GMP Accepts the True Ally Award from Men Stopping Violence

On Saturday night, the Atlanta-based nonprofit Men Stopping Violence presented its annual True Ally Award to the Good Men Project. At the event, hosted by CNN anchors Don Lemon and Richelle Carey, I accepted the award on behalf of GMP.

The True Ally Award (which was presented last year to musician and activist Tim McGraw) was in recognition for our work in creating a space to start a new conversation about men. We were honored, I was reminded in the introduction to the award, not because we propose one narrow standard for “goodness” but because we refuse to accept our culture’s dismal view of who men are and what men can become. While the media promote the idea of a “masculine malaise”, at GMP we’re talking about men who are actively engaged  in the culture, in our communities, and in our families. Our editors and writers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and share little in common other than a commitment to involving men in the conversation—and the solution—to the challenges that grip our society.

This honor comes early in our life as a project. As I told my hosts, when I learned that GMP had won the award, I felt a little bit like President Obama must have felt when he heard he’d won the Nobel Peace Prize eight months into his term. “That’s awesome”, I thought, “but now we have to go out and continue to earn it.”

But as I learned on Saturday night, in the eyes of many, we’re well on our way. Men Stopping Violence was recently contacted by a young man from rural Kenya named Moses. Distraught over the rape epidemic in his country after his country’s disputed elections, he started looking for resources about what “good men” could do to stop the violence. The first site he found was ours. From what he read at the Good Men Project, he got the inspiration and the encouragement to believe in the possibility that men could make a vital difference in changing the hearts and minds of other guys. Moses then found Men Stopping Violence. MSV is launching in Kenya, and will soon bring Moses to Atlanta for a month-long training program. GMP opened the door for that to happen.

As I told the several hundred people at the gala on Saturday, there’s no question that men need to change. But before we can change men, we have to believe men have the desire, the willingness, and the capacity to change.   And in order to believe that, we have to believe in men’s essential goodness.

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About Hugo Schwyzer

Hugo Schwyzer has taught history and gender studies at Pasadena City College since 1993, where he developed the college's first courses on Men and Masculinity and Beauty and Body Image. He serves as co-director of the Perfectly Unperfected Project, a campaign to transform young people's attitudes around body image and fashion. Hugo lives with his wife, daughter, and six chinchillas in Los Angeles. Hugo blogs at his website

Comments

  1. Congratulations on the award.

    But…. I think you contradict yourself when you say: ‘Men need to change’ but also GMP believes in ‘men’s essential goodness’.

    If men are essentially good why do they need to change? Are women essentially good? Do they need to change too?

    It may be worth asking those questions! (and trying to find answers)

  2. Congratulations to GMP. It’s nice to be recognized and the hard work from people on this site is truly worthy of said recognition.

    But I’d be remiss in my duties as self-appointed ombudsman if I didn’t agree with Quiet Riot Girl’s comments. If men have to change, I believe it is merely the kind of change we all have to do to keep adapting and improving. But that is hardly limited to men. I don’t think women are essentially good anymore than men are fundamentally in need of change.

    • Men’s innate goodness is real. But that goodness is distorted by a culture that encourages and enables male coarseness and violence. As the name of MSV implies, this is about men taking responsibility for stopping violence because we are the perpetrators of the overwhelming majority of violence (especially lethal violence) on our planet. (Count down to the MRAs showing up with their distorted DV statistics… 3,2,1…)

      As individuals, we ALL need to grow. As a group, men are particularly likely to be part of the problem — let’s not buy into a feel-good false equivalence that suggests women are equally to blame for rape or domestic violence. And as men, therefore, the onus is on us to change ourselves and change each other.

      • If the ‘culture’ is one driven by men where men choose to perpetrate violence against women, then why is men’s ‘essential’ goodness so ineffectual? And why oh why oh why do you then suggest that women are somehow, in the current climate ‘better’ than men? And innocent, helpless victims of men’s ‘badness’?

        It does neither women nor men any favours.

      • Right… I agree, but with trepidation.

        Look, it might seem nitpicky, but I just think we need to be careful about making statements like “men need to change” because it implies that a majority of men are a direct part of the problem, ie, actively committing violence. This is, of course untrue, as a fairly small minority of men commit direct violence. Thus, telling men to “stop hurting people” is counterproductive, because 95% of men don’t in the first place. What men need to do is challenge the culture that enables this small minority. And that involves personal change as well, of course. But frankly, for most men I think it’s less a case of revising personal ethics and more a case of simply taking the initiative and speaking out. Maybe I’m an optimist. Actually, I don’t really think so. It’s about challenging an outdated culture.

      • “(Count down to the MRAs showing up with their distorted DV statistics… 3,2,1…) ”

        While I’m sure there are plenty of MRAs willing to misrepresent statistics in support of their claims, I would give them some small credit for at least recognising that one ought to back up such claims with stats. You might consider occasionally doing the same.

      • Hugo is making false allegations about abuse and MRAs.

