Part one of an interview with violence prevention educator, Daryl Fort, about how the culture supports the superiority of men and the inferiority of women. He links the many levels of messages about women’s inferiority to the justification of mistreatment. He describes two gang rapes of young girls in which communities colluded to protect the rapists and to focus the conversation on the behavior, and dress of the victims. He describes the way that cultural assumptions that women are not to be taken seriously, result in minimization of the crimes against them. He makes a clear case that jokes and disrespectful language form the foundation and and basis for the eventual expression of violence against women.
An interview with Maine’s governor, Paul LePage about his childhood growing up in a home with domestic violence. Governor LePage describes the moment when he decided he had to leave home; the moment when his father tried to pay him to lie to a doctor about the cause of his injuries. He describes living with the fear that pervaded his childhood home, and his attempts to protect his mother from his father’s assaults. LePage then goes on to challenge men to speak up against domestic violence in settings with other men, and to create a culture that has no tolerance for attitudes and behaviors that belittle women. He talks about his vision for new laws in Maine that protect women from batterers and bring abusers to justice.
An interview with Drew Wing, executive director of Boys To Men, an organization devoted to reducing interpersonal violence by fostering the healthy development of boys. Drew describes their Reducing Sexism and Violence Program (RSVP), working with teenagers to develop empathy for the experience of others, and to clarify their potential roles as bystanders who can intervene in situations of violent speech, attitudes or behavior. Drew describes the chilling story of Kitty Genovese’s murder that was witnessed by many who did nothing to help. He describes the importance of doing something early and taking any action possible to help de-escalate a violent situation. He also described the ways that our current culture of masculinity, which emphasizes violence, sexual conquest, and slacker culture contributes to assumptions of superiority and entitlement among men. RSVP aims to challenge this understanding of masculinity and its representation in the media in order for both men and women to feel safer to be themselves.
An interview with Lundy Bancroft, the former co-leader of Emerge, the first batterers treatment program in the United States. He is the Author of, Why Does He Do That: inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men. Lundy debunks common myths about abusers, explaining that the man does not have an anger problem, or a problem with conflict resolution. He explains that violence happens in a larger context of control, in which the man attempts to control who she sees, what she does, what she wears, how she parents, etc. He explains that abuse is deliberate and based on the man’s thinking that he is superior, and entitled and justified in treating her this way. He describes the need for prevention by changing the culture which fosters the feeling of entitlement among boys. He decries the idea that “boys will be boys, ” which turns a blind eye to the attitudes that foster domestic violence. He describes some of the necessary steps in taking responsibility for abuse that a man needs to go through in order for treatment of batterers to be successful.
An interview with Julia Colpitts, the Executive Director of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence. Julia affirms that Maine has reached a tipping point, where the recent murders of wives by their husbands has made it clear to everyone that change needs to happen. We discussed the current legislation that is pending in Maine to prevent offenders from being let out on bail without a criminal background check, that includes strangulation as a prosecutable offense, and that mandates a risk assessment to identify those abusers most at risk for lethal violence. Julia reports the ways that the mental health community has not always served victims well, by failing to do risk assessments, or by referring to couples therapy which can put the woman more at risk for violence. Julia describes the importance of engaging men to speak out clearly and powerfully about the necessity of treating women with love and respect.