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: News and Blog

CAFE Day at Parkdale Community Breakfast

Today was CAFE Day at the Parkdale Community Breakfast. Hayden and I represented CAFE and the Canadian Centre for Men and Families by preparing and distributing breakfast to about 60 men of the Parkdale neighbourhood in Toronto. We met some amazing volunteers who proudly sported the CAFE colours, as you can see from the photos below! We also engaged with many of the men by passing out literature and discussing the services we offer. The ability to access free services geared to men seemed to resonate with many of the folks I spoke to and we look forward to returning again soon to continue building these relationships. Thank you to the leaders and volunteers of this terrific service. A wonderful way to start the day!

Justin

From a female partner of a wrongly convicted man

My thoughts on the Healing Journeys Conference for male victims of abuse

I am the female partner of a wrongly convicted man.

Men who are victims of trauma believe, as a man, they could have controlled the situation but they can’t. Men in prisons suffer trauma intensively because it is much more intense when ones life is fully controlled by prison staff.

Where men were sexually abused, the abuse traumatized them to the extent that it was confusing for them to start a relationship or approach healing from a skilled based perspective. They are drowned in their trauma.

Many men in prison are sexually abused. There was a health Fair at Warkworth Institution and the pamphlets they gave out along with condoms were all about “helping” inmates to protect themselves. The catch phrase on the cover of pamphlet was “Watch your Ass” with the back of a female butt in underwear. (to arouse men in prison no doubt) On the inside, there were 3 glossy colour photos of male buttocks in very provocative form.

They were really just advertising and promoting sexual activity in the prison and using images to entice men rather than just merely warning them of the safety issues, like a REAL Health function would do.

Some of the inmates were actually disgusted and walked away but others of course would think nothing of raping a man 1/2 their age.

Here is a link from 2010 about giving out condoms.
http://www.communitypress.ca/2010/08/09/free-condoms-for-inmates-cost-almost-120000

There are many approaches to healing in oneself: such as breathing methods, meditation, prayer stillness, quietness to lower the heart rate. Men are capable and once can use these skills, they can learn to maintain a calm. But in prison, this type of therapy is rare unless they are fortunate enough to have a good therapist at the prison or they have learned to discipline themselves prior to entering the prison.

There are just a lot more issues to deal with when you are living in an institution. When in distress, you don’t know what to focus on so you need to focus on something during this time and once in a cell, it is not as easy as it would be in a better environment in a better visual setting. Also important is getting the right food and getting the right sleep when you are under stress but when you are in a prison you are on high alert at all times.

Prisoners are always on the edge of hell and heaven managing it in an environment that is unnatural so this increases the risk. Managing stress is also linked to having a routine which in some ways (though limited) a prison does actually provide, however chained. Supports are essential, but even professional advice is not always useful unless the man has the community support behind him. Additionally, therapists need to learn the issues that men go through in order to help them. Women can have good insight into helping men but they are not men so can not always look at pain thought a male lens.

When it comes to suicide, men will succeed in a prison. They have the means to kill themselves so this is very dangerous. Isolation is one of the factors that brings men to a suicidal state but if they speak of suicide in a prison, they can be put in isolation so it is very difficult to get help once you’re in an institution. (again it depends on the staff and whether they have a strong inmate committee)
Chaplaincy programs are very valuable for men but prisons are known to cut this off as well. Dealing with suicide properly, whether in prison or not, depends on what type of assessment there is. A good assessment is a tool that is used in prison and hospitals but some of them are not always accurate. I was told by one of the speakers that http://cssrs.columbia.edu/ is a good scale.

CAFE Calls for Open Minded Dialogue in Response to Censorship and Polarization on Canadian Campuses

CAFE Calls for Open Minded Dialogue in Response to Censorship and Polarization on Canadian Campuses

Statement issued Monday, November 28, 2016

In recent weeks, Professor Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto has become a controversial figure due to his stance on several issues at the intersection of freedom of speech and identity politics.

Reasonable people may disagree on the best way to simultaneously protect the rights of transgendered individuals while also protecting the rights of academics to express unpopular viewpoints. However, we must all accept as our starting point that it is wrong to engage in tactics of intimidation, harassment or aggression in order to silence dissent, and that we must all be held to these same standards.

In the midst of the wildest disagreement on possibly everything else, we must all unite in our effort to build a university campus that remains a safe place for open dialogue even – and especially – on sensitive and politically charged topics.

