Men’s Rights Advocates Build Network of Services for Vulnerable Men


Disassociated Press–San Diego, CA

In a move that has some feminists and others re-thinking their approach to men’s issues, a group of Men’s Rights Movement (MRM) advocates have, through hard work and sacrifice, built a vast network of shelters and other services for marginalized and vulnerable men in the US.

The group, called Helping Men Instead of Hating Women (HMIHW), found itself at a crossroads five years ago. “We saw how feminists and civil rights activists solved problems with an attitude of determination and hard work,” says 21-year old Gabe Elota, a member of HMIHW’s Board of Directors. “In the MRM, the focus has rarely been on what can be done to improve the lives of marginalized men, as opposed to pushing a feeling of powerlessness to change our futures. But, just for example, the civil rights movement—they didn’t sit around bashing white power and then expect white people and the government to do things for them. They went out, they used a variety of tactics from gathering support for legislative action, to civil disobedience. They had to be the change, and we look at those successes, and we think those happened for a reason.”

Elota wants people to know that not all MRAs (Men’s Rights Advocates) are the same. “We at HMIHW see that men as a class are not oppressed simply because they are male. But, we do know that there are men who are marginalized—veterans, men of color, gay and trans men. Even some straight white men are running around out there trying to figure out how they fit in, how to make it in a hostile economy. A lot of men are just alienated by the society they perceive as rejecting them. We’re not here to bash women, we’re here to get things done and help those men and boys get to a better place.”

For years, the MRM has existed, without making much of a dent in the way society perceives and assists men. Some members of the MRM began to feel the problem was internal, and more than just a messaging issue.

That’s when a group of loosely-knit men and women decided to act.

43-year old Paul Mattson, a computer technician and single father, explains: “We first did research on what exactly the needs were—we looked into demographics, we studied poverty and its effect on men, we studied the court system. We asked ourselves, ‘What do men need? Legal support? Food and shelter? Medicine? Work?’ And when we identified what needed to be done, the next step was to look at other models which had in the past been successful at filling these needs, and to incorporate that into our vision. Then we tweaked things until it fit for our goals.”

After three years of hard work, the organization had built its first men’s shelter, in San Diego, CA. Named “Hands of Healing,” the shelter currently services 30-40 men, whose needs range from housing to shelter from violent partners. It has served over 400 men in the course of two years, with an outpatient addictions counseling unit that San Diego Interim Mayor Todd Gloria has lauded for its visible impact on the city. “San Diego is a safer place for men and women alike,” Mayor Gloria said in a recent press conference, “and hundreds of men in this city alone can thank the men’s rights movement, for the tangible results they have produced in improving the quality of our lives.”

Today in America, dozens of HMIHW shelters, legal groups and advocacy centers can be found from coast to coast. Thousands of men are receiving services they otherwise would not have access to, if not for Helping Men Instead of Hating Women.

“It really is more about, what can we do to change things? How can we help men? Do we accomplish this by complaining that we’ve got it bad, but not backing it up with action? Or do we roll up our sleeves, get out there and build something real? I’ll stick with the latter, thank you very much.”


8 thoughts on “Men’s Rights Advocates Build Network of Services for Vulnerable Men

  1. Pingback: Feminist Arguing About Parenting Rights 101 ~ How To Look Credible While Being Dishonest | American Fathers

  2. What about these?

    Matt on bbc news talking about the Harmen rooftop protest

    Fathers 4 Justice / Donald Tenn / Fatherless Day Rally / KBAK TV Ch 29 Bakersfield

    Domestic Violence: Congressman Conyers

    • Exactly! These are three great examples of networks of social services. I wonder how many men had a safe, warm place to sleep that night because of that rooftop protest? The Fatherless Day rally must have provided thousands of dollars in legal support for at least half of the dozen people who showed up. And I can’t think of a better way to improve the lives of marginalized men than pestering politicians with rhetorical questions based on false statistics. If only more people knew of these great resources, which have helped so many! Hats of to you, Astrokid!

      • Happy to help you.
        I will let National Organization of Women know that they shouldnt have turned to Govt for any of their funding including the 600M$ per year VAWA or free birth control or Women Infants Children or any of the numerous programs for women.
        I will also let the highly celebrated Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst know that her tactics dont meet with your approval.

        After her husband died in 1898, Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), an all-women suffrage advocacy organisation dedicated to “deeds, not words.” The group placed itself separately from – and often in opposition to – political parties. The group quickly became infamous when its members smashed windows and assaulted police officers. Pankhurst, her daughters, and other WSPU activists were sentenced to repeated prison sentences, where they staged hunger strikes to secure better conditions. As Pankhurst’s oldest daughter Christabel took the helm of the WSPU, antagonism between the group and the government grew. Eventually arson became a common tactic among WSPU members, and more moderate organisations spoke out against the Pankhurst family.

        Heck.. lets tell Harry Crouch the president of who is running a Mens Center in San Diego on a shoestring.. zero Govt money.. to contact you for the 1000s you are willing to dole out.

        • Creating these services is your cause, not mine! Get off the keyboard and do some real work! And who said anything [is wrong with] government money? It’s called organizing and fundraising, and your comment may as well have been written in Martian for all the sense it made. Feminists and civil rights leaders didn’t sit around whining about how nobody liked them, so come off it and join the world of hard work and sacrifice. It’s how change is made, and goals are accomplished. If you keep spamming the comments with videos and non-sequiturs you’ll be banned.
          –Some guy who is not Michael Farkness

          PS There’s nothing wrong with writing grant proposals for government money, that’s part of fundraising, and you should do that where you can. I feel this needs clarification as you are so full of assumptions.

          Edited for clarity

Flex your patriotism, leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s