Men need support groups, too

Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm a happy card-carrying member of the Men's Crisis Center!

Seriously, I helped them clean up the North Douglas Highway and have proudly worn their humorous shirts. It's a little club that I was introduced to by my late father Andrew Hope III. During my father's memorial, our grief was lightened by funny stories about the Center, told by good friend Gary Eddy. We were in a time of grief and need, and the Men's Crisis Center was sincerely one of the things that pulled us through.

I have not seen one example from the Juneau chapter of the Men's Crisis Center that exhibited sexism. Humor, for sure. But none of us tells women to get back into the kitchen. That's from a crude Web site that has no real connection to the folks in the Juneau organization.

If there is anything that is demeaning to the cause of gender justice, it is the appalling lack of social support that men receive in this country. Right across the channel from the Men's Crisis Center's proud Adopt-a-Highway sign, there is the AWARE Shelter. We have countless women's support groups. And, for some reason or other, women tend to know how to support each other emotionally and socially, while, tragically, the majority of men often don't have anything - an agency, a friend, a shared language, a sign, a community - to turn to.

There is no denying the problems that women face every day. Sexism is pervasive and prominent, even today. We need more organizations such as AWARE. But where do the men go? Sports? A drinking club? That's a start, I'd say.

Help us find solutions to these problems. Have a laugh with us, for sure, but don't attack what is essentially an indicator of the poverty of solutions.

Ishmael C. Hope


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