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Men Speak Out About Domestic Violence

We are inviting men to speak from their hearts. We are interested in hearing about your involvement with Silent Witness or with domestic violence organizations or events. We would also like to hear what you are thinking about your own life and violence, about how you think men can help in this effort, or about your own experience of being abused.

Email us with your experiences.

From: Ben Atherton Zeman
Outreach and Training Consultant
DVVAP - Domestic Violence Victim Assistance Program
Concord MA

Janet, thank you for your kind invitation to write about being a man,
working in this wonderful movement. I feel very passionate about Silent
Witness and it's goals, and I appreciate the chance to share why.

For ten years now, I have been involved full-time in the movement to end
domestic violence ­ a crime usually perpetrated by my gender towards yours.
At first, I was a little nervous that my participation would not be welcome
­ I found that the opposite was true. I have received enthusiastic welcome
from leaders such as yourself, and feel as if I am sometimes rewarded for
doing very little!

Originally, I was active trying to end the nuclear arms race ­ as a 19 year
old, I walked across this beautiful country on the Great Peace March for
Global Nuclear Disarmament in 1986, along with 500 other folks. When I did so, I met women who had been abused, raped and harassed by men. These strong, articulate survivors encouraged me to lend my voice to the cause of ending this violence ­ too few men, they said, were doing so.

I began volunteering at the Men's Resource Center in western Massachusetts (, giving talks on teen dating violence in local colleges. Ironically, at the same time I was finding out about my own behavior ­ women I knew were confronting me on my own overly-flirtatious behavior. They told me it made them nervous to be around me. At first, I became defensive, and blamed them for "falsely accusing" me. In the end, I realized that I was not just part of the solution ­ my behavior was part of the problem, too.

Since then, I¹ve worked in many local domestic violence programs and rape crisis centers, mostly as an educator. I've also been active as a
spokesperson for the National Organization for Men Against Sexism
( <> ), and will be on a panel at this weekend¹s national NOW conference in Washington, DC
( to speak about men's involvement.

As an educator, I found that graphic demonstrations like the Silent Witness
project, the Clothesline Project, Window Between the Worlds etc. were more likely to reach audiences than just talking to them. Lately, I've been
trying my hand at theatre-based education, and have written a play called
" Voices of Men." This one-man, multi-media play incorporates humor and
celebrity voice impressions, in order to explore domestic violence, sexual
assault and sexual harassment from a men's perspective (please email me at if you¹re interested in bringing this play to your area).

I'm still committed to ending sexism and men¹s violence against women in
the world, and in myself as well. I consider myself a "recovering sexist"
and thoroughly appreciate my role models for educating me as well as you
have. It is an honor to share this important work with you.

Ben Atherton Zeman
Actor, Comedian, Feminist and Husband
PO box 1556, Concord MA 01742

One example of a story is this: We met with a young fraternity president
while we were in Rhode Island. He and his friends helped make the SW exhibit at one of the colleges. I asked him why he had done this work, why he got his fraternity involved? He said it was because a few of the girls he had dated in college had been raped and he wanted to do something positive in response to that. At a national fraternity meeting he told other campus presidents about Silent Witness and invited them to join us.


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