colluding with other men in codes of silence, said Ted Bunch and Tony Porter in a statement posted on their A Call to Men website (acalltomen.com), not long after the Penn State revelations came to light. “This pervasive silence among men in our culture to protect the status quo, to win at any cost, and never tell on your brother is a glaring example of how destructive the current model…of manhood operates to demean, diminish and oppress anyone… not considered a ‘real man’ in our society. Our fear of being perceived as less than a man or weak, keeps us in line with these codes, regardless of right and wrong.” To too many, being a whistleblower is out of the question, especially after our boyhoods reinforced the message of never being a tattletale. Only when men recognize our relationship to perpetrator, bystander, and-or victim, can we become most effective as change agents. Wherever the silence comes from, it ignores our collective responsibility to insist more men join women in working to end rape and abuse. Out of the scandal at Penn State may come some good: the sexual abuse of boys may no longer remain invisible, “kept under the tight cloak of domination, stigma and internalized masculinity,” as Men’s Resources International’s Steven Botkin reminds us. “The impact of this reality feeds the male violence machine in ways we may not yet fully understand,” Botkin says. “Our collective silence about this part of the system means many of its victims go unrecognized and limits our capacity for intervention and prevention.”
Women have long been on the front lines of efforts to end domestic and sexual violence. They and girls, boys, and men should be free both from actual harm and the threat of abuse. For more than a quarter century, more and more men have joined them, challenging the masculine culture of aggression even as it digs in, continuing its efforts to bully us. Beyond all the trainings and teach-ins, we need individual men to mobilize right now—from isolated rural outbacks to teeming urban centers; from high up in the grandstands to the sidelines at midfield. There’s the whistle; what are we waiting for? A version of editor Rob Okun’s commentary appeared Thanksgiving Day at Women’s eNews (www.womensenews.org). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information: Coaching Boys into Men www.CoachesCorner.org Mentors in Violence Prevention www.jacksonkatz.com The Waitt Institute www.wivp.waittinstitute.org/ A Call to Men www.acalltomen.org
Men Can Stop Rape www.mencanstoprape.org Men’s Resources International www.mensreourcesinternational.org Men Stopping Violence www.menstoppingviolence.org Kevin Powell www.kevinpowell.net
Speaking Out About Staying Silent
By Donna Jenson
hen I was eight years old, I never knew which night my father would come into my room. When he was done with me, he’d always say, “You tell anyone and I’ll kill you.” Petrified and ashamed, believing his threat, I never told anybody. This secret stayed buried in a dirt pile at the back of my brain. For 40 years. But now I tell. I started telling a few years before each of my parents died. My silence had layers. The first layer was fear. The second got formed from believing it was somehow my fault; this wouldn’t happen to a “good” child. Another was shame for having come from a family that would abuse and not protect its children. In sexual assaults, there are victims, offenders and bystanders. Bystanders are those who know or suspect something is wrong. The late Coach Joe Paterno was our nation’s most famous bystander. If I could have spoken directly to him, I would have said, “Carpe diem, Coach Paterno! Seize the day. One hell of an opportunity lies before you. Step up to the microphones and the cameras; face those thousands of adoring Penn State students who are outraged at your 18
being fired and say, ‘Stop worrying about me. I got fired because I didn’t do everything I could have to protect those boys. Because I didn’t do everything I should have to stop a man from harming them. Take this energy you’re spending on me and use it to change the world so this doesn’t happen to your children.’” If only he had. Everyone who has heard about this tragedy is now a bystander. In the aftermath of the Penn State earthquake I’m thinking about the 39 million people in our country who’ve been sexually assaulted (according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). And thinking about the kids who are going to be abused today and tomorrow makes my pen stop and my brain freeze. Someone’s going to be sexually abused for the very first time today and we’re living in a world that can’t keep it from happening. There are bystanders who don’t want survivors to tell, who can’t endure the awful exposure of people they love, trust or know— present or past. My family has responded in all the ways one can imagine—some believe and support me—some are angry I told and
shun me—the rest are stunned to silence. Telling brings a freedom that’s palpable. For me it’s been a release from a coat of armor glued to my skin and a rusty chain wrapped around my heart. All keeping the very best of me locked away. The majority of survivors haven’t told yet, haven’t felt safe enough, supported enough or connected enough to tell just one person how they were harmed. The culture’s got a lock on keeping these secrets. Nothing will change as long as the truth is locked away. Why has this Penn State fiasco stirred up such a maelstrom of attention and outrage? It appears much larger than the public reaction to the very same thing that’s been happening for years in the Catholic Church. Could sports be a higher form of worship than religion in our country? Whatever the reason, I am sorrowfully glad it is so. A window of opportunity has opened in our airwaves and around our kitchen tables. I’m calling out to everyone who was disturbed, enraged and confused by all the stories coming out of Penn State, wondering what any one person could possibly do to help. You can help. You can make a difference. There is power in the simple act of listening; help unlock the secrets by listening. Silence is broken when 1) survivors tell and 2) the people they tell listen. The Penn State aftershocks are bringing painful reminders to countless survivors. Some will be moved to speak, many perhaps for the first time. Get ready to listen. It’s the first step. Thirty-nine million of us are sitting on a vast morass of truth. Believe it. The sooner our country gets to that truth to see how wide and deep it is—the sooner we can start figuring out together how to prevent it from happening over and over, again and again. Donna Jenson, founder of Time to Tell, is the playwright-performer of the one-woman show, What She Knows: One Woman’s Way Through Incest ( w w w. t i m e t o t e l l . org). Versions of this commentary appeared in three newspapers, including The Chicago Tribune. She can be reached at djenson@ crocker.com.
