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Male dominance and domestic violence

From: EXT Rus Funk http://www.rusfunk.com/

As a man (good, bad or otherwise), I think it is really important that we destroy the myth of "good" and "bad" men.  When I educate men, work to organize men, or work with men who are abusive, I find that myth to be one of the most damaging and difficult to confront.  There's this idea that there are the "bad" men who are violent or abusive, and the "good" men (as Ms. Devries writes) who allegedly don't, and therefore this isn't their issue.  The issue is sexism and male supremacy.  Men who act in ways that are more readily recognized as violence or abusive are  only acting in the more extreme forms.  But the "subtle" forms of sexism and male supremacy are no less painful or damaging. And as "good" men, we need to be confronted and held just as accountable as the "bad" men.

As a man working with mostly un-initiated men, I find talking about the continuum of sexism - violence - femicide as a way to talking about how we are all in the process of dealing with and cleaning up our abusive behaviours and the attitudes that under gird them.  If I put my own sexist (which is abusive) attitudes and behaviours out there during a presentation, then the other men feel less like I'm pointing fingers, and we begin building a bridge of how we can all work together (men and men, and men and women) towards gender justice.

Just a few thoughts... rus funk Washington, DC, USA

On 1/26/2000 Judy Devries wrote:     

You are so right. I think there is another river out there and that is the inaction of "good men" to come forward and demand that "bad men" be stopped and women and children protected. The attitude of all the "good men" I talk to is that it isn't their problem and they are not to blame.  


Reaching Men: Strategies for Preventing Sexist Attitudes, Behaviors and Violence, is the first manual of its kinds that examines ways to effectively educate men about rape/sexual assault, domestic violence, dating abuse, stalking, pornography and prostitution, and harassment. It is being published in 2006 (JistLife Publishers) and is endorsed by the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

I’m very proud of this book. There is a tremendous dearth of resources available to provide activists the tools they need to effectively educate men. Those few that do exist almost exclusively talk about either rape/sexual assault or domestic violence. Reaching Men begins with a theoretical overview in which I explore educational theory and specifically identify those educational theories that show the most promise in educating men. I then provide a brief overview of each form of violence and how each form of violence is connected to sexism. The next chapter examines issues and intersections of racism, sexism and homophobia as they relate to violence and abuse. The final chapters provide information about how educators and advocates can take care of themselves while educating men about sexism and violence.

But Reaching Men is more than theory. It’s full of concrete information, exercises, sample outlines, and suggestions for the real work of educating men

Reaching Men is an excellent new resource from a pioneer innovator and activist in the men's movement. It answers not only the question of how to educate and mobilize men, but addresses the more important one of why as it helps the reader clarify goals, refine strategies, and develop effective tactics for working with diverse groups of men. We no longer have to bemoan the fact that not enough men are involved because we now have a hands-on and practical guide for developing male allies.”

Paul Kivel, activist and author of Men's Work, the Young Men's Work curriculum, and Boys Will be Men.

For ordering or additional information, contact JistLife Publishing