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: CAFE Edmonton

CAFE Edmonton at the CAFE National Conference 2019!

Our branch director, Sean McMurtry, and our Community Development Officer, Monique Dietvorst, attended the CAFE National Conference in Toronto.

The conference lasted two days in Toronto between August 2-3 2019. Our two attendees were happy to see the wide range of attendees supporting boys and men. The conference had two streams, and featured keynote speakers such as Cassie Jaye. They also watched a wonderful speech by Karen Vecchio, an MP in the Canadian government. She is on the Canadian status of women’s committee, and delivered an excellent, balanced speech with many salient points about issues affecting both men and women.

The lectures were recorded, and will be available on CAFE YouTube shortly.

They counted 11 Albertans at the conference, and CAFE Alberta managed to reach the 75,000 fundraising goal for the Canadian Centre for Men and Families in Calgary! This centre will service boys, fathers, men and families for all of Alberta!

When Sean and Monique returned to Alberta, we got some more great news. Dr. Dan McKinnon and his fabulous team in Calgary received a  $46,000 Community Initiatives Grant from the Government of Alberta! It looks like we reached our immediate fundraising goals to have a full time Canadian Centre for Men and Families in Alberta.



What I Learned About Domestic Abuse

I recently came across a Global News article, “Edmonton Wildcats speak out against gender-based violence.” Reading it, I realized I would have agreed with the article until a couple years ago (when I started researching Domestic Abuse). This article states that Domestic Abuse is a gendered-issue. Considering how Domestic Abuse stereotypes are so ubiquitous in our everyday lives (from billboards, to Facebook memes), I wanted to share what I have learned recently.  Admittedly, I have a rather pedantic personality, and I can’t stand when “people are wrong on the Internet”. The article irked me, and others who are just like me (including the female counselor who sent me this article; this counselor has treated damaged and abused men for the past ten years).

Click here for the Edmonton Wildcats Speak Out Against Gender-Based Violence

In the article, Jan Reimer, the executive director of the Council of Women’s Shelters (and a former Edmonton Mayor), asserts that Domestic Abuse is gendered. As I said myself, this used to be my view. My view shifted when I was open-minded enough to review the cold, hard, unemotional data. If you want to be completely objective, many would be as surprised as me to see that evidence-based researchers have debunked the gendered domestic abuse myth countless times. These studies are collected for public viewing on the Partner Abuse State of Knowledge website.

Click here for the Partner Abuse State of Knowledge (PASK) Website

Jan Reimer (to paraphrase) says she is against the harmful messages that come from gender stereotypes, even as she inadvertently plays up the same old cliché that domestic abuse (as a gendered crime) is a uniquely male crime perpetrated against female victims. According to the Duluth Model, Domestic Abuse is a political act caused by a patriarchal need of men to control and subdue women through physical and emotional terror (and I admit that I am just as prone to unconsciously believe gendered stereotypes).

In fact, the entire Western world funds a Domestic Abuse model based on the Duluth Model. After reviewing the cold, hard facts about domestic abuse, we discover that men are also victims of domestic abuse. In reality, battered men, lesbians, etc.. are excluded from services and are left in the cold; we only have shelters dedicated to women battered by men in Canada. In my work at CAFE, I have realized it’s not just women who play up stereotypes. Many men are ashamed and believe it would be too awkward to show up to an emergency room with severe burns from having boiling water poured on them, or a knife in the leg (with kids in tow). Many men are too afraid to the call the cops when the violence starts, because our current model will arrest the man automatically. It is assumed that he is the perpetrator, since Domestic Abuse is “gendered”. Often a violent woman will be left with kids, and the woman will remain untreated as a perpetrator.

As an aside, I would like to see less punitive treatments for perpetrators, and focus on the underlying issues. Finger pointing won’t change anybody’s behavior. Men treated under Duluth model are more likely to re-offend than untreated controls.

Dr. Donald Dutton, a psychology professor at UBC, and a respected Domestic Abuse expert on the West coast, has written several books on the subject, including one titled “Rethinking Domestic Violence” and another titled “The Domestic Assault of Women”. He research has reached the same conclusion as other objective research; domestic abuse in not a gendered crime.

On April 21st, 2016, Canadian Senator Anne Cools arranged for Dr. Donald Dutton to present the facts on Domestic Abuse in a presentation to the Canadian Senate. I reviewed this presentation, and then also interviewed Dr. Dutton myself on September 1st, 2017, via Google Hangouts. We discussed the politically incorrect facts on Domestic Abuse, and how to implement better social policy.

Click here to hear Dr. Donald Dutton’s presentation to the Canadian Senate:

Click here to hear us talk to Dr. Donald Dutton about Domestic Abuse facts, and how to implement better social policy:

Some key points to take away from Dr. Donald’s research:

A common problem with ideological, advocacy research concerns their use of a crime filter. They measure “crimes,” but ignore that men are more often arrested due to ideological reasons. Men are not arrested because they’ve committed an actual crime. In many places with the Duluth Model, men are subject to mandatory arrest during any domestic disturbance and they appear to commit more “crimes.” They are arrested even if they’re the victim. To illustrate the absurdity of this, Dr. Don Dutton recalled one case where a man’s drunken wife had stabbed him. When the police arrived, with the knife still sticking out of his stomach, he was arrested.

  • The most common form of domestic abuse is common couple, or bilateral abuse. Perpetration goes back and forth, with equal intensity, between BOTH partners (men and women)
  • The second most common form of domestic abuse comprises a perpetrating female against a non-violent man (ie woman hits partner with a frying pan)
  • Third most common form is that which is commonly advertised, which is a violent man perpetrating against a non-violent female.
  • Ideologically-based Duluth model does not actually prevent violence against women. In fact, men who are subject to the Duluth treatment, and are “re-educated” are more likely to reoffend than untreated males (Click for that citation here 
  • Duluth model does not service the Gay and Lesbian community, as same-sex couples do not fit into a gendered violence model.


