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Showing posts with label NOMAS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NOMAS. Show all posts

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Opening Remarks by Barry Goldstein:

NOMAS has various task forces to cover the variety of issues they are involved in.  One of the reasons why I came to NOMAS is because we are dealing with a plague from the abuser rights groups.  They want to create the illusion that complaints regarding Family Court Reform is about conflict between men and women. In fact, it is a group of both men and women who oppose the abusers who are attempting to undermine DV laws and regain control.  We want to reframe the issue correctly, which is part of what we do.  Look us up on NOMAS.ORG.  NOMAS wants to be on the side of Protective Mothers.  The organization can't do individual cases because we don't have the resources, but will write letters to support Amicus Brief.  NOMAS supports The Quincy Solution.  


Andrew Willis wanted to announce that The Stop Abuse Campaign wants stories from Protective Mothers to put on the website.  

Moshe Rozdial:  NOMAS was established in 1975 and is the oldest pro-feminist men's group in the Nation.  It coalesced into an organization that includes the men and women you see now on this panel.  National Organization for Men Against Sexism, the Aconym means No Mas, or No More in Spanish.  The four tenets of the organization are pro-feminist, anti-racist, LGBT affirmative and enhancing men's lives.

Today we will hear from different members of NOMAS who represent the different task forces in the organization.  We have homophobia and heterosexism, human trafficking, pornography--all these issues are there to enhance men's lives because we believe that without this intersectionality we will never be able to enhance people's lives including men's lives.  

This conference is the 40th conference re men and masculinity.  These oppressions are all interlinked, ablism, anti-semitism, the oppression of one group is the oppression of all groups.  We are not a one issue group which is a strength and weakness.  We provide training and information on all these issues, because they all intersect.  

Now we want to introduce Gloria from NOW to see how she came to NOMAS.  

Gloria Woods:  Gloria has been an activist in Michigan for NOW. In her words--In 1995 I was the President of NOW and we were totally blindsided when Republicans took over our legislature and the governorship.  We were blindsided by a raft of father's rights legislation from the abuser's lobby that came forward, the main thrust of it being "shared parenting."  The intention was to change the state law to default to joint custody which was again shared parenting.  Legislatures wanted to believe the nonsense mythology that it wasn't fair to good fathers others.  Why do you think that PAS continues?  Because it is out there in our patriarchal system that men should be believed?  

I called a friend to find out what I could do and she said call Jack Straton in California and explain the issue.  He said ok, here is what I can do for you, and he gave us all sorts of reports and research and explained how to speak to our legislators.  We did stop them.  We lost on welfare, we lost on abortion, but that we won regarding custody.  From that time, I was in support of NOMAS and I have worked with them ever since that time. I have successfully gotten Barry and The Quincy Solution coming in a month to Michigan.  

We (NOMAS) have an excellent website.  The resources I received by mail are now available on the website.  It has child custody and so much more, so definitely go on the website.  

David Greene:  I head the task force on Social Class issues, Classism.  I am part of the Men's Studies Association, studying men and masculinity, and coming from a strong feminist perspective.  Many people in the field don't come from this perspective, but we have sought to keep this narrow voice clear.  We used to have a newsletter and journal--the latter became financially unfeasible and then became Men and Masculinity of Sage Publications.  But we lost editorial control of it.  

We try to have a much more feminist based collaborative approach to our work.  We try to use our research to engage with activists, so we go beyond the traditional scholarly approach.  

Phyllis Frank: I have been part of NOMAS for now more than three decades.  I would like to talk about the problem of racism; it is sometimes referred to as racial injustice.  It has more frequently been referred to as white privilege, or white entitlement, or else white supremacy.  We believe this is characteristic of the U.S. from its roots.  I head the Task Group of Racial Injustice of NOMAS.  

I was raised in a liberal NE Brooklyn family, and raised not to be racist.  And because of that, and because I didn't know I was absorbing white privilege and white entitlement subconsciously, when I began my activism as a feminist non racist warrior, black women would often confront us re our own racism.  Yet white sisters and I would often say things like "It's not always about race." or "I don't have a racist bone in my body." or "You must be wrong." or "You don't even know me."  

So as much as I knew about sexism and male supremacy I wasn't making that leap to understanding racial injustice.  Then a friend gave me a copy of the video of "The Color of Fear".  The guy in the video was quite racist, and I noticed that everything that the guy thought I had also thought and said.  So my colleagues and I were talking about eliminating racism while not even understanding what it is.  

Eventually, in 1994 I took a Undoing Racism Workshop and was furious that I was this old and had no idea about what white racism was.  We make sure every person who works on this issue in NOMAS takes this workshop.  

