Anti-Sexist Therapy (Pull the laundry out in the open)

by Cunt Incognita, FOTZE in Berlin — she=he

I’m slowly responding to the cluelessness expressed by the men in this group:

http://www.stop-ferfieroszak.hu/en

Once again: Lots of pretty words — and very contradictory practice. In other words: We’re all human.. My response will be sent to the group when I’m finished. Dunno when that will be. I have no deadlines..

This is the response I finally got from the men’s group in Budapest.

I will write about the thoughts coming up when reading this type of text later on. The first few words would be something like: Dismissive, Belittling, Non-responsive. Authoritarian. Patronizing.

I am deeply bothered by the fact that Peter Szil – a man – is the supervisor* of a women’s group dedicated to support work for battered women, and at the same time is participating in a men’s group with this type of response to my questions. Whoah!

*How come any man serious about anti-sexist, feminist work would accept a position like that?

.
.

Here below are the answers of Gábor, Feri and Péter to your questions.

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

The questions I have for Peter, Gabor, Feri, and Daniel
as well as any other man relating to this so called

“male anti-sexist self-therapy group” that Daniel is doing workshops about
https://sosiaalikeskus.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/a-sick-joke/

.

QUESTIONS:

1. How do you as males relate to the fact that a man — Daniel — in
your group claims to have been sexually abused by females — myself
included — and as well claims that this has “been discussed” when
passing this information on to friends of mine? (the matter has NOT
been discussed and came as a total shock to me and ended with a
ruptured friendship. simply put: my friend went nuts — and so did i)

— We did hear something like that from Daniel in relation to you, and we do know from you that this affected you very badly. We are not responsible for how Daniel reflects things in his blog entries. “Been discussed” is much more pretentious than what in reality happened: we just listened to him. Reading your letters and Daniel’s reactions one would easily think that our 4 hour long meetings every 6 weeks deal only with Daniel’s behavior, but that is not the case.

The confusion never ends.

“Been discussed” refers to Daniel telling people that I’ve coerced the man into having sex with me, and as well told Stacy, that this matter has already been talked through between Daniel and IWhich Is Not True. Stacy then started saying that I’ve raped Daniel. And Daniel did nothing to stop this painful farce.

“One would easily think” after reading my letters, that there is something very nontransparent about what is going on at these men-meetings, and that Daniel is feeling reinforced in her machismo when she can pass on the image of doing anti-sexist work, by simply attending these meetings – where she then, apparently, complains about feeling sexually abused by women – while: being listened to by other men. Men who in turn don’t listen to, nor respond to my requests for Confrontation (Not – mediation. Mediation was what was talked about initially, but later it’s been clearly stated that this is about confrontation. In this letter as well as in the bulk of the letters sent to the men’s group).

Daniel, a guy who hides in a men’s group, escaping accountability for sexually abusive behavior, openly lies to persons I know about me having sexually coerced the man, and falsely claims that these issues already have been discussed with me.

Not cool.

>> “Reading your letters and Daniel’s reactions one would easily think that our 4 hour long meetings every 6 weeks deal only with Daniel’s behavior, but that is not the case.” <<

I hope that some of the time at these meetings could be dedicated to pondering and responding to some of the other questions you men so arrogantly have ignored to answer:

“Before saying anything about the group that isn’t specifically related
to issues with Dani and Milla I want to say that while I can
appreciate that there can be value in having mens only spaces where
men can talk to each other freely to explore their own issues I hope
you can understand why, right from the outset, women and feminist
groups might be wary of mens organizations, and so would desire
transparency in regards to policies and procedures. Not just policies
about how to handle issues regarding male members sexism towards women in their personal lives, but even policies regarding decision making and discussion management.”

1. I hope you can understand why, right from the outset, women and feminist groups might be wary of mens organizations, and so would desire transparency in regards to policies and procedure?

2. Policies about how to handle issues regarding male members sexism towards women in their personal lives?

3. Policies regarding decision making?

4. Policies regarding discussion management?

WHY ARE THESE QUESTIONS NOT IMPORTANT TO THE MEN IN THE GROUP? WHY ARE THESE QUESTIONS ON PRACTICAL PROCEDURES IGNORED?

2. How do you communicate your methods and >> in what way the
self-therapy is practiced << within the group to men? And in what way
is the self-therapy anti-sexist?

— Information about our work and the concrete content of our anti-sexist commitment is found on our website.

The simple response to that would be: Yes. It’s there on the website. Beautiful theoretical texts. But failing miserably in practice. Where is the space made for criticism?

I repeat: “How do you communicate your METHODS?”

Could you be so kind to give links to specific texts and specific paragraphs within these descriptive texts found on your website?

We do not maintain any self-therapy group. We do have a general discussion group for men about personal issues related to the male gender role and a working group carrying on the practical work of the Stop Male Violence Projekt. Daniel forms part of the former (we accepted him for the moment for a trial period).

How long is this trial period? What happens during this period? What are the requirements for staying with the group? How does a person become a permanent member? What are the differences between being on trial, and being a regular member?

How are the personal issues discussed? How is the male gender role discussed?

.
3. How do you communicate your methods and >> in what way the
self-therapy is practiced << within the group to women? And in what
way is the self-therapy anti-sexist?

— See 2.

.
4. How do you as anti-sexist group/individuals relate to transparency
with your activities in relation to women/feminist? How do you keep
yourself accountable and open to criticism in relation to
women/feminists?