In response to the mainstream narrative, associates of CAFE Edmonton are putting together a petition called “Women Against Duluth”. This petition will be a careful essay outlining inconsistencies of Duluth Model, and challenge the current model with more inclusive solutions. Canadian Women will endorse the petition, although anybody can sign it. Together, we will submit it to the Status of Women’s Minister. Canadian Women, Lesbians, etc. will demand that policy makers stop using women as defense against a non-scientific model. Women will no longer stand idly by as battered men, lesbians, children, are excluded by the Duluth model.

If you are a man, or anybody else excluded by the Duluth Model, you can contact the *Virtual* Canadian Centre for Men and Families in Edmonton. Volunteers are standing by to help you with your Domestic Abuse situation, and will take your complaints seriously. Email edmonton@menandfamilies.org

Misandry Alive and Well in Edmonton

I was walking along Whyte Avenue, and was frustrated to see so many casual advertisements for the SCUM Manifesto. Valerie Solanas wrote the S.C.U.M. Manifesto in 1967, and it’s basically a monologue that is often presented via theatre. The S.C.U.M. Manifesto was advertised as a theatre event during the recent Fringe Festival.

Click here for link to poster.

The SCUM Manifesto poster for the Edmonton Fringe Festival advertises the event as “feminist”. If you read the content of the S.C.U.M. manifesto, it argues that men have ruined the world, and that it is up to women to fix it. To achieve this goal, it suggests the formation of SCUM, an organization dedicated to overthrowing society and eliminating the male sex. The Manifesto suggests the extermination of men, and that women are superior. The Manifesto is widely regarded as satirical, and feminists claim it is based on legitimate philosophical and social concerns. Solanas herself conceded in an issue of Village Voice ad that S.C.U.M. stands for Society of Cutting Up Men.

I think it is significant to note that Solanas was seriously abused by her father, and this obviously colored her view of the other gender. I would like to see people like this get proper mental health help to recover from their abuse.

Some of us with concerns about men’s issues have wondered how the Manifesto can be considered satirical, since Solanas literally shot two men in 1968, and almost killed one of them. It was an attempted murder. Warhol was seriously wounded by the attack and barely survived: surgeons opened his chest and massaged his heart to help stimulate its movement again. He suffered physical effects for the rest of his life, including being required to wear a surgical corset. The shooting had a profound effect on Warhol’s life and art. Also, Solanas told reporters that that SCUM was just a literary device, but she held a series of recruitment meetings for SCUM at the Chelsea Hotel where she lived.

Solanas was arrested the day after the shooting. When asked for an explanation, she said that Warhol “had too much control over my life.” Earlier on the day of the attack, Solanas had been turned away from Warhol’s Factory, after asking for the return of a script she had given to Warhol. The script had apparently been misplaced.

The rhetorical question is: If this monologue and manifesto was titled S.C.U.W (Society for Cutting Up Women) would it celebrated on Whyte Avenue as part of the Fringe Festival? If the author was a man who shot and almost killed a woman, would we be showcasing his manifesto?

Ways to Help CAFE Edmonton

We had a few requests at our last event on how to help with the important issues. Everybody has something to give and talents to lend!

  1. You can donate for a tax deductible receipt through our national website. Please earmark the donation for Edmonton by checking the “I would like to designate this donation to a specific fund” checkbox and select Edmonton. WE REALLY NEED DONATIONS FOR THE VIRTUAL MEN’S CENTRE IN EDMONTON. We will use the funds to pay male-friendly psychologists to start private social services. Unfortunately, the majority of public funded mental health services still adhere to discredited Duluth model, which assumes that men cannot be victims of violence and sexual abuse. Click here to donate.
  2. Add yourself to our volunteer database. Please email mdietvorst@equalitycanada.com if you can spare a few hours a year. We need volunteer to work security and hand out brochures at our events. We will also need volunteers to work casinos, work to represent CAFE at associate events, etc..
  3. Network for us! We need connections in the city and worldwide. If you know any resource, please don’t stay silent! Tell us about it! Email kmerali@equalitycanada.com if you know male-friendly psychologist, people who can lend a theatre space, a sympathetic corporation who would sponsor us, etc,,
  4. Advocate for us! Be brave and tell the people around you that domestic abuse and sexual abuse against men and boys exists! Tell people about males comprising about 93 of workplace deaths. Tell people about the unfair court biases in family court, and the sad suicide stories. Everybody has a voice, and a true anecdote will reach that neighbor, family member, friend, colleague etc.. We realize these issues are controversial (and they shouldn’t be). The issues will only become mainstream if we talk about it and break the stigma.
  5. If you have a little more time, we need people to work on executive board. If you can spare a few hours per week, we need an Event Officer.
  6. Become a member of CAFE national. Your 60$ membership fee will go straight to Edmonton’s branch. You will be in the loop on our constant contact list, and you can vote in our yearly elections for our executives for the Edmonton branch. Get your membership here.

Planning a She for He in October for CAFE Edmonton

The She for He panel in Calgary was a huge success for Alberta! Khalil, the director of the Edmonton branch, was in attendance and met up with the executives at the Calgary branch. We made some valuable connections, and spent some time networking with people who have valuable insight into men’s issues, as well as people who had solutions and services!

Khalil is now planning a She for He in Edmonton. We are looking for female panelists who would be willing to comment and answer audience questions for an engaging and lively discussion. Women who may have experience in psychology and mental health, or in legal practice are always welcome to come forward and share your experiences about men and our institutions.

If you are a woman in Edmonton who wants to take the platform for Men and boys health and well-being, please email kmerali@equalitycanada.com