21 Advocates for Men and Boys Who Don’t Hate Women
Recently, there have been a number of exposes on the Men’s Rights’ Movement in prominent online media outlets. Vox, Buzzfeed, and Mother Jones have all run major investigative pieces on the Men’s Rights Movement (MRM) and figureheads like Warren Farrell and Paul Elam. The rhetoric of the MRM’s – often filled with rage, calls for violence, and a sense that men and masculinity are under attack – has generated a significant amount of attention and criticism. However while the MRM and it’s loudest voices may have stolen the spotlight for the moment, it is important to stress that they are not the only people who work to address the challenges faced by boys and men in this country and elsewhere.
As a survivor and an advocate for other survivors of sexual violence, I have had the privilege and honor to meet with and work alongside some of the most dedicated, generous, and passionate advocates who are truly doing groundbreaking work to help us better understand and support boys and men. I compiled this partial list of some of my favorite people working to help improve the lives of men in order to show that there are more people.
However while the MRM and it’s loudest voices may have stolen the spotlight for the moment, it is important to stress that they are not the only people who work to address the challenges faced by boys and men in this country and elsewhere.
Jeff Anderson – Jeff (no relation) is a plaintiff’s attorney who’s law firm has been a pioneer in working with survivors of clergy abuse.
Zainab Bangura – Ms. Bangura was appointed as the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. In that role she has been a passionate advocate for survivors of rape in conflict zones, and has made a particular focus on raising awareness and resources for male victims of wartime sexual violence. Matt Burton - A courageous survivor of multiple forms of abuse who has been tirelessly working to help advance knowledge of the unique challenges men who have lived through trauma face.
Dr. Howard Fradkin, Sharon Imperato, Lynne MacDonell, Jim Struve – The four clinicians are the leadership team for MaleSurvivor’s Weekends of Recovery. They oversee a team of over a dozen mental health professionals who donate over 10,000 hours of time a year to organize and have organized more than 60 healing retreats for over 1000 male survivors of sexual abuse.
Dr. Bryana French – Dr. French’s primary research interests focus on sexual coercion and associated psychosocial outcomes among racially diverse young men and women. Last year, she released data showing that 43% of the HS and college ages males she interviewed reported being sexually coerced.
Dan Griffin - Dan has worked in the mental health and addictions field for over two decades. His work acknowledges the unique challenges men face, as he says: “We can't just change what men think, we have to change what we think about men.”
William Kellibrew IV – William is an international advocate for civil, human, women, children and victims’ rights. He survived extremem sexual and domestic violence as a child to become and authority on issues related to trauma and recovery, trauma-informed care, and poly-victimization.
Dr. Michael Kimmell – A professor at Stony Brook University, Kimmel has been working to create one of the first men’s studies programs in the US. His writings focus on highlighting the challenges modern men face.
David Pisarra – David is an attorney who’s practice focuses on supporting men father’s and men’s rights. While you might jump to the conclusion that he would be a rabid MRM supporter, you would be wrong. David strives to protect the rights of his clients without demonizing women or feminism in general. Wizdom Powell – Dr. Powell’s research investigates the contribution of gender (e.g., social constructions of masculinity), intergenerational transmission, socioeconomic status, socioenvironmental processes (e.g., racial discrimination), health-related attitudes (e.g., medical mistrust) and behavior to African American men’s mental and physical health status.
Richard Propes – Richard is a paraplegic/double amputee born with spina bifida and a survivor of abuse as well. Through his Tenderness Tour, Richard continues to hit the road and has traveled approximately 3,500 miles by wheelchair since 1989 to raise awareness of child abuse and abuse of persons with disabilities.
Matt Sandusky – Adopted son of convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky, Matt made national headlines last year sharing his story in a nationally televised interview with Oprah Winfrey. With his nonprofit organization, Peaceful Hearts, Matt is hoping to encourage more survivors to find the support and healing they need.
Dr. Ritch Savin-Williams – Ritch is a professor of developmental psychology at Cornell University who specializes in gay, lesbian, and bisexual research. He is the first people to study the experiences of gay youth and perhaps the first one to not assume they are inherently broken.
Dr. Andrew Solomon – Andrew is a writer and lecturer on psychology, politics, and the arts; winner of the National Book Award; and an activist in LGBT rights, mental health, and the arts. In his powerful 2014 TEDtalk, already viewed over 2 million times, he recounts some of the adverse experiences of his childhood.
Lara Stemple – Lara is the director of the Health and Human Rights Law Project at UCLA Law School, and has been a champion of male victims since she was the Executive Director of Just Detention, a prisoners’ rights organization. Her research shows that federal surveys detect a high prevalence of sexual victimization among men—in many circumstances similar to the prevalence found among women
Manny Waks - Manny is a public advocate against child sexual abuse, especially within the Jewish community. His recent testimony about the sexual abuse he experienced as a Yeshiva student to Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse has garnered worldwide attention.
Daphne Watkins - Dr. Watkins studies the influence of gender role socialization on health status over the adult life course for underserved groups using mixed methods. She is the first woman and person of color to be elected the president of the American Men’s Studies Association.
Victor Vieth – Victor is a former child abuse prosecutor who left to form the National Child Protection Training Center and is one of the world’s leading experts in child abuse prevention
These are only a small handful of the people who are engaged in work to address the very real challenges faced by men and boys in our culture. I could easily name dozens more wonderful people who work inspires me. I hope by sharing their names we can begin to reclaim the work of advocating for men and boys away from those who do so at the expense of women, or those who feel that the only way to help men is to train them to be something different than they are.