        Here is a paper about the stats that feminism uses

        THE POLITICS OF RESEARCH: THE USE, ABUSE, AND MISUSE
        OF SOCIAL SCIENCE DATA—THE CASES OF INTIMATE
        PARTNER VIOLENCE
        Richard J. Gelles
        http://www.familieslink.co.uk/download/july07/Politics%20of%20research.pdf

        And here is a government source showing women the be the primary domestic abusers.

        Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury Between Relationships With Reciprocal and Nonreciprocal Intimate Partner Violence

        Daniel J. Whitaker, PhD, Tadesse Haileyesus, MS, Monica Swahn, PhD and Linda S. Saltzman, PhD

        At the time of this study, Daniel J. Whitaker and Linda S. Saltzman were with the Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga. Tadesse Haileyesus is with the Office of Statistics and Programming, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Monica Swahn is with the Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

        Correspondence: Requests for reprints should be sent to Daniel Whitaker, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, NE, MS K-60, Atlanta, GA 30341 (e-mail: dpw7@ c dc.gov).

        Objectives. We sought to examine the prevalence of reciprocal (i.e., perpetrated by both partners) and nonreciprocal intimate partner violence and to determine whether reciprocity is related to violence frequency and injury.

        Methods. We analyzed data on young US adults aged 18 to 28 years from the 2001 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which contained information about partner violence and injury reported by 11 370 respondents on 18761 heterosexual relationships.

        Results. Almost 24% of all relationships had some violence, and half (49.7%) of those were reciprocally violent. In nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases. Reciprocity was associated with more frequent violence among women (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.9, 2.8), but not men (AOR=1.26; 95% CI=0.9, 1.7). Regarding injury, men were more likely to inflict injury than were women (AOR=1.3; 95% CI=1.1, 1.5), and reciprocal intimate partner violence was associated with greater injury than was nonreciprocal intimate partner violence regardless of the gender of the perpetrator (AOR=4.4; 95% CI=3.6, 5.5).

        Conclusions. The context of the violence (reciprocal vs nonreciprocal) is a strong predictor of reported injury. Prevention approaches that address the escalation of partner violence may be needed to address reciprocal violence.

        http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/5/941

  3. If you take a look at the website linked in the article – the violence they speak of is primarily men’s violence against women. Interesting snippet below on “Men’s Education” and if you have the time, please take a look at the link pasted just below, as they go into more detail with the: Violent and Controlling Behavior List

    http://www.menstoppingviolence.org/cgi-bin/MySQLdb?VIEW=/viewfiles/view_document.txt&docid=30

    Note the inclusion of pornography, logic, sulking, not expressing feelings, yelling, not listening etc

    ============================================

    Men’s Education

    Reliable data including police reports, witness statements and emergency room reports indicate that men are the aggressors in over 90 percent of incidents of interpersonal violence.

    You don’t have to hit someone to abuse that person.

    In fact, many men who come to MSV have never physically struck another person in a relationship. They have, however, used a wide range of controlling and abusive behaviors over a sustained period of time establishing a pattern.

    • That’s quite a worrying checklist elissa. Things like ‘swearing’ and ‘using pornography’ and ‘uninvited touching’ sound like usual aspects of life/relationships to me!

      I also do not trust the figure of ‘over 90%’ of violence being perpetrated by men.

      • MorgainePendragon says:

        “Things like ‘swearing’ and ‘using pornography’ and ‘uninvited touching’ sound like usual aspects of life/relationships to me!”

        In a male dominated, patriarchal society where women’s (and plenty of men’s– not to mention those of *other* genders, preferences, values, etc) needs and fears aren’t taken into account. All of those things are or are usually associated with a power imbalance, which only exists in a social structure where power has more value than quality of life or pleasure. IN those social constructs it is ALWAYS (as indicated by research so far) the males who wield that power. There is no evidence that there has EVER been a society where women oppress men in the same way that men oppress women in patriarchy.

        In a truly egalitarian society where the values were based around quality of life, cooperation and pleasure, none of those things would be an issue.

    • Elissa:

      That checklist you provided is, in a word, awful.

      Pornography? Yelling? Criticism? I hate to tell you, but these things are not automatically indicators of potential violence or even emotional abuse. Relationships consist of disagreements, sometimes they get loud. As long as it doesn’t escalate into personal attacks and violence, there is nothing wrong with this. And criticism? Give me a break. What’s rude and hurtful to one person is another person’s constructive criticism. That is far too subjective to put it on a list and say “If you circle this then you’re probably being abused.” And for the last time, pornography has NOTHING to do with abuse or violence. The top portion of that list was completely Puritanical and not based in reality. I mean really, not expressing feelings is abuse? Give me a break.

      Also, please back up your statistics concerning the police reports. Because for the better part of a decade I spent every single day going through police reports as a reporter. Most of the calls were domestic in nature. And yes, while more men were arrested the disputes also included women fighting with men. I can’t tell you how many times in the police report the man claimed he was also hit in the dispute, but it is a known fact that the man is arrested simply on suspicion in a domestic abuse call while the woman is not. So I’m not sure what fantasy statistics you’re referring to, but I’ve seen some of this go down firsthand and I’ve read the police reports. I don’t believe your data is accurate at all.

