Short Answer: to Promote Love and Respect for Women and Children
So why do we work with men who abuse women? Because they are men that we all know, they are our fathers, brothers, uncles, they are men we attend church with, or we buy our groceries from. These are men who become involved in intimate relationships with that people that we care about. We work with them and we live along side of them. They date our friends our daughters and they raise the next generation. Ignoring them (these men) means to turn our back on all the people who will cross paths with them throughout the rest of their lives.
It is rather astounding that boys in our society are expected to learn about all of the mysteries of business, industry and sport, but are not even asked to learn about the mind of a woman or the cause-and-effect of a good intimate relationship. Boys are taught all of the fine points of team-building. Boys are encouraged to learn how engines work and how to take care of an automobile. Boys learn that a car must be washed and waxed not just once, but regularly, and that the oil must be changed over and over. However, boys are not systematically taught to understand how women think. Boys are seldom encouraged to consider the maintenance of a life-long marriage. Boys think girls are emotional, idealistic and romantic; yet boys turn into men who believe, idealistically, that relationships magically happen, that a woman can continue to love a man for a lifetime, even if he remains silent, unresponsive, emotionally illiterate, and, in some cases, abusive.
One of our programs introduces men to the notion that a relationship requires at least as much effort to maintain as an automobile. The fact that women and children are living beings with free will does not take away from the reality that there are certain predictable outcomes in relationships based upon our behavior. It matters whether we try hard to nurture and honor relationships, or whether we neglect and despise them. “Love and respect” is not a gift that descends upon us without effort. I am responsible for bringing love into my own home and for offering unconditional respect to my family. It is hopelessly romantic of me to believe I am entitled to love if I’m unwilling to give respect. The presence of “love and respect” is, in part, a man-made creation.
To achieve this creation, there is work and effort involved that the Center bases on our definition of nonviolence. We define nonviolence in two ways: “ A lifestyle based on love, truth and community, and speaking up for the truth in ways that do not hurt or control others.”
- by John Beams and the Center for Nonviolence
The Center for Nonviolence provides services to men, women, and youth who have used violence as well as support services for women and children who have been victims of violence or abuse. For more information, please visit http://www.centerfornv.org or call 260-456-4112.