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Man who ran Canada's only men's shelter commits suicide


tropaka

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I must admit I've never heard of this man and my feelings on some MRA's are really mixed.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/04/28 ... t-suicide/

The man who created Canada’s only shelter dedicated solely to male victims of domestic violence died on Friday of an apparent suicide.

The day after he packed up his recently sold home — also the site of the Men’s Alternative Safe House — Earl Silverman was found hanging in his garage.

Mr. Silverman closed his shelter last month, saying he could no longer afford its upkeep. He long sought funding from provincial and federal governments to help run his hybrid shelter and home, but believed he was always refused because the space was dedicated to helping male victims and their children. He said he was unable to pay for heat and grocery bills.

Steven Howitt purchased Mr. Silverman’s house and said he helped the advocate move his belongings on Thursday.

“I couldn’t have predicted this. I got the sense that he was pretty frustrated that the shelter didn’t work out. He was frustrated with the government that he didn’t get any help,†Mr. Howitt said on Saturday.

Mr. Silverman told the house’s new tenant that he had plans to stay with friends in other parts of the country.

Mr. Howitt came back to the house the next day and found only Mr. Silverman’s roommate.

“We got talking about keys and he said, ‘I think this is the garage, and this is the front door and what not,†Mr. Howitt said. “I said I would go try the garage but the door was already open. That’s when I found him there.â€

Mr. Howitt said they called for help, but it was far too late.

Mr. Silverman’s brown house in an established neighbourhood of northeast Calgary held little more than a few white boxes and a backyard stuffed with torn single mattresses and old bedroom furniture from his shelter.

He was frustrated with the government that he didn’t get any help

Several weeks ago, he told the Post that he himself had been the victim of abuse at the hands of his ex-wife. His experience inspired him to become involved in Men’s Rights Groups and MASH.

“When I went into the community looking for some support services, I couldn’t find any. There were a lot for women, and the only programs for men were for anger management,†Mr. Silverman told the Post shortly before his death. “As a victim, I was re-victimized by having these services telling me that I wasn’t a victim, but I was a perpetrator.â€

After he left his wife more than 20 years ago, Mr. Silverman said he spiralled into self abuse, living on Johnnie Walker and cigarettes. “I basically tried to commit suicide, because I couldn’t do anything.â€

Tom Matty lived in Mr. Silverman’s basement for the past several months.

“I knew Earl was battling a lot of demons. Him and me could get along well because I was battling a lot of the same ones. He hit a point where it just became too much,†Mr. Matty said. “I don’t know what to tell you. It’s come as a bit of a surprise.â€

Both Mr. Howitt and Mr. Matty said Mr. Silverman left a four-page suicide note blaming the government for failing to recognize male victims of domestic abuse.

“Earl understood that the first step to helping people recover from things like domestic abuse is providing them with that low-level safe place to be,†Mr. Matty said. MASH opened about three years ago and the shelter hosted about 20 men fleeing abusive situations, including some children.

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I've never heard of him either. As much as I dislike the general concept of MRA's, I do think that the under-recognition of male victims of abuse is a problem, having watched a friend go through a violent relationship which no one took seriously. And since most shelters are women only, I can imagine the need for a men's shelter. It seems like this man had a lot of horrible things going on, though. Sad.

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I've never heard of him either. As much as I dislike the general concept of MRA's, I do think that the under-recognition of male victims of abuse is a problem, having watched a friend go through a violent relationship which no one took seriously. And since most shelters are women only, I can imagine the need for a men's shelter. It seems like this man had a lot of horrible things going on, though. Sad.

I agree there is an under recognition of male abuse victims. There are some domestic violence organizations that do assist men in some ways. A friend of mine worked for an domestic violence organization/shelter. Their shelter was only for women and children, but they had a special fund set aside to pay for hotel rooms for male victims and they would also help them with legal issues.

ETA: Does anyone else remember that TV movie back in the 90s called Men Don't Tell? It was about a man abused by his wife. I remember a scene where he calls a domestic violence help hotline and the lady on the other end hung up on him and thought he was playing a joke.

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ETA: Does anyone else remember that TV movie back in the 90s called Men Don't Tell? It was about a man abused by his wife. I remember a scene where he calls a domestic violence help hotline and the lady on the other end hung up on him and thought he was playing a joke.

MRAs actually do that shit all the time. Because they're assholes.

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I don't like the MRA part. But this story makes me really sad. Male victims of abuse really are under-recognized - and that is a problem that needs addressing. It is depressing that Mr. Silverman was having such a hard time.

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While I feel for male victims of abuse, I can never garner any sympathy for MRAs. Their hatred of women and the fact they fail to realize that their problems stem from the patriarchy is just so disgusting.

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Sorry I'm being really thick here, but what is an MRA?

Men's Rights Activists I believe. They hate feminists and want to bring back the idea of men being the boss, the master of the home, etc, and the women are dependent on them, and thus will treat them better. Feminism has given women choices and rights that has made them not treat men like the amazing beings that they are.