      To be honest, I’m now really questioning the validity of the group if they consider some of these things forms of abuse.

      • Oh I quite agree that it is awful bordering on stupid. When I first looked at the website, I thought it would be about violence in general, but I was greeted with a splashed advertising of “because we have daughters too…”

        How radical would it have been to have the much direr category of: “because we have sons too!”

        And it is indeed funny that the largest category of violence – male on male – one which dwarfs all other categories, gets no play outside of the justice and penal system. Not too many fund raising galas for young minority males assaulting each other in large numbers.

        Not baby seal cute enough I guess…

  4. All of this is truly a male problem worldwide, and it has been a male problem for thousands of years. I don’t believe in the essential goodness of men, never have and never will. I see no evidense of them getting better anywhere in the world, I see clear evidense that they are becoming worse than we ever imagined possible. Men created male supremacy, and the sex class system. It means that every man on the planet is a full participant and beneficiary of this sex class system, and I have never known an oppressor group that decided to “be good” on it’s own, without one hell of a liberation fight on the part of the oppressed.

    The male sex class machine controls the information, and puts out propaganda about marriage, family and children… but it is a sex class that persists. It rests on the exploitation of women and children 24/7, and no man is innocent of this domination both at home, at the office, and in the control of governments, industries etc.

    The title “The Good Man project” seems to be wishful thinking on the part of men actually. Men as a sex class are not good at all, they are a menace to the sanity of women globally. I don’t think men have any clue about what this means, but they want to believes themselves to be good. Women who take chances with these lies are raped by “Good Men” and I’m sure rape happened in the hotel rooms of this very conference. That and the exploitation of women volunteers to put on the gala… just how much were the women paid to do this work? Or was it “free” in service to the false belief system that men are good in this evil system? The arrogance of it all boggles the mind.

    • That post, Kiran, actually sounds funny when read a certain way.

      Ignorant, but funny.

    • MorgainePendragon says:

      @Kiran: “All of this is truly a male problem worldwide, and it has been a male problem for thousands of years.”

      Actually, there are numerous societies in the past and even some that still exist today that don’t have these problems, that are NOT patriarchal and DON’T focus on power imbalances.

      Yes, patriarchy has been amongst us for a few 1000 years but the vast amount of time humanity has spent on Planet Earth has been cooperative and peaceful.

      Patriarchy is learned behaviour, not natural behaviour. If it were natural, as Marilyn French points out, it wouldn’t have to be enforced through violence.

  5. A Concerned MRA says:

    Hey Everyone,

    Note that the Feminist statistics are just lies. They distort and manipulate the truth, which is that DV is committed roughly 60-70% of the time by the women in the relationship. Men are angry. We will not stand.

    – A Concerned MRA

    • To be honest MRA – it is really hard to trust stats on DV from either feminists or MRAs. They both have such a strong agenda. I agree wholeheartedly that the stats taken as ‘true’ come from feminist dogma and are completely wrong. But I can’t just accept a whole new bucket of stats coming from MRAs!

      I’d like to see more research on this subject.

      • Agreed Quiet Girl.

        There is far too much noise on the subject of violence. The data is actually quite clear on incidents but unfortunately, the industry has fallen prey to political grandstanding.

      • But MRA’s don’t produce stats, they just use the bulk of the genuine research as opposed to feminist stats. which according the genuine DV research community are contrived.

  6. Well, where in the world specifically do women live in peace free of male violence. Not some imagined past, but the present? And if you leave women out of the picture, who are the military invaders, who conducts massive rape in Congo as an act of war? And where are the hundreds of domestic violence shelters that men run to in terror because their wives have almost beat the husbands to death, or run in fear of a future attack? If you can tell me where these places are, I’ll believe you. And if you are 100% honest, why is it that streets of major urban places at night are not stalked by women, but by men and all the violence they bring to urban life? Now really, if these men are so good, then why is it that the jails are filled with men, that women are afraid of a lot of places because of male violence, and that murder of women by male friends or husbands is a major cause of death of women in the U.S. Yes, you can look at actual death statistics and FBI death data, so there is no ambiguity here. Tell me a place where women control the country and where male violence isn’t the situation as usual. Where? I want to move there. Now tell me why women choose to live with men given their “inherent” goodness? Geez, I guess there is a sucker born every minute.

    • Kiran, they have been lying to you

      REFERENCES EXAMINING ASSAULTS BY WOMEN ON THEIR SPOUSES OR MALE PARTNERS:
      AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

      Martin S. Fiebert
      Department of Psychology
      California State University, Long Beach

      Last updated: May 2011

      SUMMARY: This bibliography examines 282 scholarly investigations: 218 empirical studies and 64 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 369,800.

      ht tp://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm

  7. Groups like this are part of the problem.

    Women are the primary child abusers, primary domestic abusers, rape only appears gendered because we don’t count envelopment as a definition and most male rapists have been sexually abused by a female in their childhood.

    As long as these feminist are selling the myth of the pure female and evil male, this reality will remain hidden.

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