I see a time when the silence around childhood sexual abuse has ended. When everyone, whether unaware, touched, or ravaged by this devastation, can speak and be heard. A time where all victims, survivors, bystanders, abusers, families, communities and whole societies will find a way through this cycle of violence—a way through to a time when every child is protected from sexual harm and is nurtured into wholeness. —Donna Jenson
he power of healing trumps the anguish of pain. Although playwright-performer Donna Jenson might say it differently, her one-woman play, What She Knows—based on her experience surviving incest—does just that, shaping the raw clay of a childhood violated by a broken father and firing it in the white-hot oven of art. Her finished piece glows with the heat of injustice, cooled by a mountain stream of tears. Finally, it is polished smooth by love, selfcare and healing. Jenson’s hour-long play, which she has been performing for the last three years at conferences, colleges, and correctional facilities—even a school for young male sex offenders—is a dramatic doorway into a topic most people would rather keep shut. Jenson’s textured performance is
all the more captivating because despair and triumph. Backed by Sheldon’s of its music: master guitarist bluesy groove, the pair belt out a crackling John Sheldon, whose songs verse of “Jailhouse Rock” as the audihave been recorded by James ence identifies with Francie’s unfolding Taylor, composed and sensi- awareness of the dysfunction surrounding tively performs a heart-stirring her—and celebrates her as she grows in original score. inner strength and personal awareness, What She Knows recounts ultimately reclaiming her life. the story of Francie, a young Rather than sending playgoers out into girl growing up in a mid- the street after the play, Jenson returns on western family where honesty stage to lead post performance conversais subverted and secrecy and tions with audience members to explore denial have honored places issues the play raised for them. A mental at the supper table. On the health counselor is on hand at perforone hand, the play is the mances for anyone needing professional story of a trio of stinging support. “The play stirs a lot of emotion, betrayals: a father violating Jenson says. “It’s important to take time, his daughter, a mother’s to create safe space to talk together. The silence, and a brother’s dialogues are vital.” rejection. On the other, “There’s things I’ve done to others/ it is the story of a woman’s And things that have been done to me,” courage, of a tenacious insistence on truth croons John Sheldon performing his telling as a path to healing. ballad, “The Way Through” at the start of “The audience is able to be right there the play. “Things I’ve never talked about/ with Francie as a survivor of child sexual Things that I’ve let no one see/…There abuse,” Jenson explains. “What happened are strangers in the road/There might be to her, and its impact, is explored through a angels, too/There is no way out, but there single story line. Too often people only get might be a way through.” fragments of survivor experiences—snapThere’s no might about it; What She shots and shards that fall short of relating Knows does offer a way through. a whole picture.” From the dark corners of memory and For information about upcoming the open space of personal truth, Jenson, performances, Sheldon’s CD of music who for many years has worked as an from the play, or booking What She Knows, organizational and leadership consultant visit www.timetotell.org. to scores of groups and individuals, is —Rob Okun at heart a sister warrior on a mission: to tell the truth about what happens in families where sexual abuse goes unchallenged. Rich with detail—the audience is easily able visualize the tidy, ordered home Francie’s mother keeps straightening—to Francie’s own John Sheldon composed an original score for Donna Jenson’s play What She Knows. moments of
What She Knows: One Woman’s Way Through Incest
What Kind of Man Am I? By Jason Sperber
he following is a list of stereotypical traits, interests, preocI do not drink or like beer. Any beer. I am not a teetotaler by any cupations, aptitudes, abilities, and roles, both silly and means, but I’d rather have a cold hard cider or a Rum and Coke or a serious, trivial and not, historically associated and correlated chilled glass of Riesling (yeah, not a big red wine drinker, either) than with masculinity, manhood, and maleness via both societal mores and a pint of trendy microbrew or a can of commercial swill. popular culture, which I, in my 37 years of life as a straight male, And if all you have is beer, then, yeah, sorry, I’ll go non-alc, but have totally and utterly failed to adopt, incorporate into myself, and thanks for offering. I don’t hunt, I don’t like guns, I can’t shoot a bow live up to: or wield a knife or take someone down with a move gleaned from I do not enjoy a UFC cage match. playing, either physiSorry, but rifle class at cally or via virtual Boy Scout camp (and statistics-based fantasy yeah, I’m an Eagle league, or watching, Scout) didn’t help via televised broadcast much. Not so much or in person, sports, with the roughhousing including but not either. limited to: football; I’ve had two brief basketball; golf; wrescareers as a high school tling; boxing; hockey; social studies teacher bowling; NASCAR; and as an online jourtennis; bull riding; nalist and community ultimate Frisbee; manager. In neither curling; street luge; of those jobs did the competitive rowing; salaries even approach and squash. the expected earnings I am not, and of my wife, who is have never been, a a physician, and we “handy” or “D.I.Y.”knew that would be type person. I did not the case going in, do my own kitchen when we got engaged remodeling or snake as college students and my own sewer line to she was on the road unblock the tree roots to becoming a doctor which used to cause and I thought I’d be a my toilet to overflow teacher for the rest of every winter. I will my life. not be building my Even before kids, kids a handmade playI did more if not most house or wiring my of the cooking and own surround-sound laundry in our housesystem so as to avoid hold, and since we nail punctures and “I am the stay-at-home father of two amazing daughters. I am an at-home parent by choice.” became parents, I do self-electrocution. The almost all the cooking last time I worked with tools to craft something with my own hands and laundry. (Growing up, my father the teacher did all the cooking was my Pinewood Derby car when I was a Boy Scout, and even that while my mother, who stopped teaching for health reasons, did the was with my dad’s help. (Did I mention that he has a garage full of laundry.) tools and table saws and whatnot and that he built my childhood I am the stay-at-home-father of two amazing daughters. I am home’s deck? And that he played high school football?) an at-home-parent by choice, and know that my family is lucky, I am not what you would call a “car person.” I do not have memo- economically, to be able to have that be a choice, rather than a finanrized the features and statistical details of my fantasy sports car or cial impossibility or a forced situation. truck or SUV, because I do not have a fantasy sports car or truck or Now, I know, and have already preemptively acknowledged SUV. I do not know how the car that I do drive works, and I do not above, that these are all stereotypes, some of them cruder than others. know how to fix it if it stops working. (See the item above about not Before people start freaking out, I know that “football + cars + beer being a do-it-yourselfer.) = masculinity” is a vast oversimplification veering on a bad joke. I 20
know that. I’m not being totally serious here. And I’m not even saying that I don’t regret some of the above—sure, I’d love to be the kind of person (not guy, but person) who can fix stuff around the house without calling in the professionals. And yet… And yet… Every single one of the examples above has been used, implicitly and explicitly, in seriousness and in jest, interpersonally and via mass media generalization, to question and cast doubt on my masculinity, my manhood, my maleness, my de facto membership in a real or imagined brotherhood of men. And taken all together, well… Why am I bringing this up? I certainly had no intention of plunging either headlong or reluctantly sideways in to the debate over redefining manhood and the “plight” of modern men. Then again, I’m already in the middle of it, aren’t I, just by self-consciously calling myself a “dad blogger” and writing about stuff like “involved fatherhood” and being a SAHD. And then, not long ago, I was reading a blogpost, by, like most blogposts I read, a fellow parent blogger (in this case, a mom blogger). It was a list of lessons she wanted to teach her sons. It’s innocuous and heartwarming enough, full of things like love and learning and responsibility. But it starts with this: “Decide who you want to be. Decide what kind of man you want to become. Everyday behave like that man. You will fail often, keep going.” Number eight is what stopped me up short: “It’s OK to be a man. If you want you can be loud, you can play sports, you can hunt and be rough. You don’t have to act like women no matter what is politically correct at the moment. In fact, try to always be politically incorrect. Political correctness kills truth and the ability to think for oneself.” And I know she was just talking to her own kids, from her own experiences and her own beliefs, and not necessarily trying to tell anyone else what to do or think or be or feel, but… I couldn’t let this go, couldn’t get it out of my head. If we are empowered to decide what kind of men we want to be, then why does it feel like we’re still being told there’s a definition, out there, of what a man is that we’re supposed to measure up to? Or even further, that there’s a (good old, traditional) definition of a man that we can and should be in opposition to and because of other newer, different, less masculine, more feminized versions of “man” somebody is forcing upon us? Again, I’m not saying the writer is saying any of this, only that this was my reaction,
coming from my life experiences. It’s okay to be a man. But what does that mean? It’s OK to be loud, and play sports, and be rough— echoes of the traditional image of what a man is supposed to be—but what about the opposite? Is it okay OK to be quiet, and hate sports, and be gentle? Is that still being a man? If that’s the kind of man one chooses to be, is that OK? Does that still count? (I’m not even going to get into other thornier issues like belief and sexuality vis-a-vis definitions
I know that football + cars + beer = masculinity is a vast simplification veering on a bad joke.
