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Conference addresses men’s role in violence

March 27, 2008

Conference addresses men’s role in violence

At PLU’s first Men Against Violence Program Conference, men’s role in ending violence against women will be examined.

Titled “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: Men’s Role in Ending Violence Against Women,” the conference is unique because of the focus on men’s role in preventing domestic and sexual violence against women, said Jonathan Grove, director of PLU’s Men Against Violence program. To his knowledge, there have been only three other conferences in the nation that examine the topic.

Sut Jhally, founder and executive director of the Media Education Foundation, will kick off the event during his keynote address, titled “Tough Guys: Masculinity and Violence.”

Jhally is a professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts and a leading scholar looking at the role advertising and popular culture play in the processes of social control and identity construction. At the conference, he will address how media literacy and representations of masculinity are frequently violent depictions, Grove said.

For example, the portrayal of masculinity in films like “300” and “Rambo” is hyper-violent, with the main characters virtually devoid of emotions. This sort of portrayal glorifies violence as an acceptable way of expressing masculinity, Grove explained.

During the second day of the conference, nationally recognized speakers and programs will host workshops in the University Center focused on what men can do and highlighting innovative approaches to work for social change.

Featured speakers include Ben Atherton-Zeman, spokesperson for the National Organization for Men Against Sexism, and Lane and Patty Judson, parents of domestic violence victim Crystal Judson. Judson was fatally shot five years ago by her husband, then Tacoma Police Chief David Brame in a Gig Harbor parking lot.

There will also be presentations by representatives from A Call to Men and Seattle-based The Men’s Network Against Domestic Violence, among others. A complete schedule is at the conference’s Web site.

Originally designed as a regional event, people from all corners of the United States have registered for the conference, Grove said. There are even registrants from Ontario, Canada, Nepal and Kenya.

“People should come because it’s an extreme rare opportunity,” Grove said. “It’s a pretty phenomenal offering of workshops and speakers.”

When designing the event, Grove said the planning committee worked hard to make it a place where faculty, staff, students and the community could come together, learn about the issues and network with people working in the field.

“We want to create a place where the involvement of men in this becomes more of a conversation,” Grove said. “This is a place to come and start getting some of the tools and start connecting with people who have a lot of experience.”

For more information or to register, visit the conference , or contact Grove at ext. 6304 or