From the early 1980’s as a children’s advocate at Alaska’s first shelter for battered women and their children (A.W.A.R.E. in Juneau) until today in the role of Executive Director of Bergen County’s co-lead domestic violence service provider (Alternatives to Domestic Violence – ADV), I’ve held a deep conviction that the only way to truly ensure the safety of women and children is to heal and educate men.
Nothing is more important than this work. I have been personally privileged to undertake it through many years of psychoeducational interaction with men and boys. Although there has been some undeniable progress toward increased awareness in certain spheres, in many respects the situation has never been more challenging. Boys and men have always received extremely mixed messages regarding what is and is not acceptable behavior – but sadly the prevailing message of today is “young man, go ahead and be loud, aggressive, intimidating, disrespectful – and you too could one day be Governor…President…Supreme Court Justice…”
True Men of Strength take care of their families, communities and themselves. We are no less strong, tough or “manly” when we’re loving, gentle, nurturing, and humble. These traits are not mutually exclusive. I am blessed with the example of my own sons Matan and Adir, who have both grown into outstanding young men who encompass all of these attributes – there is indeed reason to be hopeful for positive change.