of manhood, though you can probably guess where I stand.) Even amongst the diverse community of dad bloggers there’s a feeling of, “Yeah, look at us, we change diapers and cook and we parent-not-babysit-dammit, but we still hang out and watch the game with the guys tipping back a cold one.” Well, what about those of us who are into the former but not the latter? Or is it just me? I am not a father of boys. But I was a boy, once upon a time, not too long ago, or at least I like to think so. And I’ve already told you what kind of boy I was, and what kind of man I grew to be. And I taught plenty of teenaged boys, hurtling toward their own definitions of adult manhood, when I was a high school teacher last decade. And even now, when I volunteer at my oldest daughter’s elementary school or just observe as I walk across campus, I don’t see some entrenched PC culture war being waged, successfully or not, to turn boys into, well, me. I still see those traditional roles and ideas normalized, reinforced, lionized, on the playground, on the sidewalk, in the classroom, by their peers and adults alike. And for boys whose definitions of young manhood are different, who don’t play ball on the field or blacktop or act in “boy” ways and do “boy” things, well, I don’t see them. I’m not saying they’re not there, but just like me at that age, in that
situation, maybe they’re off somewhere else, doing their own thing, not calling attention to themselves, because everything they’ve imbibed about what it means to be a man tells them to avoid that attention or suffer the consequences. The day after I read that list, I read a column by Hugo Schwyzer, “The Opposite of Man is Boy, Not Woman” on the Good Men Project website (www.goodmenproject. com). In the piece, which is about gender as performance, he wrote, “[M]en who long for a vanished world of all-male preserves are making a fundamental mistake about masculinity. They think that the opposite of ‘man’ is ‘woman’ and that in order to prove oneself the former they must do (perform) things that no woman can. But it makes good sense to suggest that the better antonym of ‘man’ is ‘boy.’ To ‘perform masculinity’ isn’t about doing what women don’t. It’s about doing what boys lack the will or maturity to do.” Obviously, it’s not just men who conceive of acting like or being a man as the opposite of acting like or being a woman. And it’s a false dichotomy, one which serves only to perpetuate stereotypes and unnecessary gender(ed) roles and to make outcast and abnormal those who stray from those tropes. And it’s a falsehood that I don’t want to teach to my daughters. So who am I? And what does it mean, then, for me, to be a man? It means that I’m a feminist. And an anti-racist. I’m an activist, and an educator, and a father, and a partner, and a person of color, standing for change, working for justice. And I know that my definitions of all of those labels may be different from yours, and hell, they may be different from mine in a year or two. And that’s OK, because identity is process. Ultimately, I am who I need to be for my children, my partner, myself and our communities. And all of that is what makes me a man. Jason Sperber is a writer, social media/ online community specialist, and at-homedad to two daughters. He blogs about being a stay-at-home-dad at daddy in a strange land, is co-founder and coordinator of Rice Daddies, a group blog by Asian American fathers, and is a contributing columnist at Love Isn’t Enough, an anti-racist parenting blog published by New Demographic. A version of this article first appeared at daddyinastrangeland.wordpress.com. Spring 2012
Men & Health
Living and Loving with Erectile Dysfunction
The issue of erectile dysfunction (ED) is too often an underdiscussed topic among men. Men with erectile dysfunction often are ashamed, isolated and silent. In this brave first-person account of his decades-long experience with ED, “George” offers a moving story and pragmatic advice for both men and women. He notes that while “my article speaks solely of my experience in heterosexual relationships” he hopes others will share with Voice Male—and the greater men’s community—how ED affects gay and bi men.
wenty-five years ago I sought other “pregnant men” to share our hopes and fears about impending fatherhood. While there may have been some interested dads-to-be out there, I never found them. Fathering wasn’t “hot” then. It also wasn’t taboo. A decade later, though, when erectile dysfunction (ED) gradually began affecting me, I was totally on my own. I didn’t know anyone with the condition, had nowhere to go, and no one to ask for help. In retrospect my ED clues started at age 44, though I wasn’t sure then that something was wrong. Occasionally, I wondered – but was scared to do anything. Fortunately, I had learned from feminism—so central to my earlier men’s movement activism—to remember I wasn’t ruled by my penis. Sex should be holistic, I believed, not primarily defined by intercourse, or by my genitals. Emotionally, though, it was totally different. I wasn’t crushed, but I was seriously hurting. Sadly, I hurt alone.
Lost at 47 I was looking forward to a wonderful, long weekend with my love. We were going to chill out from life’s pressures, relax, catch up on things together, and share the magic of our normal extended hours of sweet lovemaking. Then a one hundred percent failure—I couldn’t get it up! Maybe, I told myself, I was just tired from the trip. We relaxed…no pressure, sweetie…no talk about what had just happened. Several hours later—a repeat non-performance—Ground Hog Day. Again, we pretended everything was okay. The next day was déjà vu all over again. On top of my obvious failures, our usual cuddling just didn’t feel right to me. 22
There had always been a relaxed informality to our lovemaking. Intercourse wasn’t our main focus. It was part of our unhurried, soothing, incredible times together, but it wasn’t “it.” Still, I was really shook! I remembered occasional premature ejaculation decades back, but I had never previously “failed” with my love. I hadn’t been drunk or sick, so why couldn’t I get it up? Once, sure, a fluke; but five, six, seven repeated failures—what the fuck was going on?! We lived 2000 miles apart. A long-distance relationship brought its own set of problems. Now, I felt a further distance; serious unrelated issues had come up for me that weekend. It was an isolating, lonely time. Despite my love’s desires to work through our issues, I decided to break off the relationship. Over the next several years my ED affected me in limited ways. I had no dramatic failures, but sex was never easy. I was in a longterm relationship, but my partner and I avoided talking about our growing emotional distance. Sexual issues seemed secondary to other concerns. Although it no doubt would have been a big help, I never talked seriously with my best friend. When I tried to talk about my ED, he seemed uncomfortable. I certainly couldn’t talk with co-workers or anyone at the health club!
A Few Years Later By the time I turned 52 my self-esteem had plummeted as my ED symptoms intensified. I didn’t hide my ED issues from my new partner. At first we didn’t understand how seriously it would affect our relationship. My penis became a distant “other.” Sometimes I thought it was erect when it was totally soft. Sometimes it was almost the opposite. One of us always had to feel it to tell if it was erect enough to consider intercourse. I was increasingly stung by my partner’s words: “You’re not hard enough.” Though not spoken with malice, her words really hurt. I had trouble sharing my feelings. I felt like I owed her what I couldn’t give. Despite her reassuring words, I was scared she’d leave me.
At my partner’s request, I made an appointment with my physician to get a prescription for Viagra. Although he had previously seemed attuned to my medical needs, he told me he knew very little about ED and seemed uncomfortable with the topic. Maybe I was hypersensitive, but it sure felt like he couldn’t wait to get on to his next patient. I was hurting and I left the office feeling like he didn’t care. He did, at least, refer me to a urologist. That doctor could find no clear cause for my ED, a fairly common occurrence. He gave me samples of Levitra, Cialis and Viagra to try. Viagra was the only one that worked that had no serious accompanying side effects. At first I was able to achieve significant erections around 30-50 minutes after I took it. Still, my erections felt awkward, different in ways I can’t easily describe. We had to plan times to make love. It couldn’t be too soon after meals or when I was exhausted. After waiting for a pill to take effect, a specific routine began: 1) I’d be “tested” for hardness. 2) If my penis was hard enough, we’d rush into prep mode—she would apply a lubricant. 3) We would then immediately attempt intercourse. There was no more taking care of her desires or needs first. To me, that felt wrong, very wrong. I was always terrified that my erection would disappear. Intercourse became planned, nonpleasurable—a chore for both of us Although I thought I needed successful intercourse to feel good about myself, with increasing failures, I was scared to try. Absurd as it may sound, I was nostalgic for my increasingly distant memories of wet dreams and morning piss hard-ons. About a year after first using Viagra, we gave up on it. By then I nearly always either couldn’t get erections or would quickly lose them as soon as we tried to have intercourse.
