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Men Helping to End Domestic Violence – 2

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In my last blog, I shared articles about men standing up to end domestic violence in two foreign countries – Ecuador and Sierra Leone. Here is the link to my last blog.

This week I would like to highlight some efforts being made by men in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The first thing I want to talk about is an organization of men in the United States called Men Stopping Violence, see this link: menstoppingviolence.org

Men Stopping Violence was founded in Georgia in 1982. Its goal is to spur change at individual, institutional, and societal levels. MSV works to help men change their abusive behaviors through group sessions which concentrate on changing patriarchal values and belief systems that oppress women and children. The organization is also committed to keeping women safe, using principles developed by the nationwide network of battered women’s shelters, and encourages victims to use the judicial system to seek protection for themselves and their children.

In addition to classes, MSV works with community organizations, sponsors workshops, networks with battered women’s advocates, trains professionals who deal with batterers, influences public policy decisions, works with employers to create safer workplaces, and advances theory in the field through writing and speaking. Interestingly, their Executive Director is a woman, Shelley Serdahely.

I invite you to take a look at their website. Some of their programs include:

  1. Men’s Education – a 24 week course for men who self-enroll who have seen themselves using power and control with their intimate partners. This course offers them alternative behaviors to use in their relationships.

  2. Because We Have Daughters – a day for fathers and daughters to spend together, working together to understand each other. Fathers learn about the future potential for violence their daughters might face from a loved one.

  3. Twelve or Six month Internships – to train men to develop skills to prevent domestic violence in their communities.

Success Stories from their Internship Program

Bernard Ellis 
“The most challenging thing about the internship was learning that I was contributing to the violence by doing nothing to change it,” said Bernard, who heard about the internship after Men Stopping Violence (MSV) and brought its program to his church.

Leif Patterson 
“I thought of myself as a child of the new millennium who didn’t have negative prejudices toward women,” said Leif. “The reality is that those beliefs are as present as ever and even the most enlightened of us is impacted. Those beliefs inundate our world and reach us through every aspect of our daily lives. Men holding other men accountable is one of the most powerful tools I have witnessed for combating domestic violence and it can be used in the fight against debasement of women in the media as well.”

 

The second thing I would like to share today is a video of the actor Patrick Stewart, best known for his role as Captain Picard from Star Trek. Here is the link.

The video lasts around 7 minutes. If you have time to watch it, I highly recommend it. It is touching and beautiful. For those of you who don’t have time, I will summarize it here.

Patrick is asked by a fan what he is most proud of besides acting. He answers he is most proud of his work with an organization called Refuge in England that fights against domestic violence. Find Refuge at refuge.org.uk.  

Refuge provides safe houses, child support services, lobbying, and many other services. Patrick became involved with Refuge because of the violence he and his brother and mother experienced at the hands of his father when he was a child. He says “I do what I do in my mother’s name because I couldn’t help her then – now I can.”

When the police used to come to their house after his mother was beaten, she was told “Mrs. Stewart, you must have done something to provoke him,” and “It takes two to make an argument”. Patrick says “WRONG, WRONG! She didn’t provoke him, and even if she had, violence is never EVER a choice a man should make.”

Patrick believes, “The people who could do the most to improve the situation of women and children are men”.

At the end of the video, he leaves the podium, goes into the audience, and hugs the fan.

      This is a man with class.

Here are some bible verses that apply to those who might be abusive to women and children:

Proverbs 4:23

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Psalm 146:9

The Lord watches over the foreigner

    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,


    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

Matthew 18:6

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

I pray that we all will learn to guard our hearts. Thank you Lord that there are upstanding men in the world. I also pray that you will place it on the hearts of more and more men to stand up and say NO to domestic violence in their homes and communities.

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