I’d like to suggest a forum for discussing ways people can promote broad changes that would favorably affect male survivors, and issues that arise in doing that. This would be in support of malesurvivor’s stated commitment to advocacy and activism. Where is all that being discussed? And really, this is very much what we all desire.

Much of this conversation is “professionalized” and privileged and as Chris Anderson said at the Penn State conference, (to paraphrase accurately I hope), survivor voices need to be a part of these professional discussions. Today, virtually all the information is available to all. Everyone would participate as equals but with equally high standards.

Many survivors and people here have a real stake in changes, and important insights into how that occurs, in part, from seeing changes develop in themselves. While professional topics and issues are complex, many non-professionals I know are quite conversant in these subjects and may have ideas “outside the box” of value. Social change requires the involvement of broad social groups.

Certain guidelines would be needed to promote a productive discussion. Productive could be gauged by:
Is your contribution civil and dispassionate, avoiding ad hominem points?
Does it display evidence and reasoning about promoting changes? States your assumptions and values clearly and honestly?
Is your tone respectful of difference and honest?
Are you open to clarify disagreement and alternate points of view rather than promoting disagreement and one view?
Are you open to the weakness in your argument and well as it’s strength?
Do you seek to understand opposing views equal to promoting your own?

As always, ignoring these guidelines would merit limiting ones participation. This forum might not be for everyone. It’s not a place for just your strong emotional reactions to issues, but for more your understanding. Achieving balanced management of emotion and understanding is helpful and this forum might actually be a valuable place to practice doing this better. Perhaps that’s the strongest point in favor of this forum, when the journey is more important than the destination.

It might be helpful to, by some democratic mechanism, develop a glossary and FAQ type of document in time. For example, Ken Singer here has talked about primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. Helpful vocabulary, but what’s that? Etc. It might help in developing a common understanding available to newcomers. We’d have to clarify what’s “off topic” in a way that’s productive.

An relevant example can be found in the Civil Conversations Project. I recently was inspired by the discussion by two people on opposite sides of the issue of gay marriage. I found the tone of their discussion more healing than any imagined progress on the issue! Another useful reference might be parts of the fundamental principles by which Wikipedia operates.

In short, I would like to think we could do this, and it would strengthen Malesurvivor. And ultimately, that would be the point.
Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you

Paul Eluard