Lessons I’ve Learned Physicians initially seek to “cure” men’s ED so we can have healthy sex lives. We are screened for underlying medical conditions (including undiagnosed potentially life threatening ones) and for medications whose side effects might cause our ED. Blood tests and routine exams focus on common causes such as low testosterone or high cholesterol, and/or blood pressure levels. Low testosterone can make us seem like “little boys” who can’t achieve erections and have no interest in sex. Antidepressants and other meds, such as those we take to fight cancer, also can cause ED. My testosterone levels were normal. My cholesterol and blood pressure levels were high normal (possibly, but not conclusively related—lowering them, it turned out, didn’t change anything). No doctor ever determined what caused my ED, sadly too common an outcome. You can imagine my frustration. I didn’t want a bunch of explanations; I simply wanted my problem fixed. For many men sex = intercourse = affection. Feeling that they are no longer “a real man,” many escape into work, television, porn, or other distractions. Shame and fear distance us from our emotions. We try to hide them from our partners who often feel rejected. They blame themselves after acting “nicer” or “sexier” fails to help. Men commonly make a bad situation worse by either showing obvious anger or remaining deliberately stoic. Many men with ED resist seeking sustained medical help. If our initial medical efforts don’t go well, we rarely persist in seeking better, more accepting help. Living with ED can easily result in each partner badly hurting. We want support. Often, both partners are emotionally isolated, not feeling safe to talk with friends, family—or each other. How we can help ourselves and our lovers? My partner and I have struggled through my ED together. We’ve learned to listen, to talk honestly, and to share our deepest feelings. We’ve tried multiple medical options. We both agreed that a “final option”—a penile
prosthetic implant (which involves significant surgery)—was not desirable for me or us. Physical intimacy such as gentle nuzzles, simple hugs, and soft kisses—are all important for both of us. We’ve learned to sexually explore what works and feels good for each of us. This includes using various parts of our bodies as well as sex toys. Achieving an orgasm without a fully erect penis is more difficult, but is still pleasurable. My love lives with the reality that we can’t have the “quickies” she’d like. We both miss the closeness intercourse can provide. Still, we both appreciate our shared emotional and physical intimacy. I’ve written about ED several times on my blog. I’ve found limited, but important support through an email group: “supportEDpartners” (http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/supportEDpartners/ ) which, though primarily for women, is accepting of men’s participation. Men with ED can improve our lives—and those of our partners— by telling our stories. We can help end the stigma and resulting emotional isolation by reaching out to each other. We can learn a lot from each other. “George” did men’s anti-rape organizing in the 1980s. In October 2010, he launched A Men’s Project (www.AMensProject.com). It contains links for resources on issues of concern to men and boys. He welcomes email dialogue at: “info” at his website name. Voice Male’s editor asked me to provide listings for a sidebar to help other men find help for their erectile dysfunction issues. As best as I can tell I’m the only “out” man with ED visible on the Internet who has written substantively about the condition. Searching the web I find women’s videos on YouTube speaking about how their male partners need help. Men are visible solely as medical experts or as commercial vendors. Please email me (“info” at website, www. AMensProject.com to ask questions, dialog, or to offer information or helpful resources. —”George”
The Prison Birth Project working to provide support, education and advocacy to women and girls at the intersection of the criminal justice system and motherhood.
www.theprisonbirthproject.org Spring 2012
Women Supporting Men Supporting Men
By Frederick Marx
believe men need to enroll women in the work of supporting men’s growth. Men also need to help women understand how growing and healing men—how empathizing with and understanding men—better serves them. In fact, it better serves women and children and other men, too; it serves all of us. Consequently, nothing frustrates me more than hearing women deride the work that men do to heal themselves. It’s completely self-defeating. I served for a year as unpaid center director for the Northern California ManKind Project community in 1999 (www.mankindproject. org). I took a call once from a woman who was concerned about her husband coming to our weekend workshop. It was bad enough the man hadn’t made an empowered decision on his own to do—or not do—the weekend. He referred his wife to me so I could convince her that it was okay for him to do it. (That alone, I thought, was enough to make him a prime candidate for our work.) But instead of talking with him I spent about a half hour on the phone with his wife. I answered every question she had, addressing her every concern about the weekend. But rather than be relieved and grow calmer, she seemed to become more agitated. Finally, I realized she was going to find some reason to object to our work no matter what. Sure enough, after I didn’t satisfy her with my answer to one very specific question, she suddenly started getting heated, projecting all sorts of accusations—that I was sexist, misogynistic, and worse. She finally had gotten to the place she had apparently wanted to go 24
to all along—slamming the phone down in disgust but not before saying, “My husband will never do your weekend!” Women like her must think they are protecting themselves when they interfere with “men’s work.” But, I believe, they’re actually making their own lives harder. They are contributing to both their and their partner’s unhappiness. And it all comes from fear. My guess is this woman was deep in fear that her husband would come back a changed man in ways that would feel threatening to her. Perhaps he’d no longer love her. Perhaps he’d no longer defer to her. Women have good reason to fear when men go off together. All too often going off together has been an excuse for men to get drunk, go whoring, to prey on the weak. All too often the victims of those kinds of men’s gatherings are women themselves, or children, or men of color, or gay men, or men suspected of being gay. All too often men return lesser men than when they left. But what about when men go off together to teach each other how to become better men? That happens, too. That’s another kind of men’s gathering. It used to be common for every indigenous society to initiate its boys into adulthood—to teach them the rights and responsibilities of adult citizenship. In a sense this was the very fulfillment of the village—to create generativity, to protect the village from future harm from within, to ensure its survival and continuity. The challenge is to make initiations and healing work for men so commonplace that women will implicitly understand and accept such gatherings.