The Canadian Association for Equality is an educational charity guided by values which stand firmly on the side of protecting individuals from harassment, hate and discrimination as well as promoting equality of opportunity for all.

CAFE has decided to release this statement as a result of the lessons we may draw from our own history, for some of our own events have been subject to riotous behaviour on the part of our critics. These unsuccessful attempts to derail CAFE’s message that gender equality must be inclusive of all genders have taken the form of aggressive bullying, violations of the University of Toronto Policy on the Disruption of Meetings, and unlawful behaviour such as pulling fire alarms and blocking emergency exits.

We are now seeing the same unacceptable acts of aggressive intimidation in response to the comments by Professor Jordan Peterson. We are not commenting here on the particulars of Professor Peterson’s beliefs or ideas, because to do so would be beside the point. Bullying, harassment and violence are wrong no matter who those acts are committed by, and we must all condemn this behaviour. It’s that simple.

Such acts are especially repugnant at a Canadian university. Whatever your views of Professor Peterson’s position, it is not only the right but the highest duty of university professors to pursue truth through research and debate. Professor Peterson has been careful to articulate his point of view in a civil, clear, responsible and rational manner, and while others are free to disagree strongly with him, his unpopular beliefs should not subject him to administrative censure or student mobbing.

We support Professor Peterson’s right to discuss and even to advocate his viewpoint just as we support the right of his critics to fully argue their position in response. We are heading in a dangerous direction if we do otherwise. These efforts at censorship, which are fast becoming the new norm at Canadian universities, must not be allowed to go unchallenged. Efforts to keep students free from hurt feelings are instead leading us to a more polarized, dangerous and aggressive campus.

CAFE supports valiant work now underway to respond to these developments not with further polarization but with opportunities for open dialogue and engagement. We applaud the University of Toronto for organizing a public forum to debate the issues raised by Professor Peterson.

Our own organization will do its part to foster dialogue when we screen The Red Pill on Sunday, December 2nd at 7:00PM at the University of Toronto. The film starts with the assumption that feminists and men’s rights activists exist across a chasm. Then, through the efforts of the film’s protagonist to engage in mutual understanding, the film provides a lesson in how open-minded dialogue may lead to the discovery of unexpected common ground between once rival ideologies.

We sincerely hope such a lesson is quickly heeded, and we promise to continue to work to preserve Canadian campuses as truly safe spaces where ideas may be expressed freely without fear of intimidation.

CAFE Calgary Hosts First Meetup

CAFE Calgary hosted their first meetup group meeting in October. Here is the presentation provided by Monique Dietvorst. You can follow her on twitter @msdietvorstFuture CAFE Calgary meetups will be at Alexander Calhoun Calgary Public Library Anyone is welcome at meetups. Visit http://www.meetup.com/EqualityCalgary/ for more information.

Services for Men and Families Arrive in Calgary

By Dan McKinnon, CAFE Calgary Director

The CAFE Calgary branch has received a donation for a one-day per week office space from the clinic of registered psychologists where I have my practice. The offices are in a beautifully renovated home that is licensed to offer mental health services within a residential neighborhood setting. Following are the programs/initiatives we are starting with:

1. Conversations – At least once a month we are running a meetup group to talk about general issues that men and their families are experiencing here in Alberta. We have 50+ members in our meetup group at this time. Monique is leading this initiative/program.

2. Circles – At least twice a month we are holding a men’s peer support circle/group based on the one that the Canadian Centre for Men and Families currently runs in Toronto. We will also begin a mindfulness meditation circle/group for men and their families in the new year. I will be the facilitator for these groups.

3. Counsels – We have established a “Pro-Bono” Counselling Bank of registered psychologists who are willing to provide us via letter of agreement with three free counselling hours per year for men/boys in distress/crisis. Our plan is to grow this “Bank” via networking within the counselling psychology community and advertising in our professional association. Carol is leading this initiative/program.

4. Connections – We are engaging organizations in the Calgary community who hold and support a similar interest and commitment to the mental health and well-being of men and boys as a means of creating strategic alliances, sharing fund-raising resources and increasing public awareness.

One day per week is a small start and at the same time it is a strong start. If our dreams come true and we have our way there will be a full-time CAFE Calgary Centre for Men & Families in the future.

If you know of someone in Calgary who can benefit from the above or who can provide resources, both in person and/or financially, for the above please have them contact us.