Sulaiman Nuriddin talks about Men Stopping Violence’s work on Focus Atlanta

Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art

Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art combines cutting-edge art with important social messaging and storytelling to help create awareness, inspiration, and address systems for positive social change and action. Randy Jayne Rosenberg, executive director of the nonprofit Art Works for Change, is the exhibit’s curator. In Atlanta, the
exhibition is sponsored by CDC’s Global Health Odyssey Museum, Office of the Associate Director for Communication, and the Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

For more information go to
http://www.artworksforchange.org/otbp_virtual.htm

February Ally Breakfast , A Good Learning and Networking Time for Men

The MSV Ally Breakfast on February 25 was a pivotal moment in the history of our work to end violence against women. It was small – 20 men. It was a quiet event, held at Canoe on the Chattahoochee – not where one might expect social change to occur.

What made it an Important Moment was the energy of the men in the room. We had reached the tipping point and attendees were excited about coming to future breakfasts, wanted to meet more often, and were brainstorming about ways to get other men involved. Why? Because the breakfast offered a safe place in which to talk about relationships with women that are based on equality, and the difficulties they all faced in trying to be a different kind of partner.

Harold Dawson, Jr., one of the co-chairs, joined attendees in sharing his own experience working hard to be a great dad to his three children. George McKerrow, also a co-chair, talked about the importance of growing the group, asking each man to be responsible for bringing a friend to the next event.

Ulester Douglas, Director of Training, and Sulaiman Nuriddin, Director of Men’s Education, led the group in an educational exercise, followed by a group discussion that primarily focused on the function of abuse and violence. The men in attendance also found room to raise related issues of importance to them.

Why was this a pivotal moment? We know that violence against women will end when men of influence take a private and public stand against it. The men who attended the breakfast are leaders in their communities. Together they are in a position to make a difference, if they continue to grow and exhibit the commitment and passion demonstrated on February 25.

“In very real and practical ways, the agency demonstrated its commitment to creating accountability, whether it be in the lives of the men who attend the classes, in the lives of the men who facilitate the class, or within the community it serves. I feel truly blessed for the opportunity to have attended this training.”

This is a quote from a student who attended the Men At Work training. For three days, fifteen managers and clinicians representing various domestic violence agencies from California, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas were captivated and energized by the award winning and nationally renowned staffers of Men Stopping Violence, Ulester Douglas, Lee Giordano, Sulaiman Nuriddin and Bernard Ellis. The 3 day training called Men at Work (MAW): Building Safe Communities is a bold, candid, insightful exploration of male violence against women. It provides students with the knowledge and tools to implement the MAW curriculum.
Men At Work: Building Safe Communities explores male violence against women, challenges men to take responsibility for their actions, and provides the educational experience necessary to become allies in ending violence against women. As one student put it, the training provided a “hands on explanation and ability to work through and process the lessons. Being able to observe facilitators, groups and see applicability” of the methodology was invaluable.

The curriculum consists of three units that cover “defining the problem, the impact of male violence against women and manhood revisited”. The class challenges participants to learn facilitation alternatives for working with men, particularly in batterer intervention programs. The cornerstone of the curriculum is the Community Accountability model. All aspects of a man’s life are reinforced by the community and social structure in which he resides. As one of the training participants described it, “Other batterer intervention programs see the victim as the client and Men Stopping Violence sees the community as the client.”

MAW training builds on the belief that men influence other men. Therefore, observations of live group sessions were a key part of the training. One of the students indicated that they “had never witnessed such a powerful display and exchange among men in such a short period of time”.

The Men at Work training is delivered twice a year in Atlanta. For locations with 8 or more students, MSV brings the class to the trainees’ location. Anyone interested in attending the MAW training should contact Lee Giordano at Men Stopping Violence.

MSV Participates in Stop Violence Against Women Lobby Day at the Georgia Capitol

Langston Walker and Bernard Ellis, along with 9 other MSV allies, attended the breakfast and lobby day at the capital.  They visited their elected representatives to encurage them to support legislation to end domestic violence.

Georgia is ranked 10th in the nation for the murder rate of women by men. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal proposed cutting state funding for domestic violence and sexual assault centers by $4.5 Million and replacing it with federal funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Federal restrictions with TANF may not allow using the funding for operational expenses or for services such as those provided to single women without children who make up about one-third of Georgia’s domestic violence victims. Using TANF funding for shelters perpetuates the stereotype that only poor women are victims of violence. Domestic Violence advocates are concerned and decided to take the opportunity to let their legislators know about their concern. On February 3, 2011 over 200 advocates and concerned citizens met at the capitol for the 12th annual Stop the Violence Against Women Lobby Day. The lobby was sponsored by the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault, Men Stopping Violence, RAKSHA and Caminar Latino.

Celebrity spokesperson Chri$tyle spoke at the breakfast that kicked off the event. She shared her story about domestic abuse as a child which encouraged her to start the campaign “Be the Voice”. Her campaign helps to highlight the issues and impact of abuse to make more people aware of domestic violence and abuse in the community. Following the breakfast, the participants walked across the street to the west entrance of the Capitol to make their voices heard by elected representatives. Individuals stood in lines for an opportunity to share their concerns face to face with their legislators.

