Men Can Stop Rape, Inc. (MCSR) will host "Men and Women as Allies," a National Conference on Primary Prevention of Men’s Violence Against Women this April 14-15, 2009 at the deluxe Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. You can learn more about the conference and register at http://mencanstoprape.org/conference.
We chose the theme – Men and Women as Allies – because we believe it is a topic our profession is ready to have more open discussions about. An analogy that guides MCSR’s work comes from Ken Hardy, an African American family therapist who helps communities alleviate their racial and social tensions through dialogue. He typically uses “steering into the slide” as a way of explaining moving through difficult conversations between people of color and white people. Someone’s initial impulse after losing control of a car on a patch of ice is to steer away from it, but in order to regain control and reestablish the direction we want to move, we have to turn into the slide, which seems counterintuitive. When we are confronted with the fears and discomfort of engaging in challenging dialogue, we often want to turn away from them, but it is only through turning into those uncomfortable places that we move somewhere more constructive.
From our perspective, the same idea applies to conversations between men and women about violence against women. That is why after Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues) gives the opening keynote, she and Byron Hurt (Beyond Beats and Rhymes) will engage in a "Men and Women as Allies" dialogue. That is why workshops will provide us with the chance to discuss some unanswered questions for our field: What are women's and men's roles in primary prevention? How can domestic violence, sexual assault, and men's anti-violence groups work together to advance prevention?
The conference will also be a time to engage in dialogue with the new political administration. Vice President Biden has been invited to give the luncheon keynote. Participants will share an intimate evening with influential political leaders at a Capitol Hill reception/dinner and will be able to communicate their views to new appointees during federal agency briefings.
Please help us steer into the slide by attending the “Men and Women as Allies” conference. Your participation will help to create a climate that is inspirational, motivational, and collaborative.
We look forward to seeing you in April!
Everyone at Men Can Stop Rape, Inc.