Men Stopping Violence Allies
Men Stopping Violence Allies are members of the MSV community who offer us exceptional support. They amplify the effectiveness of our work and propel us toward our mission by contributing time, skill, or financial support. Without this support, the work of MSV historically and currently would not be possible.
Through sharing their stories below, we seek to thank our Allies and inspire you to get more involved.
For more information about becoming a Men Stopping Violence Ally contact Ulester Douglas.
Featured Ally: Chelsea Austin
Chelsea has been a phenomenal volunteer for MSV. In less than a year, she jump started a participatory action research project, helped plan and coordinate a fundraiser, joined our grass roots fundraising team, organized a community dinner to talk about evaluation and research, and helped gather and curate stories about the effects of our work with men. Did we mention she’s a volunteer? The list of her contributions is fairly extensive, but whatever she’s doing, Chelsea brings an energy and competency that has been a helpful lift for MSV. Her acumen and enthusiasm have us exploring important evaluation questions and methods. Her work has also helped with preparing grant applications and will support our ongoing strategic planning efforts. Recently Chelsea was selected to receive a prestigious Evaluation Fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control. As she continues on in her career connecting public health, evaluation and social justice practice, we hope to continue being a home for her over the long haul.
“After nearly a decade of survivor-advocacy, I haven’t the energy for mere hope anymore. Men will change because they must, because there is no greater lie than that which tells us we cannot expect men to stop perpetrating violence against women. This belief is what brought me to Men Stopping Violence, and to the work, more broadly, of mobilizing men in a movement about their power and behavior. Indeed, I came to MSV to get my feet wet in men’s engagement work, but I’m staying because this organization is splitting patriarchy’s lies raw, because socially we’ve reached a tipping point and, luckily, there is no turning back.” – Chelsea Austin
Past Featured Allies
Khatdija represents an often overlooked part of our community leadership: young women of color. After taking MSV’s course on Emory’s campus, she mobilized Emory students to volunteer at MSV. The first year she built a base of interested students, and the second year she helped design and facilitate a modified internship program with a consistent group of 10-12 students meeting each Friday. She mentored ramesh in working with youth, encouraged fraternity members to join the Friday volunteer program, and helped build the leadership of young women who had strong analysis and were still developing their practice of engaging community to end male violence. Khatdija spoke at our 30th Anniversary gala and volunteered for Because We Have Daughters, and on campus organized around ending rape culture and sexual violence. While she considered MSV a respite, a place where she would be seen, valued, and supported, it was her activism and commitment that made MSV a home for her and many other students in the last few years.
“I support Men Stopping Violence because I hope to help eradicate stringent patriarchal values that endorse and perpetuate an unsafe world for women and girls. I do what I do because I love the women AND men in my life.” – Khatdija Meghjani
Lindsay represents another generation of MSV supporters. Over the last two years, she has steadily contributed to MSV. As an individual donor, you couldn’t ask for more generosity! She consistently gives every time she’s asked, she reaches out to friends and family, gets her workplace to contribute, and is now heavily involved in planning grassroots fundraising events. Her energy and organizing has netted us over 60 new supporters this year! As a small note, WE NEVER ASK HER TO DO ANY OF THIS! That’s right. Lindsay took it upon herself to ask after our financial well being, donate generously, and then to show us the power of community by planning, organizing and hosting a fundraising event for us. Lindsay is an inspiration, not only because her energy is boundless, but because she reminds us that genuine wealth is about our relationships and how we share them with others. After sharing her wealth with us, Lindsay is now helping MSV translate our wealth into financial well being. Watch for her leadership as she joins MSV’s community fundraising team!
“I find Men Stopping Violence’s innovative response to violence against women refreshing. Men Stopping Violence focuses on MEN stopping violence against women. Men showing other men that abuse will not be tolerated and that by not condoning it, men can no longer abuse without consequence. And while training and teaching individuals is important, MSV goes beyond the individual to impact organizations and institutions. In my opinion, this balance is the key to creating true change.” – Lindsay Wise
“Men Stopping Violence is a unique organization fearlessly tackling a subject that’s long been taboo. Violence against women should be a thing of the past. We all need to recognize that the decisions we make every day and the words we use have the power to shape part of the way women are viewed and treated by society at large. That doesn’t just apply to gender, of course. Everyone has the power to be an agent of change and has a responsibility to talk about serious, sensitive issues and set examples by the lives we lead. Advocating for ending violence is in the best interest of nonviolent men because it will improve our own lives and the lives of everyone around us, including the ones we love and want to see lead safe and healthy lives.”