In her otherwise brilliant 1999 then safe places where men can go book, Stiffed: The Betrayal of the to be alone with other men. The fact American Man, feminist author is men need to be taught by men Susan Faludi made a critical how to be men. And it takes very mistake: deriding men’s healing strong containers to hold a man’s work. She reduces men doing passage. Men will buck and resist, that work—going off to the woods partly because they fear that no together, resuscitating their impriscontainer can possibly hold all the oned “Wildman,” summoning their grief and rage they carry. But hold “Inner King”—to their most superit we can and do. ficial and reductive meanings, their Smart women understand that most juvenile connotations. It there are multiple venues and was a terrible mistake. But it’s a circumstances where men teach mistake many women make, and other men, and boys, about being not only feminists. Men need to men. The more formal ways are encourage women to understand mentioned above. But there are that it’s safe to let go of these plenty of informal ways. Going judgments. camping, hiking or hunting, For some reason men’s drumweekend workshops, men’s support ming circles seem to be a common groups. Sports can do it. The militarget of derision. Why? What’s tary can do it. Work can do it. Yes, even a few drinks at a bar with wrong with a drumming circle? There are few better ways to get the guys or hanging out in some The fact is men need to be men grounded, out of their heads man cave can do it. The proof is and into their bodies, and out of taught by men how to be men… always in the pudding. Does the their isolated sense of self into man (or young man) return from a common experience of group. Men will buck and resist, partly the gathering with a wiser, more Drumming together can be a powermature attitude? With a more loving because they fear that no fully communal, growthful, even available heart? With more container can possibly hold all and joyful experience. humor and light? Or does he return the grief and rage they carry. angry, closed, protective, resentful, Some years ago, when I was making a feature film in Iowa, the fearful? Or worse, completely But it can. morning was going badly. The drunk or stoned, aggressive, and crew was taking a long time to set violent? up; things were chaotic. I asked a musician friend, Johnsie, who was A wise woman always recognizes when a man needs to get out and on set that day to help our stars with a choreographed scene, if he’d be with other men. He’s getting short with her and the kids, he’s not start drumming. Something amazing happened! Within minutes I listening anymore, or worse, he’s starting to act out aggressively. A could feel the crew grow more synchronous. Stress and dis-ease wise woman will urge her man to take space. Now. This truth was vanished off nearly everyone’s faces, replaced by smiles. In no time beautifully demonstrated to me on a men’s weekend back in 1996. we were quickly prepared and ready to shoot. When asked why he was there a man from rural Wisconsin said, “My Could it be some women fear men drumming together because wife saw how impatient and angry I was getting with her. She told some primordial impulse kicks in? Do they fear there will be me, ‘It’s time for you to go be with the men.’” violence, that they will be attacked? Perhaps. Certainly in different So sisters, when it’s a man’s time to go to be with the men, cultures around the planet drumming was often a prelude to battle. support him in that choice. And if he doesn’t return a better man then But may it also be another product of Zero Sum thinking? That, “If it’s time for him to consider joining different men under different it’s good for men it must be bad for women.” circumstances. But it’s important that women support his seeking: All the smart women I know (and I know plenty) cherish the men men going off with men to teach each other how to be men is an act in their lives for doing personal growth work. They realize how it that should be honored. makes women themselves safer, happier, more loved. They realize And men, it’s our responsibility to teach the women in our lives they need not be threatened. They realize how well served they will the difference between serving our shadow self and serving our be by a man’s growth. Why? Because a powerful man understands growth. Teaching by words and by example. If we demonstrate to that his life has to be lived at least partly in service to the feminine women we’re actually doing right by them, getting that support will if he wants to live a life of mission. be much easier. Women can actually be proud when they see their Protecting the realm, promoting harmony, creating abundance men going off to be with other men. Imagine that! It’s not that hard for family, community, nation, usually means at some point serving to make happen. women and children. It means doing more than just keeping women Voice Male contributor Frederick Marx is an and children safe, it means making the necessary sacrifices to Academy and Emmy nominated filmmaker most promote their wellbeing and growth. It means helping them thrive. known for Hoop Dreams. His newest film is A powerful man with a clearly articulated mission understands that on rites of passage for teen boys: http://www. truth. warriorfilms.org/boys-become-men A version of The paradox is that it takes a cauldron of powerful masculine this article appears on his website, http://www. energy to get a man to that point. It takes men going off in the warriorfilms.org/warrior-films/2012/1/1/womenwoods together, it takes men joining each other in exclusive circles supporting-men-supporting-men.html. of support, it takes drumming circles, it takes, if not “men’s clubs,” Spring 2012
• The Guy’s Guide to Feminism • The Guy’s Guide to Feminism • The Guy’s Guide to Feminism • raged to pursue sports. They didn’t have as good coaching. Their schools didn’t have as good programs for them. So they didn’t develop. Michael: Maybe so, but it’s biology, man. Men are stronger, faster. Michael: True, the fastest women won’t ever outrun the fastest men, the strongest women won’t out-row or jump as high as the strongest men. But you’re missing three things. One, the fastest and most athletic women are faster and more athletic than 99.9 percent of men on the planet. Two, now that there’s more support for girls’ sports, the gap between men’s and women’s records is decreasing. Women’s sports are getting more exciting all the time. And, three, you’re full of crap. Michael: Man, would you want to see your girlfriend in a jock strap? Michael: What’s that supposed to mean? By Michael Kaufman and Michael Kimmel
The Guys Guide to Feminism (Seal Press, 2011) is a witty, politically savvy, entertaining primer on a topic many men still struggle with—how accepting feminism actually can improve guys’ lives. An A-Z guide, the book features facts, faux interviews, and history. The authors, both Voice Male national advisory board members, have been addressing issues related to men and masculinity for decades. Each has spoken at scores of colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada and are the authors of a number of books including The Possibility of Dreaming on a Night Without Stars (Kaufman) and Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men (Kimmel).
Michael: It means I’m trying to get a laugh from the audience so they don’t have to listen to your argument. Anyway, everyone would prefer to watch men’s sports. Michael: I wonder if that’s because we give them a lot more attention. They’re the ones that get written about in papers and highlighted on TV. We know the characters and the stories. We’re raised with images of the male sports hero. Men’s leagues get defined as the real things. In basketball, we have the NBA and the Women’s NBA, as if it’s the Ladies Auxiliary. In golf the PGA and the Ladies PGA. It’s pretty clear that the men’s leagues are the real deal and women don’t count as much. Michael: Listen, Michael, don’t get me wrong. I like seeing chicks play sports. I got a whole DVD of beach volleyball in slow motion. Michael: [sigh]
Michael: I’m here today with Michael K. Michael: Hey man, great to be on your show again. Michael: You got pretty roughed up last week.