Jacob Jacquez: psychotherapist.  It is an honor to be here and to listen to the stories people have shared.  I grew up in Utah and came out as gay when I was 18 years old and I began to see so much injustice in the world, but I was luckier than most.  So even though my Dad didn't speak to me for a while, I had the support of my mother.  

As a listener, I heard stories from families and friends, also at a DV shelter.  Over and over heard stories of abuse.  I began to wonder what is going on.  Then luckily I met NOMAS and they had a perspective that really helped me to understand and explain it.  I realized with NOMAS that what's going on is a natural manifestation that values men over women and children.  It includes street harassment, coercion and control, rape and sexual assault, and femicide (also a big problem in this country).  You cannot unknow what you already know.  I realized I could continue my life enjoying male privilege, but would that make me a good guy.  NO.  I realized that I had to stand up and fight the oppression, or else I would be complicit in it. I came to learn more about the issue, and understood how sexism and heterosexism is integral to the abuse going on in our culture.  

I want you to know where NOMAS comes from in regard to this group.  We oppose the presumption that heterosexuality is the norm and all other sexualities are deviant.  We oppose the presumption underlying homophobia that the female is bad and less valuable.  We oppose discrimination against LGBTQ folks.  We have so much work to do.  We are gaining in terms of legalizing gay marriage, but there remains evidence that there is still more we need to do.  

Robert Brannan:  The task force I am a part of observes and study sex trafficking, and the use of women and girls in prostitution and also the proliferation of pornography in our culture.  Amazing that there is a feminist branch that opposes pornography.  

The media presumes that this issue no longer exists.  It does.  The anti-pornography movements has largely withered and died; as a culture we are being pornofied.  Many social evils created by pornography have continued up to the present day.  Even men are being affected, such as the problem of internet pornography addiction.  There are many men who have lost their careers and lives because of internet pornography.  

Other harms are of a different nature, such as the idea that sexual coercion is OK and that women like it.  We believe this issue of pornography, which is complex, will continue to emerge and present challenges.  

Is pornography a single phenomenon or a combination of several with several effects.  

Is it solely sexual explicit?  

The argument that pornography is speech has defied legal action and so we have not won there.  

Feminists appear to be having fairly reasonable success in identifying the problems with sex trafficking, and the public is very critical of sex trafficking and legal protections against sex trafficking have been put into place.  Nonetheless, the level of human sex trafficking has gone up, not down, and our laws are largely ineffective in fighting it.  The problem of much legislation is that it requires that victims demonstrate the harms done to them under hostile examination in Court.  It is extremely daunting for any penniless victim very far from home.  The result is very few actual conviction.  

Furthermore, in the first 9 years after passage there has been a minimal amount of convictions.  This resulted in the opponents of legal and social action against human trafficking claiming that human trafficking isn't happening.  

There is an early age of entry into human trafficking--five separate studies in five cities have indicated that 14 is the average age.  Many of these young girls have been victims of childhood sexual abuse.  The term sex workers misleads people that it is a benign phenomenon when it is not.  

Greg White:  I am working in Buffalo with Catholic Charities.  Criminal Justice system asked us to create a batterer program for men which would accept court mandated referrals.  Some of us in NY state worked together to find out what kind of model would be ethical and doable.  What emerged is that these programs didn't work.  30 years ago when they started their goal was to stop intimate violence.  Some batterer programs haven't acknowledged this truth, and they are included children as part of the program which we felt put those children at risk.  

We wanted to put together a model that would work.  We came up with the New York Model of Batterer Programs.  In principle, every thing we do its policies programs and procedures, we seek input from DV programs as well state level programs.  Our goal is to never undermine the battered women's movement in this country.  We try to hold men accountable who are going through the court system.  This model is about holding men accountable and making sure that the men follow up and complete their program.  Men take a weekly, one hour session on DV, info that we would offer anyone, including what you'd hear today from members of this panel.  

Rose Garrity:  NOMAS operates in a more feminist way than many others who do this kind of work.  We are all allied together in doing this work.  I am part of the Ending Men's violence task force group.  We put out position papers on this issue.  Addresses faulty and misleading information that women are more violent than men.  Through this task group NOMAS has been pretty allied with many DV programs and supportive of the New York Model which many feminist groups support.  

As a survivor myself, this meeting has triggered me.  Our systems in this culture serve the patriarchy.  This has been demonstrated at this conference where children have been handed over to the abusers.  We need to keep this broader analysis on our minds regarding why things happen the way they do. We don't hate men; We hate the patriarchy.  Comment from audience:  We need equality before the law and we also need to close the wage gap.