MSV staffer, Bernard Ellis, Langston Walker, and 10 other MSV allies represented Men Stopping Violence’s support of the advocates educating legislators about violence against women. MSV, an organization focused on social change to end abuse, strongly believes that social change will take place when current social and cultural messages along with supporting legislation promoting the domination of women is eradicated. Having a voice in legislation affecting women’s rights is critical to the long term success of ending violence against women and girls. The lobby day represents another history making event toward creating safer communities.”

Men Stopping Violence Chosen to Participate in the US-Morocco Experts Exchange

Nuriddin visiting the children's educational program at Ain Ghazal Center in Oujda

Sulaiman Nuriddin, director of men’s education, has been selected as a delegate in the US-Morocco Experts Exchange. The five delegates from the US have been invited to help increase Morocco’s capacity to reduce violence against women.

The delegation is traveling to several locations in Morocco, presenting at seminars attended by 25-30 local experts in offender focused programs, advocates in the field of violence against women, justice and police departments, government and education.

The objective of this Experts Exchange is to address 3 key areas of offender focused programs:

  • Preventative youth education against domestic violence
  • The creation of centers for male domestic violence offenders
  • The role of the judiciary and police force in addressing offenders in their efforts to curb violence against women

Nuriddin was able to call home while waiting for the night train from Casablanca to Oujda. He said, “There are some powerful women here working extremely hard to get this government to recognize domestic violence/crimes against women and children as serious issues. They are asking that laws to address these issues be passed. This so reminds me of the struggles women went through in the US in the early 70s. To hear the stories the Moroccan women are telling and see the work they are doing to bring about change can be quite overwhelming.

“Tomorrow we go to one of the listening centers (a place where women come to get support) to witness the work they do to provide services to victims. Then we take a five hour train Fez for another tribunal on domestic violence.”

From Fez, the delegation will travel to Rabat for an all-day meeting to discuss the findings of the trip and work with the Moroccan Experts to develop a plan of action.

Ally Breakfast Brings Men to Table in Support of MSV

Approximately 15 men attended the Men Stopping Violence (MSV) Ally Breakfast and pledged their support of the work to end violence against women.

Hosted by ally committee co-chairs Harold Dawson, Jr., and George McKerrow, Jr., the event was held at Ted’s Montana Grill in downtown Atlanta.

True Ally committee members and guests meet for breakfast in February and September. Along with the meal, attendees are provided education to help them spread the message of safety and respect for women and girls. Some men choose to become more involved with MSV or related organizations. Others use this opportunity to prepare themselves to speak up for women’s safety in a more informal way. All attendees appreciate the non-judgmental, safe environment provided at the breakfast.

Over the next year, MSV allies will be featured on the home page. Please check back often to hear from men who are building safer communities for women and girls.

For more information about this group, please contact Shelley Serdahely at 404.270.9894.

MSV Participates in End Violence Against Women Day at the Capital

Co-Founder Dick Bathrick, CRP Coordinator Langston Walker, and Executive Director Shelley Serdahely

Men Stopping Violence (MSV) joined several statewide organizations and other community partners at today’s 11th annual End Violence Against Women Day at the Georgia State Capital.

Langston Walker, coordinator of MSV’s Community Restoration Program, spoke about men’s role in ending violence against women.

“Now is the time for men to rise up and stand with women to help end the suffering millions feel because of domestic violence and sexual assault. Now is the time for men to challenge and encourage other men to be better while striving to be better ourselves,” he said.
Georgia Commission on Family Violence, the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault – along with Caminar Latino, MSV and Raksha.

Office on Violence Against Women Selects MSV to Lead National Initiative

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has chosen Men Stopping Violence (MSV) to organize and manage the first national initiative to engage men and youth in the work of addressing violence against women. The goal of the program is to increase the number of males involved in primary prevention programs that drive awareness and education about violence against women and girls.

This two-year initiative, “Engaging Men and Youth,” is part of the 2005 Violence Against Women Act and will be administered by the DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). MSV, in partnership with the Family Violence Prevention Fund, will advise OVW about effective methods and programs for organizing men and youth to create safer communities for women and girls.

“With nearly three decades of experience in this arena, MSV is the right organization to assist communities seeking to prevent the abuse of women and children,” said Shelley Serdahely, executive director of MSV. “We have trained thousands of individuals and groups, nationally and internationally, and we have developed solid, innovative programs, such as Because We Have Daughters®, the Community Restoration Program and the Mentor Training Program, that give men community-based tools for creating a safer environment for women and girls. Now, we have the opportunity to continue expanding that reach.”

Because We Have Daughters Reaches Out to Military Dads, Daughters

Men Stopping Violence (MSV) traveled to San Antonio, Texas, in October to conduct a two-day Because We Have Daughters® (BWHD) training in conjunction with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Team at Lackland Air Force Base.

For the first two years of the BWHD initiative, MSV conducted gatherings throughout metro Atlanta, offering the program to individuals and groups. In order to expand the reach of the program, last year the organization began training other groups to conduct their own BWHD projects. MSV’s first partner in this endeavor was Open Word Christian Ministries in Fairburn, Ga., which now conducts a BWHD program at the church. MSV has since conducted three other BWHD trainings, including on two military bases.