Excerpted from The Guy’s Guide to Feminism by Michael Kaufman and Michael Kimmel. Available from Seal Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright 2011. http://guysguidetofeminism.com/
Michael: (Grins) Just a scratch, man, just a scratch. (Cut to slow motion of Michael K getting totally creamed so audience can be dazzled by his toughness.) Michael: You’re one tough dude. Michael: Which is why you don’t see no women playing football. Michael: Wait a minute now, Michael. Where’re you coming from, dude? Michael: Planet Earth, man. I mean, why do men make more money playing sports than women? It’s because we’re more athletic. Michael: What would you say if I told you it’s because of sexism? Michael: I’d say you’re a mangina. What’re you talking about? Just look at Olympic records. Michael: A lot of that is because for most of the 20th century, women didn’t have the same opportunities. They weren’t encouSpring 2012
Sexual Assault: It’s War
By Randy Ellison
ot long ago I read an article headlined “Stop Telling Women How to Not Get Raped.” Victim blaming and offensive, it set up the equation ass backwards. If we make women responsible for not getting raped, must we then think they’re responsible for getting raped? It is high time we focus efforts on young men and boys, teaching respect of others and holding men accountable for their actions. The next night NBC Nightly News reported on a press conference by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on rape in the military. According to the story there were 3,191 reported cases of sexual assault in the military last year. Of those, only eight percent were prosecuted and two percent resulted in convictions. Based on their own studies they believe the number of sexual assaults in the military last year was closer to 19,000—more than 15,000 more! The numbers suggest a woman in the military is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than attacked by the enemy. It makes me wonder who the real enemy is. Secretary Panetta said he finds the situation unacceptable, and says he has a moral duty to keep people safe from attack by their fellow soldiers. What is his solution alleviate the situation? A new policy, outlined below: • The military will allow the victim to transfer to another location • Appropriate officials will report the cases to civilian law enforcement • The military will train investigators and prosecutors to achieve the same level of awareness as civilians working in the field Ain’t that grand? They will allow the victim to leave her friends and home and move away to a new place to keep her safe? Excuse me, but WTF! You’re the victim of a brutal attack that will impact you the rest of your life and you’re supposed to move and let the attacker, uh, perpetrator—the rapist stay home and continue his life as though nothing happened? (Unless of course he happens to be the one-tenth of one percent actually charged with the crime.) What Kool Aid was the Secretary of Defense drinking? 28
Although billed as a press conference to address sexual assault— a raging crisis within the military—rather than maintaining his focus on rape within the armed forces, Secretary Panetta chose to respond to five questions about our military posturing in the Middle East! If that is any indication of how serious the military—and the mainstream media—are taking the rape of women and children, we’ve got a long way to go to bring about a substantive change in a chilling aspect of military culture. Not to be cynical but the timing of Secretary Panetta’s announcement came just two days before the new documentary The Invisible War premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (see accompanying story). This powerful film exposes how widespread rape in the military is, exposing the shocking ignorance of those in command. The military women who are raped suffer the same effects as survivors of child sexual abuse: PTSD, shame, poor selfesteem, attempted suicides, difficulty with trust in relationships, alcohol and drug abuse and eating disorders—the latter efforts to either hide or fill the void in their lives left in the wake of this heinous crime. To be fair, the situation in the military is no different than elsewhere in society. Churches, schools, colleges, athletic programs, scouts, anywhere you find women or boys or girls it’s likely you’ll also find predators, often with a quick smile and a ready handshake hoping to get them alone. Despite the growing level of awareness about sexual assault, how long will we continue to do no more than give lip service? Isn’t it time for all potential victims—including non-predatory men—to come together to stop this madness? It’s simple: Either stand up against sexual violence or be an accomplice to it. This is war. Choose your side. Randy Ellison is a victim’s advocate, agitating for change in the area of child sexual abuse. He is author of Boys Don’t Tell: Ending the Silence of Abuse (Morgan-Jones, 2012). See his interview, page 14). He can be reached at Randy@boysdonttell.com.
The Invisible War
Exposing Rape in U.S. Military By Sharon Waxman
ape in the American armed forces is an issue that has quietly been gathering attention over the past decade. But it exploded with the power of suppressed fury at the Sundance Film Festival in late January at a screening of the documentary The Invisible War, a devastating indictment of the government’s inaction on the issue. Director Kirby Dick brought a powerful weapon to his film: victim after eloquent victim, Navy, Marine, Coast Guard, Army and Air Force veterans who were assaulted by fellow officers, supervisors or recruits. They tell their stories in courageous detail, and it quickly becomes clear that these are not isolated incidents but a pattern reflective of a widespread rot within America’s military institution, one that betrays its essential values. The film, which won the Audience Choice award for documentaries, has as principal characters, individuals who were among the best of their class. There were many to choose from. Although in some cases men, they were primarily women who joined the military out of devotion to country and a desire to serve. One Marine, Ariana Klay, was raped in Washington, D.C. by a fellow officer who was in the elite Marine Barracks. A Navy officer, Trina McDonald, was drugged and raped repeatedly by fellow officers on a remote base in Alaska. Coast Guard recruit Kori Cioca was raped and then assaulted— smacked so hard in the face that it dislocated her jaw, causing her permanent damage and pain for which the Veterans Administration declines to provide medical coverage. One woman who was assaulted had previously been a military investigator of crimes. Rape investigations were always steered away from the women, she recounted, because they would be “too sympathetic.” Every woman in the film has had her life shattered by this event—not necessarily because of the rape, but because of the response by the military establishment. After lodging complaints, the women were met with indifference or targeted retaliation. They have had to leave the military. Some were threatened with violence. For each, the betrayal by their colleagues and by an institution they trusted deeply has been a wound that, as one military psychologist affirms, cuts to “the soul.” Almost none of the alleged perpetrators were brought up on charges or punished in any way. Some have gone on to rape again, in the military or the private sector. Dick, who took on the Catholic Church’s indifference to sexual abuse in his documentary Twist of Faith, hopes the film will mobilize change
in a way that lobbying and newspaper journalism so far have not. Two obvious policy changes are necessary: better screening of new recruits to winnow out potential predators, and moving the authority for investigating and prosecuting rape into independent hands. At the moment, local commanders have nearly all the power in these matters. First, the military “has to admit they have a problem,” Dick said at the Q & A after the Sundance screening, where more than a half-dozen victims stood and received applause. “They need another mind-set to attack this issue.” The movie, distribution for which had not yet been secured, profoundly shocked the audience. One military recruiter stood and asked for the names of the bases involved so she could steer female enlistees away from known risk areas. A 17-year-old girl stood up in tears and thanked the women for speaking out. But there was one inspiring surprise after the screening. A couple in the audience approached Cioca and told her they will pay for the surgery to repair her jaw, which causes her pain every day. The cost is around $60,000 and without V.A. medical coverage she cannot afford it. Cioca was overwhelmed. The couple, an investment banker and his wife, said they preferred to remain anonymous. Sharon Waxman founded the media business blog called “The Wrap” in 2009. Formerly a correspondent for The Washington Post and The New York Times, she is the author of Rebels on the Backlot: Six Maverick Directors and How They Conquered the Hollywood Studio System. A version of this article first appeared in TheWrap.com
A Practical Guide to Yes Means Yes By Jane Fleishman it the basis for a weekly group of trusted and supportive friends. The book not only reminded me of the days when women got together in consciousness raising groups, it also could serve as the centerpiece of a college course on human sexuality. In the chapter on talking to your partner, Friedman reminds women that unless they can articulate what “gets their motor running, they’re a lot less likely to get the good stuff.” She advises a young woman about to have sex with a partner for the first time to practice beforehand: masturbate, she says, to be certain what you like when you’re with a partner. In an era rife with sex advice columns, Friedman’s advice stands out in part because it is written for all women regardless of their sexual orientation. Of course differences are real—women get harassed for walking down the street holding hands, and dyke-baiting is all too common—but she doesn’t relegate lesbian-identified women to a chapter at the end of the book. Instead, she weaves all What You Really Really Want: The Smart sexual orientations into each chapter allowing the reader to find for Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety herself what is most personally meaningful. By Jaclyn Friedman One of Friedman’s most valuable pieces of advice reinforces sex Seal Press, 2011, 341 pages, $17 as a central part of life reminding readers that, “knowing what you hat You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame- want from sexuality is part of knowing what you want from life.” Free Guide to Sex and Safety by Jaclyn Friedman is She writes equally well about always remembering to derive pleaa wonderful antidote to all the magazines that try to sure—from sensuality to kinky sex. She gives helpful advice and offers an exercise on what to do when your head convince young, straight women that their “Six and your body disagree on what feels good/is right; Tips to Please Your Man” will actually work. for instance, when you like someone but are not Friedman’s book takes a radically different tack: Friedman affirms encouraging young women of all sexual orienta- sex as a central part attracted to them or when you feel disconnected from your body. tions to discover and communicate their own of life: “Knowing In addition to her no-nonsense style and sex sexual desires. what you want from Going far beyond most popular sex ed books, sexuality is knowing positive stance, Friedman’s background in understanding the dynamics of sexual violence allows the book invites readers to dig deep to contemin part what you want her to provide readers with helpful information plate and articulate her feelings about her body, from life.” to prevent it. From initiating a safecall to alert presenting numerous exercises. In the chapter a friend that you’re going home with someone “Shame, Blame, and Fear,” Friedman asks readers you’re not sure about, to what to do if you’ve been to list five things that are sexually taboo and five that they enjoy. Then, she urges, write a letter to someone who put violated, Jaclyn Friedman’s book offers clear directions on how to you down and another to someone who valued you for who you are. enjoy your sexuality and stay safe. This is a book useful to anyone who works with young women or She is most concerned about allowing women to be who they are has young women in their families, including fathers of daughters, without hurting anyone or allowing anyone to hurt them. As coeditor of the groundbreaking anthology, Yes Means Yes: who have much to learn in each chapter. And, of course, the book Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape (with is for any woman interested in redefining—for herself—what she Jessica Valenti), Friedman offers a sexual violence prevention really really wants. perspective. The genesis of the new book came from a journalist who asked her: Given all the conflicting messages from the media, reliJane Fleishman worked as a development director gion, school, family, friends, among others, how would any woman of a large public psychiatric facility in Connectknow what she wants to say yes to in the first place? icut and now offers training and consulting in As a sexuality educator, this is a book I would love to have sexuality issues. She has taught classes for over written. Each chapter balances a nod to pleasure and a reality check 20 years and is currently pursuing her doctoral on safety. I found myself wanting to get together with a group of degree in Human Sexuality from Widener Univerwomen friends to try the exercises. Indeed, Friedman encourages sity in Chester, Penna. You can contact her at women to use What You Really Really Want as a workbook—to make www.janefleishman.com.