Most violence and oppression is actually related to ignorance and, unfortunately, most of us tend to look at things only through our own perspective. We need to take an active role in trying to change people’s perspectives. When we hear other men saying or doing things that are harmful to women we need respond, to say, “what you said wasn’t right,” or “what you did was unfair.” This makes sense to me as a businessman. When your objective is to achieve profitability in this global economy, it is really critical to have myriad of diverse perspectives and views in the process of creating a product or service. MSV begins with the simple step of just dialoging and educating to include different perspectives.
“It is distressing to see that rape victims typically suffer dual abuse: they are raped and then they are blamed for it. This is painfully evident around the world, and even in our own country where we would like to think we are more progressive.”
“Recent examples of this have motivated me to do more than feel outraged; I want to take action, so I have become an Ally of Men Stopping Violence. Having a daughter, I can imagine how friends and family of the victims must feel. By being an active Ally, I join other men who are speaking out to protect women. And we will motivate others to move forward and protect our women. Converting outrage to action is what the Allies stand for, and I am committed to doing that.”
“As the Dad of two adolescent sons, I’m often troubled when fathers of daughters tell me how much “easier” it is to raise boys, particularly due to the gendered worries that attach to parenting daughters. The assumption seems to be that boys (and their parents) are somehow off the hook – they don’t have to worry about teen dating violence, sexual assault, pregnancy, or “slutty” reputations – rather, all of those worries fall to the girls and (primarily) their mothers to manage. This assumption carries over to women and girls being responsible for their own safety – whether physical, emotional, or both. Men Stopping Violence has worked for more than 30 years to expose and dismantle the fatally flawed logic of such assumptions: As long as the sole focus of these issues stay on the women and girls who are the victims and survivors of male violence, nothing will change. Unless the focus changes to challenge men’s behavior along with the social and cultural constructs that legitimize and perpetuate male violence against women, nothing can change. As fathers, as men, it is our job to teach boys about their unique roles and responsibilities in working to end violence against women. Anna Quindlen once wrote that one of the greatest contributions we can make to society is to raise feminist sons; with the help of MSV, that’s exactly what I am trying to do. It’s hard work – but it’s got to be done.”
“I had the privilege to have been taught by some very powerful and amazing women in my youth and adult years, both in my family, as well as many women leaders, activists, and teachers throughout my adulthood. I have learned much about the experiences of women, the conflicts and hardships as well as the joys in living. Unfortunately, our culture still subtly and not so subtly reinforces the notion that women’s voices are not to be taken seriously. What has been wonderful about my recent experience with MSV is that the work is not only about protecting women by preventing male violence, which is part of the mission and is often the default stance that we need to take as good people. It is about changing our whole culture and attitude about women and men, power and harm. Changing our environmental culture is what we need for men’s voices to be louder in teaching others about being decent, about adding decency to our collective repertoire. As men, we need to lead the way to support other men and women to create more decency in our families, workplace, among friends and the world at large”.
“My current family consists of two sisters and a mother. I am very protective of their well being. I was very fortunate in that my father raised us in a family that respected everything about women and promoted their advancement. It offends me whenever I hear of the way in which women are denigrated. This happens all too often in music, tv, and movies. Until we find a way to change the way the entertainment industry views women, we will continue to have an uphill climb.
Unfortunately I personally know women who are victims of not only physical violence against them but of emotional and psychological violence as well. I try every day to watch what I say about women and how I portray them. We can’t change others until we practice it ourselves!”
“Women are smart, so it makes sense to do what they say. All my life, I have listened to women. It started with my mother, then teachers, then my wife, and now my daughter. I was raised to treat all women the way you would treat your mother. In my business, I prefer to hire women because they pay more attention to details, which makes my job easier. With all these women around me, it was natural that I got involved when two women I knew were in abusive situations. I connected them with people who could help and I continue to keep an eye out. I check in when it looks like things might not be going well. For me, being an Ally is personal.”
“When my father raised his hand and struck my mother’s face, the world as I knew it changed completely. I did not hesitate to protect her…My commitment to feminism thus began with resistance to the abuse of women. When I ordered my father at knife point to leave our home, asserting ‘Get out and leave my mother alone,’ I was uttering one of the oldest sentences in the world. Other boys had said such things to their fathers. I did not want my father out of our lives because I loved him and needed his protection and guidance; what I wanted out of our lives was the violence.” This is an excerpt from “On Becoming a Feminist” Click here to read the complete article
Abuse is based on fear. When a man abuses a woman in any way, it is based on fear. To me, fear is the opposite of love. I never felt fear when I was raising my girls because I love them and out of that love respect comes naturally. Maybe if I had been afraid that they didn’t love me, that they were going to leave, that they didn’t respect me, then I might have been abusive. But I never had any of those fears.
