Since I became an MRA, I gained interest in looking into the subject of domestic violence against specifically male victims. This town has several shelters, uniquely it has two dedicated to men only. However, only one is dedicated to victims of domestic violence. In 2012, after my encounter with Quincy’s court system, I realized how much the system abused certain resources put in place to help victims against abusers. I started down the rabbit hole, and reality hit…hard.
I looked up the local domestic Violence shelter in town, Quanada. The first thing I noticed was how it used female pronouns to refer to victims and of all the pages on their site, there was only one male pronoun and it was only there to say that men were held in separate locations when compared to women. Yet, the only location Quanada gave on their site was the female shelter. In 2013 I finally decided to question Quanada. I called them up and asked where men were held. Their answer was absurd. If a man was to find help, they referred him to the Salvation Army… as if they hadn’t already thought of that.
This wasn’t fair, men had to call the shelter or go to the shelter to even find where to seek help. In my mind, this meant the possibility that your abuser would find out what you were up to and you’d be screwed. In early 2014, I went to the local community college because I knew I was bound to find something there. I went into the women’s bathrooms and found plaques in each stall that referred women to Quanada, it also had stickers on paper towel dispensers that were hard to miss. Every plaque said, “You deserve respect”.
I sent my boyfriend into the men’s bathrooms, they were RIGHT NEXT to the women’s bathroom. The only thing that separated them was a wall. The only thing he found were statistics and ways that the young men could help women. There was no information on how they could help themselves flee. This I realized was a good example of sexism against the male gender.
Due to my ignorance of proper procedure, I created posters that informed young men using the bathrooms what was in the women’s bathrooms, along with factual information that men are victims at the same rate. And for the last line I put, “let Quanada know you deserve respect too”. These posters didn’t last too long due to posting them illegally. However, something must have happened, because we visited the same bathrooms, the statistics on how to help female victims were gone! Sure, there wasn’t anything on how to help themselves, but they weren’t encouraging the young men to stick their necks out while they went with nothing either.
Before I could do anything further, life hit me and I had to focus on my family. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I was free from the burden of extreme responsibility that I decided, using the old information, to check up on what actually happened at the Salvation Army. I was surprised to find out that nothing was happening there, they didn’t know what I was talking about. Of course, I was skeptical in believing that they didn’t have a clue as to what I was talking about. I specifically asked, “Who is the overseer of the Male Domestic Violence Program?” . I was given reference to the name, Heidi, and so I two days ago I visited Hiedi in the pursuit of answers. She claimed that and I quote, “If Quanada sends people here it is strictly because they are homeless,”. She insisted that they played no part in the Domestic Violence program. So I was forced to go back to where I had started.
On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, I looked up Quanada’s Domestic Violence Program Director and decided to make the phone call. Jennifer Vancil, I found, had been given this title only a year and a half ago. It was no wonder I went a complete circle, because since she has taken this position a number of things have happened. I practically interviewed her over the phone:
1. How often does Quanada see male victims or men who claim to be victims?
Reply Summation: Depends, male victims don’t come forward as easily, but there has been a definite increase of males that do come forward.
2. How often does Quanada gain males simply seeking regular shelter due to homelessness?
Reply Summation: Quanada only deals with Victims of domestic violence, so if anyone is seeking shelter simply due to homelessness, male or female, we refer them to domestic violence.
3. Who is the overseer of the men’s domestic violence program pertaining to battered men?
Reply Summation: If they’re a victim of domestic violence, male or female, they are housed here. I don’t think it would be fair, they’re all victims. Everyone does counseling together male or female.
4. Is there a program for male batterers? If so who runs that project?
Reply Summation: We don’t oversee that, it’s a paid program run by Steve Swink
5. Are there any programs for female aggressors?
Reply Summation: That’s something Quincy needs to work on
As you can see, 2014 was a major turning point for the Quanada website. Just by comparing the old website to the new one, you can see the difference. All pronouns referring to definite genders are gone. But it doesn’t necessarily mean the bias is gone, no. The only pictures that are on the website are souly of women and children. They don’t necessarily break away from the old statistics, they don’t have any fund raisers that create awareness for specifically male victims. All I am saying is that it is a progressive move forward. Being that the last few few words of our phone conversation ended with, call me at any time, I have hope. So cross your fingers people and listen, because opportunity knocks softly.
Quanada in 2013
Changes Made to Quanada Website