Playing Games With Gender Violence By Fivel Rothberg “Games can introduce a new paradigm of learning where students are producers, designers, innovators and masters of content to solve problems and deal with complexity.” —James Gee, educator and game advocate
an playing games help to prevent gender violence? They certainly have “significant potential” to do so, according to the Population Media Center, the UN Population Fund and the Emergent Media Center at Champlain College. “When the GAME is your life, will you… BREAKAWAY?” is the opening title sequence to the educational game Breakaway which reveals little about the game’s intent. Part of a burgeoning trend in social issue games, Breakaway aims “to engage, educate, and change attitudes of boys between 8 and 15 to help end violence against girls and women” (http://breakawaygame.com). A worthwhile goal that misses the mark. Players begin gameplay with about 20 minutes worth of strictly guided instruction “click this button or that one, move this way or that way” and make very basic A or B choices. The story line is clear—you, the player, are trying out for a local soccer team, and there are clues that your sister wants in on the action. Yet, there is no sense that this is a game geared for either fun or to address gender until the player is asked to make a decision regarding the younger sister—who wants to stay on the soccer field. The game feels a great deal like a choose-your-own-adventure novel, sans narrative intrigue. It’s difficult to envision pre-teens and adolescents turning to the game for play or even enjoying it in a facilitated workshop. Most importantly, the game lacks flow due to choppy mechanics and amateurish Flash artwork, far behind the times in best practices in gameplay. It’s certainly true that it’s extraordinarily hard to produce compelling video games. Social issue video games are an even greater challenge. It can take a highly skilled team of writers, directors, programmers, artists, educators, and marketers years to produce and distribute a game like Breakaway. It’s a big disappointment when these kinds of investments fall short of their goals. Breakaway was Population Media Center’s (PMC) first attempt at developing games for social change (http://www.populationmedia. org); let’s hope they keep at it. The international nonprofit is known for producing “education entertainment” that addresses public health issues like birth control, sexually transmitted infections, and substance abuse. PMC’s programs often take the form of serial radio dramas and interactive websites. They also partner with popular television producers. (PMC collaborated with some Brazilian telenovelas to incorporate discussion of teenage sexuality and pregnancy prevention in efforts PMC calls “social merchandising.”) It certainly makes sense for there to be a game—or games—that address gender violence specifically targeted at boys. Teaching values through gameplay is nothing new, and utilizing games to
address public health is a growing field. There are games for young people with cancer, like HopeLab’s Re-Mission where “players pilot a nanobot named Roxxi as she travels through the bodies of fictional cancer patients destroying cancer cells, battling bacterial infections, and managing side effects associated with cancer and cancer treatment” (http://www.re-mission.net). You Make Me Sick! is an educational health game where “students take on the role of a pathogen and custom design their disease to infiltrate a variety of unique target hosts… ultimately learning about the anatomy and function of bacteria and viruses and how they are spread” (http:// www.filamentgames.com/projects/gils). Although Breakaway fails to live up to its potential, promising endeavors to incorporate games and new technology in sexual violence prevention work do exist. Quentin Walcott and Marlon Walker of CONNECT NYC, a social change organization in New York, are currently using the game design process in experimental workshops in a Bronx high school to make connections between masculinity, choices and gender violence (http://www.connectnyc. org). In addition, Deb Levine, Nancy Schwartzman, Christine Corbett Moran and Thomas Cabus collaborated on a design for a smartphone application called Circle of 6; it won a first place White House award for Apps Against Abuse (http://www.facebook.com/ Circleof6). According to Schwartzman, “the app combines what we know about sexual violence and prevention to create a beautiful, usable piece of software. It harnesses the best part of college culture—tight knit groups—and combines that with mobile tech to prevent violence.” Users will be able to add six contacts to their app’s interface in order to quickly update them about their status—letting them know, for example, if they need a ride home or if help is needed getting out of a difficult situation. Schwartzman says she has always wanted to create a videogame that addresses sex and consent. Let’s hope she does and that future games aimed at addressing gender violence learn from Breakaway’s oversights. To learn more about social issue video games visit: http://www. gamesforchange.org, http://www.tiltfactor.org, and http://www. persuasivegames.com. For more information about learning and games visit: http://www.jamespaulgee.com, http://henryjenkins.org and http://www.instituteofplay.org. Fivel Rothberg is a father, media maker, producer, educator and activist who received his MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College in New York. He is currently finishing a documentary short about being a father and addressing abuse in his family. To learn more go to http:// www.housedevil-streetangel.com. Spring 2012
Resources for Changing Men Healthy Dating, Sexual Assault Prevention http://www.canikissyou.com International Society for Men’s Health Prevention campaigns and health initiatives promoting men’s health www.ismh.org
A wide-ranging (but by no means exhaustive) listing of organizations engaged in profeminist men’s work. Know of an organization that should be listed here? E-mail relevant information to us at email@example.com 100 Black Men of America, Inc. Chapters around the U.S. working on youth development and economic empowerment in the African American community www.100blackmen.org A Call to Men Trainings and conferences on ending violence against women www.acalltomen.org American Men’s Studies Association Advancing the critical study of men and masculinities www.mensstudies.org Boys to Men International Initiation weekends and follow-up mentoring for boys 12-17 www.boystomen.org Boys to Men New England www.boystomennewengland.org Dad Man Consulting, training, speaking about fathers and father figures as a vital family resource www.thedadman.com EMERGE Counseling and education to stop domestic violence. Comprehensive batterers’ services www.emergedv.com European Men Pro-feminist Network Promoting equal opportunities between men and women www.europrofem.org Futures Without Violence Working to end violence against women globally; programs for boys, men and fathers http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org
Paul Kivel Violence prevention educator http://www.paulkivel.com Lake Champlain Men’s Resource Center Burlington, Vt., center with groups and services challenging men’s violence on both individual and societal levels www.lcmrc.org Males Advocating Change Worcester, Mass., center with groups and services supporting men and challenging men’s violence www.centralmassmrc.org ManKind Project New Warrior training weekends www.mkp.org MANSCENTRUM Swedish men’s centers addressing men in crisis www.manscentrum.se Masculinity Project The Masculinity Project addresses the complexities of masculinity in the African American community www.masculinityproject.com MASV—Men Against Sexual Violence Men working in the struggle to end sexual violence www.menagainstsexualviolence.org Men Against Violence UNESCO program believing education, social and natural science, culture and communication are the means toward building peace www.unesco.org/cpp/uk/projects/ wcpmenaga.htm Men Against Violence (Yahoo e-mail list) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/menagainstviolence/ Men Against Violence Against Women (Trinidad) Caribbean island anti-violence campaign www.mavaw.com. Men Can Stop Rape Washington, D.C.-based national advocacy and training organization mobilizing male youth to prevent violence against women. www. mencanstoprape.org