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I've never heard of him either. As much as I dislike the general concept of MRA's, I do think that the under-recognition of male victims of abuse is a problem, having watched a friend go through a violent relationship which no one took seriously. And since most shelters are women only, I can imagine the need for a men's shelter. It seems like this man had a lot of horrible things going on, though. Sad.

Yeah, except it's not generally the feminists who are discouraging male victims from getting help. It's the Patriarchy that plays into that by making it shameful and unmanly to be victim. Yes, it's all sadfeels about male victims but it's stupid to blame feminists for that when we're the ones trying to combat the stereotypes and social pressures that make it hard for them to come forward and get help.

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Yeah, except it's not generally the feminists who are discouraging male victims from getting help. It's the Patriarchy that plays into that by making it shameful and unmanly to be victim. Yes, it's all sadfeels about male victims but it's stupid to blame feminists for that when we're the ones trying to combat the stereotypes and social pressures that make it hard for them to come forward and get help.

This.

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Yeah, except it's not generally the feminists who are discouraging male victims from getting help. It's the Patriarchy that plays into that by making it shameful and unmanly to be victim. Yes, it's all sadfeels about male victims but it's stupid to blame feminists for that when we're the ones trying to combat the stereotypes and social pressures that make it hard for them to come forward and get help.

Good point. I hadn't thought of it that way before, but you are right.

I don't think anyone is blaming feminists though. I just think the whole situation is sad and disturbing at the same time.

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I really don't like the MRA's either, though I'm very sympathetic to a lot of the problems that men face. Patriarchy hurts men, too. There's definitely a need for helping male abuse victims. I had a family member who was in an abusive relationship with a woman. She kept him from us for years until he finally got the courage to reach out and ask for help. That's a hard thing for anyone to do, and there's a lot of stigma involved when the victim is a man.

A small thing, and I'm not trying to criticize anyone else because I know a lot of people just don't think of it, but I appreciate that the article reads "died of suicide" instead of "committed suicide."

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Um...this is/was not the only men's-only shelter in Canada, or even in Calgary. There's one called The Booth. No wimminz allowed, as far as I know. I've never heard of this guy, or his shelter before. I don't believe men can take children to The Booth (and I reeeaaalllly don't think they'd want to), but there are other homeless shelters to which men can take their children.

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Men's Rights Activists I believe. They hate feminists and want to bring back the idea of men being the boss, the master of the home, etc, and the women are dependent on them, and thus will treat them better. Feminism has given women choices and rights that has made them not treat men like the amazing beings that they are.

Thanks! I don't like the sound of them either! I can understand the lack of understanding/support for men who are victims of domestic abuse/violence but MRAs are not the way to solve the problem.

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I'm not a fan of MRAs, but there is a legitimate need for resources for men who suffer abuse.

To me, it's not an issue of men's rights vs. women's rights. It's a matter of being opposed to domestic violence, period. Furthermore, it's a matter of realizing the danger of rigid sex roles and stereotypes.

There resources that exist in Toronto are not geared toward heterosexual men. They need to use the regular homeless shelters, not those geared toward victims of abuse, and the conditions are not good. I've also seen judges and social workers - professionals who should know better - minimize the abuse or even blame the victim, in cases where is was crystal-clear (ie. police reports documenting stab wounds) that the man was the victim. I've seen male victims that are extremely reluctant to report abuse - they are ashamed, they don't want to admit that they could be victims, they are afraid of family reactions, and in some cases, they are afraid of the system.

Domestic violence has more than one cause. I'd say that those cases of violence related to a desire to control a spouse are still more likely to be males assaulting females. Cases involving mental illness, substance abuse, multi-generational dysfunction or jealousy, were a bit more even.

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Good point. I hadn't thought of it that way before, but you are right.

I don't think anyone is blaming feminists though. I just think the whole situation is sad and disturbing at the same time.

MRAs are absolutely blaming feminists. That's sort of their thing.

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Yeah, except it's not generally the feminists who are discouraging male victims from getting help. It's the Patriarchy that plays into that by making it shameful and unmanly to be victim. Yes, it's all sadfeels about male victims but it's stupid to blame feminists for that when we're the ones trying to combat the stereotypes and social pressures that make it hard for them to come forward and get help.

Exactly.

Men's Rights activists often can't comprehend that they are victims of the patriarchy too. They see equality as a zero sum game.

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I don't know anything about this guy, so all I can say is that any domestic violence worker despairing does not surprise me.

Tangentially related, though:

Recent MRA men's shelter scandal: MRA calls for help, shelter refuses him!

What actually happened: he called them up, they offered him free hotel accommodation. He said no, he wanted to stay THERE in the shelter. they said he couldn't, because some of the women there are very fragile, but he'll still get adequate accommodation at the hotel. MRAs: pushing their way into women's spaces to the detriment of women when there are viable alternatives available and bitching about how that's discrimination against men afterwards.

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MRAs are absolutely blaming feminists. That's sort of their thing.

Sorry, I wasn't clear in the above post. I know MRA's blame feminists. What I meant to say was I am 100% positive no one on this board is blaming the feminists. The MRA is a vile group, but I can see how people can fall into the trap of their line of thinking (just as it is apparently super easy to fall into the trap of the patriarchy and their line of thinking). It is disgusting, but I can see how it happens.

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