Men for HAWC
Domestic Violence - Free Zone
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Getting the right men together.
The kind of change we are experiencing in Gloucester, and
envisioning in other places, depends on men who are not social or political
activists. Activists have a role to play in starting this work, but the
male culture wont change if only activists are involved.
We have found that, for one reason or another, plenty of regular
guys already know a lot about the costs of domestic abuse. Getting
these guys involved has been easier than you might think. Men from all
kinds of backgrounds have told us they are relieved to have a chance to
We respect men, and when we ask them to help out, respect makes all the
difference. We offer simple ways to take action; most of us are not interested
in committee work or meeting to discuss masculinity issues. In Gloucester,
we started by asking Will you join a lot of us in ending our silence
about domestic abuse? We are planning to
Many deeper conversations come later. When we carry GMADAs messages
in our attitudes-- or stickered to the back of ours cars or trucksor
printed on our t-shirts --conversations occur wherever we go. In this
way we are talking about the change and doing the change at the same time
We have never tried to maximize the number of men involvedit would
be easy to get lots more men to sign on. Instead we decided to make sure
all kinds of men in our city would stand with us. We realized it was important
for men to be represented in proportion to their numbers in the city.
For example, in a largely blue collar community you might have three or
four blue collar men and 85 white collar men, but the impact would be
bigger with 40 or 50 blue collar men. In Gloucester, we never put out
a general invitation, which would have brought mostly activists and few
others. Instead, we talked with each other one at a time until we had
men from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences involved (see
FAQs). By the time of the billboard event, in our fourth year, our
group represented the entire male community of Gloucester.Men and women
Our hope is that the GMADA model will spread around the country mainly
by way of battered womens agencies, rape crisis centers and domestic
violence roundtables. We men need to rely on the experience and wisdom
local womens agencies have gathered over the past 25 years. There
is also a great deal of healing for both men and women that can come from
doing this work together.
The following questions might be of use to women working in these agencies:
Are a broad range of men in your community actively and publicly supporting
your work and/or opposing male violence against women?
Can you imagine yourself or someone from your agency meeting with men
like those in our video on a regular basis to develop a way for men in
your own community to end their silence? The leadership of HAWC met with
men twice monthly for more than a
year, and then monthly. But, now that there is a model of how this can
work, the startup time might be much shorter. We recommend, however, not
underestimating the importance of building working relationships --the
collaboration should be valued in itself if trust is to grow and healing
is to occur in our communities.
Can any of your staff imagine asking a few men you know from outside the
social service professionssuch as carpenters, plumbers, and auto
mechanicsto sit down and watch this 11-minute video? Would it be
possible to ask these men to join with you in getting larger numbers of
men to speak out? If not, do you know men you could show it to who might
be likely bridges to a broader group of men?
Several womens agencies have already called local men together,
shown them our video and background articles, and made a commitment to
figure out strategies for their own communities. If you would like to
talk with a woman who has been connected with this work, please contact
HAWC, Nicole Richon Schoel, Director of Community Outreach, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For men who want to take action, we suggest that after you go over our
website, you look at www.menscampaign.org.
The next step could be to identify your local womens service agency,
and offer them our materials and try to arrange a meeting.