MenEngage Alliance An international alliance promoting boys’ and men’s support for gender equality www.menengage.org
Monadnock Men’s Resource Center Southern New Hampshire men’s center supporting men and challenging men’s violence mmrconline.org
Men for HAWC Gloucester, Mass., volunteer advocacy group of men’s voices against domestic abuse and sexual assault www.strongmendontbully.com
MVP Strategies Gender violence prevention education and training www.jacksonkatz.com
Men’s Health Network National organization promoting men‘s health www.menshealthnetwork.org Men’s Initiative for Jane Doe, Inc. Statewide Massachusetts effort coordinating men’s anti-violence activities www.mijd.org Men’s Nonviolence Project, Texas Council on Family Violence http://www.tcfv.org/education/mnp. html Men’s Resource Center for Change Model men’s center offering support groups for all men www.mrcforchange.org Men’s Resource Center of West Michigan Consultations and trainings in helping men develop their full humanity, create respectful and loving relationships, and caring and safe communities. www.menscenter.org Men’s Resource Center of South Texas Based on Massachusetts MRC model, support groups and services for men firstname.lastname@example.org Men’s Resources International Trainings and consulting on positive masculinity on the African continent www.mensresourcesinternational.org Men Stopping Violence Atlanta-based organization working to end violence against women, focusing on stopping battering, and ending rape and incest www.menstoppingviolence.org The Men’s Story Project Resources for creating public dialogue about masculinities through local storytelling and arts. www.mensstoryproject.org Men’s Violence Prevention http://www.olywa.net/tdenny/ Mentors in Violence Prevention—MVP Trainings and workshops in raising awareness about men’s violence against women. www.sportsinsociety.org/vpd/mvp./php
National Association for Children of Domestic Violence Provides education and public awareness of the effects of domestic violence, especially on children. www. nafcodv.org National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Provides a coordinated community www.ncadv.org National Men’s Resource Center National clearinghouse of information and resources for men www.menstuff.org National Organization for Men Against Sexism Annual conference, newsletter, profeminist activities www.nomas.org Boston chapter: www.nomasboston. org One in Four An all-male sexual assault peer education group dedicated to preventing rape www.oneinfourusa.org Promundo NGO working in Brazil and other developing countries with youth and children to promote equality between men and women and the prevention of interpersonal violence www.promundo.org RAINN—Rape Abuse and Incest National Network A national anti-sexual assault organization www.rainn.org Renaissance Male Project A midwest, multicultural and multiissue men‘s organization www.renaissancemaleproject The Men’s Bibliography Comprehensive bibliography of writing on men, masculinities, gender, and sexualities listing 14,000 works www.mensbiblio.xyonline.net UNIFEM United Nations Development Fund for Women www.unifem.org
Resources for Changing Men VDay Global movement to end violence against women and girls, including Vmen, male activists in the movement www.newsite.vday.org
Collaborative Divorce www.collaborativealternatives.com www.collaborativedivorce.com www.collaborativepractice.com www.nocourtdivorce.com
Voices of Men An Educational Comedy by Ben Atherton-Zeman http://www.voicesofmen.org
The Fathers Resource Center Online resource, reference, and network for stay-at-home dads www.slowlane.com
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence http:// www.walkamileinhershoes.org
National Center for Fathering Strategies and programs for positive fathering. www.fathers.com
White Ribbon Campaign International men’s campaign decrying violence against women www.whiteribbon.ca
National Fatherhood Initiative Organization to improve the well-being of children through the promotion of responsible, engaged fatherhood www.fatherhood.org
XY Magazine www.xyonline.net Profeminist men’s web links (over 500 links) www.xyonline.net/links.shtml Profeminist men’s politics, frequently asked questions www.xyonline.net/ misc/pffaq.html Profeminist e-mail list (1997–) www.xyonline.net/misc/profem.html Homophobia and masculinities among young men www.xyonline.net/misc/ homophobia.html
Fathering Fatherhood Initiative Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund Supporting fathers, their families and theprofessionals who work with them www.mctf.org Fathers and Daughters Alliance (FADA) Helping girls in targeted countries to return to and complete primary school fatheranddaughter.org Fathers with Divorce and Custody Concerns Looking for a lawyer? Call your state bar association lawyer referral agency. Useful websites include: www.dadsrights.org (not www.dadsrights.com) www.directlex.com/main/law/divorce/ www.divorce.com www.divorcecentral.com www.divorcehq.com
Gay Rights Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Works to combat homophobia and discrimination in television, film, music and all media outlets www.glaad.org Human Rights Campaign Largest GLBT political group in the country. www.hrc.org Interpride Clearing-house for information on pride events worldwide www.interpride.net LGBT Health Channel Provides medically accurate information to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied communities. Safer sex, STDs, insemination, transgender health, cancer, and more www.lgbthealthchannel.com. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force National progressive political and advocacy group www.ngltf.org Outproud Website for GLBT and questioning youth www.outproud.org Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays www.pflag.org
www.divorcenet.com www.divorce-resource-center.com www.divorcesupport.com
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General Support Groups: Open to any man who wants to experience a men’s group. Topics of discussion reflect the needs and interests of the participants. Groups are held in these Western Massachusetts communities: Hadley, at North Star, 135 Russell Street, 2nd Floor: Tuesday evenings (7:00 – 9:00 PM). Entrance on Route 47 opposite the Hadley Town Hall. Greenfield, at Network Chiropractic, 21 Mohawk Trail: Wednesday evenings (7:00 – 9:00 PM). Group for Men Who Have Experienced Childhood Neglect, Abuse, or Trauma: Open to men who were subjected to neglect and/or abuse growing up, this group is designed specifically to ensure a sense of safety for participants. It is a facilitated peer support group and is not a therapy group. Group meetings are held on Fridays (7:00 – 9:00 PM) at the Synthesis Center in Amherst, 274 N. Pleasant Street (just a few doors north of the former MRC building). Group for Gay, Bisexual, and Questioning Men: Specifically for men who identify as gay or bisexual, or who are questioning their sexual orientation, this group is designed to provide a safe and supportive setting to share experiences and concerns. Gay or bi-identified transgendered men are welcome! In addition to providing personal support, the group offers an opportunity for creating and strengthening local networks. Group meetings are held on Mondays (7:00 – 9:00 PM) at the Synthesis Center in Amherst, 274 N. Pleasant Street (just a few doors north of the former MRC building).