Because of the culture, men feel the pressure to be strong, to provide. That can make a guy pretty afraid. We are afraid of being called a wimp. We need equality to keep from having to feel that fear. What is manhood? What is womanhood? They are really the same; maturity and responsibility. Nobody should have to wear the pants in the family. That idea is so dangerous and so embedded from such an early age. In America, it is a cliché.
Men Stopping Violence is one of the key ways we can change the culture to be more productive, loving, and less fearful. I hope that one day MSV won’t be needed any more. The culture of fear will change and men won’t feel a need to abuse their partners.
“When George invited me to the breakfast, I had my reservations as to what exactly “Men Stopping Violence” was about. As an attorney, I think of violence as battering, physical violence against women. What did that have to do with me? I thought I was aware but didn’t realize the different levels and types of violence that can occur outside the realm of physical violence. It ranges from verbal to physical abuse. Men Stopping Violence creates awareness for me as a father to help my daughters recognize behaviors that are not acceptable. Now I have twin sons, seven months old, and am also learning things to pass on to them. Men Stopping Violence has been an eye-opening program for me to develop myself as a more understanding spouse and father.”
“It doesn’t take guts to stand behind scriptures or traditions that conveniently support one’s own self-interest. Where it takes guts, where one becomes a man, is when he feels an intense emotion, such as frustration, and then, without acting out, he explores that feeling and begins to know himself.”
“I love and care for my wife. It would break my heart to know that anyone would have any thought of emotional, physical, or other abuse toward her or my future daughter.It comes down to every single person having a right to safety and respect in this world. This is informed by my faith; knowing what a cornerstone treating women with respect is. Where my passion comes from, unfortunately, are those situations you see in the news and realize that the view that women have a right to be respected is not shared by everyone. Because of that, I feel a responsibility to step out and be a proponent of the change we want to see, of the cause.I think that it was Dr. King who talked about good people standing idly by while societal ills continue. If we do that, we will never have the society we want.”
Lewis Perkins Hinley
“When a man is unhappy with the course of his own life, he will resort to holding down others, particularly women and children. Violence against women is one of the most severe symbols of an oppressed society we witness today. Women are the very givers of life, not unlike our mother earth. When we take from her without asking, when we abuse her gifts and especially her body, we are demonstrating the hatred, anger, frustration and sadness we feel for ourselves and one another. On the other hand, when a man loves himself and is happy with his course in life, he will not only support the development of his sister, wife, mother and daughter, he will understand that her personal safety is the root foundation of her flourishing and thus his own flourishing and happiness. What the world needs most today is the flourishing of our women in order to solve the social and environmental issues at hand. ”
Q – Why do you think that the Ally breakfast is important?
“I want the women in my life to be able to count on me and to feel safe. It is good to get together with other like-minded men to ponder with sincerity how we treat women. As we age we become set in our ways. At the Ally Breakfast, I get to discuss empowering women, rather than creating leverage or power structures around my interactions with them. In a non-judgmental environment, I am able to talk about being thoughtful, paying attention, being kind, and softening the hard edges in my life. These moments provide the thoughts and direction for my mental gardening.”
“Now is the time for men to stand up with other men and stop the physical, sexual, financial, and psychological violence we perpetrate with women in our family, social, professional, educational, work and community lives.The time has come for men to stop our violence toward women just because it is condoned by society. Battering, marital rape, date rape, sexual abuse of female children, sexual harassment and intimidation in the workplace and educational institutions, sexual objectification of women in advertising, sexual exploitation of women through prostitution, pornography, trafficking, and female genital mutilation; this all must stop.Men cannot wait any longer. Our violence towards women also leaves us men incomplete. This is why I am an ally standing with other men to support Men Stopping Violence.The time has come. The time is now.”
If men are going to be part of the process of ending violence against women, it requires knowledge of ourselves and the part we play. As men engaged in this task, we take the important step of asking ourselves tough questions that take a lot of courage to answer candidly. It isn’t always pretty, but when you come through it, it allows you to reach out to other men and help them make lasting positive changes