Recently I had the opportunity to co-present a workshop at the National Organization for Women’s (NOW) annual conference in Tampa, FL. The workshop was about how survivors of domestic violence could be resilient after experiencing abuse. I shared my own personal story of resiliency, what that means for me as a survivor of child abuse and intimate partner violence, and coping techniques. After my presentation, participants in the workshop shared their experiences and their own heartfelt stories of triumph over abuse.
During the entire NOW conference, hundreds of feminist women, and men, gathered during that weekend to discuss issues affecting women and families in this country and around the world. Men like Barry Goldstein, activist and battered mothers advocate, and Ben Atherton-Zeman, spokesperson of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism, only to name a few, represented that segment of male society who fight for the equality of women, protection of children, and the declination of the age old, destructive misogynist ways of thinking. They were welcomed speakers among a sea of activist women.
Whether you agree with all that NOW as an organization represents, one thing I saw was their ability to engage men in the conversation of solutions to ensure a progressive future for both women. All movements start from one point but in order to be sustainable, they must be willing to adapt and grow into a progressive effort that meets the needs of society in modern times. Among many great initiatives, that is one initiative NOW is managing to do.
Often when we talk about social ills like domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse, we speak in terms of how they affect women. And women are often the ones to carry the torch to create support and resources for survivors. There are more women representing these issues too like there are women flooding church pews. There is an overwhelming unleveled scale of women compared to men on these serious issues that require the participation of men, the imperative engagement of men both young and old.
If we want to see a drastic shift take place in the way society views domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse, men can no longer be side line participants in the conversations and there must be an active recruitment to engage well intentioned men to ally alongside women who have taken these issues by the bridle to see effectual change take place.
We also need to pay closer attention to how misogyny has damaged men and has failed male victims. The misperception that as a man you should tough it up if you are assaulted, or that you can just take it and move on has drove countless men to live lives that are less than fulfilling, lives filled with denial, depression, addiction, abuse and yes, like many women re-victimization. We also do ourselves a disservice when we alienate men from our lives, when we fail to acknowledge their role in helping to create solutions. We also poison our posterity when we allow rhetoric and misogynist imagery to permeate our mainstream society, from both men and women, and do nothing about. I am talking about the men and women who portray both sexes like nothing more than sexual objects.
There are many men that want to get involved and fight alongside women to help bring change, despite what negative they have been taught by their fathers or society. Unfortunately some of them have been turned away by women who failed to recognize the need for change and allow men to take part in the solution with programs and services.
So take the time to look at your work and find ways to increase the engagement and participation of men. Men are a vital part of the equation to solving women’s issues and issues that are perceived to be just women’s issues. There are countless positive, inspiring, spirit filled men out there that are crusaders for protection and seekers of justice. The issues that often begin with female victims affect all of us. So be a part of that progressive change and embrace the men who raise their hands and ask, ‘How can I as a man help?’
Archive Press Release: Lyn Twyman Takes Part in Annual National Organization of Women (NOW) Conference
Lyn Twyman Takes Part in Annual National Organization of Women (NOW) Conference
Building Resiliency and Economic Empowerment for Survivors of Domestic Violence
Lyn Twyman, Founder of Courage Network and Deputy Director of the National Domestic Violence Registry was tapped to present a workshop at the annual National Organization of Women (NOW) Conference being held in Tampa, FL, June 24-26. The theme of the 2011 conference is “Daring to Dream: Building a Feminist Future” and will be presenting attendees with many programs and workshops throughout the weekend. The workshop titled “Building Resiliency and Economic Empowerment for Survivors of Domestic Violence” will be teaching attendees why economic security is a safety issue for survivors of intimate partner violence and the link between poverty and violence.
One out of three women experiences domestic abuse in their lifetimes, and their healing depends on having their emotional, mental and psychological needs met. Motivational techniques for healing will be shared. This workshop will explain how you can apply these tools when working with survivors. Also, learn how to assist survivors in career planning by providing them with resources on higher-paying nontraditional jobs and opportunities in the green economy.
Presenting along with Lyn Twyman is Allen Thomas. Allen is a progressive advocate who works on issues related to domestic violence such as the affects of family violence on children,the role substance abuse plays in family violence, victims’ rights, crime reduction in communities, gang violence, juvenile violence and healthy relationships. Allen founded Operation Freedom NC, a grassroots volunteer organization that has grown into a community, state‐wide and national effort with a team of dedicated volunteers. The organization was founded after Allen chose to take his pain from the murder of his mother to help others avoid becoming victims of domestic violence. The mission of Operation Freedom NC is to raise awareness and prevention of domestic violence in local communities throughout the State of North Carolina and across the country. Allen is also the recipient of the 2010 Secretary’s Award of Excellence from North CarolinaDepartment of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the field of community service. www.operationfreedomnc.org
Lyn is an advocate, activist, consultant and entertainment producer. A survivor of child abuse and domestic violence, she founded CourageNetwork.com, a progressive online community for domestic violence survivors and organizations. She is also the Deputy Director of the National Domestic Violence Registry, a model program founded in 2007 by Myra Spearman. Lyn is passionate about ending domestic violence, diversity issues, and the family. She is a talk radio personality on Party934.com, 94.9 FM Hudson Valley, NY, producing and directing her program called Courage Empowerment Forum where she discusses domestic violence, crime victimization and other social issues affecting communities, along with featured music. Lyn has lobbied for The International Violence Against Women Act on Capital Hill and has been a featured guest on several media outlets. Lyn has also worked on several independent film projects and is currently teamed with two award winning directors producing both a feature film and co‐producing a civil rights documentary about the life of Joan Mulholland. www.lyntwyman.com
For more information about the NOW Conference schedule, please visit their website: http://www.now.org/organization/conference/2011/workshops.html#4