— We put effort in transparency and accountability and being open for criticism in relation to the organizations and individuals we do work together with. We did answer to your request about mediation already in August 2009 and after that did not consider that it was a group issue to continue dealing with the issue until there was a change in Daniel refusing the mediation. We think it is confusing that you present that as an issue of transparency and accountability.

I think it’s confusing that you make a difference between “work” and yourselves as regular male socialized human beings in interaction with other human beings. In your lives you only respond to, and stay accountable to persons you have a working relation with..

So: The concerns regarding transparency sent to you from women and men doing anti-sexist work around the globe, are not seen to be in a working relation with you? We are not connected in our struggle to end patriarchy and transform our personal lives?

You as a group did not respond to my request for mediation in August. Peter Szil wrote to me as an individual, not as “the group”. Peter made an individual choice to set as a condition for mediation: Daniel’s wish to hear me out. After I changed this from a request for mediation to wanting to know how the group relates to me wanting to confront Daniel (or any woman wanting to confront any man taking part in activities of this group) – there has been no answer from neither group nor Peter.

I think it’s confusing and crazy-making to think that it’s “normal” not to respond to the flood of mails sent to the group. Not even a: “Why are you sending us all this stuff? We are confused!”

.
5. How do you relate to women wanting help with confronting, and or
having boundaries set in relation to men taking part in the group? How
do you relate to that as a group? How do you relate to that as
individuals?
(for example: I would like to have some help in getting
boundaries set in relation to Daniel)

— We do as much we can and we think we have a mandate for. In your case we were willing to mediate since August 2009 if Daniel was willing to, and Péter Szil had on the 13th of August 2009 a several hour long personal conversation with you about how to set boundaries to Daniel. More than a half year later the group got to the point where we put as a condition (among others) to Daniel to contribute to get this issue to an end. He agreed to get in touch with you with that purpose. He already submitted to our mail list the proposal for that letter to you, we don’t know if you got it already. We are awaiting the concretion of the date of a meeting with you and Dani. Until then we do not think we can do more or have more to say in that issue.

6. Could you give a description of the process in relation to the
mails I’ve sent to the group, individuals of the group? Have you read
these mails? Have you talked about these mails? How did these talks
go? Were there any conclusions?

— The e-mail of the group is used for people to get in touch with us. Once a week we meet to answer the phone calls on our information line, to work on the projects we carry on (see our website) and also answer e-mails. We did answer your request about mediating, saying that we can do that only if both parts want it. The rest of the e-mails we could not really relate to, as they seemed to be more about the same, but elevated to a matter of principles. (By the way in this same period we had a total crash of our website and it took us months to create a new one, for the rest obliging us also to concentrate on the most urgent issues which relate to our work.) We still checked up information we got by reading your e-mails and blog entries we thought were relevant for our group, e.g. the notice about Daniel having tried to strangulate a woman.

— We did receive also your mail about missing the “Everyday Male Chauvinism” text. Sorry for not answering that, we were in the middle of repairing the crash. Thanks for making available the text on your blog. We would like to ask you now to change that back to a link to our webpage.

.
7. Does the group/individuals support the workshop held by Daniel? If
the answer is yes: Why? If the answer is no: Why? Was there anybody from the group present when the workshop was held?

— No, we do not support it. No one of us were present.

.
I will repeat what a friend of mine asked you:

— Indeed we received several letters repeating your questions and we also found out about you requesting Luis Bonino to make us “accountable” of things he doesn’t have any relation to. As we said, we put effort in transparency and accountability and being open for criticism in relation to the organizations and individuals we do work together with. None of the requests we got from other people on your initiative falls in this category.

.

Before saying anything about the group that isn’t specifically related
to issues with Dani and Milla I want to say that while I can
appreciate that there can be value in having mens only spaces where
men can talk to each other freely to explore their own issues I hope
you can understand why, right from the outset, women and feminist
groups might be wary of mens organizations, and so would desire
transparency in regards to policies and procedures. Not just policies
about how to handle issues regarding male members sexism towards women in their personal lives, but even policies regarding decision making and discussion management.

Now I want to talk about Milla’s issues with Dani directly. As I
understand it, you are specifically a group against male violence.
Milla, a radical feminist woman, has stated that Dani has abused her
and continues to lie to women, and to hurt women. Having a member in
your group who has been abusive towards women isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I do not know if therapy to help such men understand they have a responsibility to the women in their lives is something that you do as an organization, for example.

All I know, is that there is a woman, who wants to confront a man in
your organization about sexism and abuse, that she has asked for the
group to come up with strategies for how to deal with this specific
situation and for similar situations, and for these strategies to be
made transparent. This seems like a fair request, but there has been
no response from your organization.

So I add my name to a list of people concerned about the lack of
transparency regarding our organizational principles, strategies and
policies, particularly as they apply in this specific issue.

Please respond to this issue,
Cellycel

I sincerely hope
for a clear response

Milla Ahola

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3 Responses

  1. […] feel sick. Lonely. I get response in private confirming that things are not right with the men’s group in Budapest. But no public support or any form of knowing how to talk with these guys. Daniel is taking part in […]

  2. Just thought I would make a reply here. The have answered very little. The only answer they seemed to really gave, was that they do not support Dani’s anti-sexist therapy, and they do not have therapy sessions of their own.

    They say regarding the letters received by people who are not you: “The rest of the e-mails we could not really relate to, as they seemed to be more about the same, but elevated to a matter of principles.”

    Regarding their response to my particular letter:
    “None of the requests we got from other people on your initiative falls in this category.”

    This is interesting to me, as my correspondence with them was based on _practical_ matters.

    ” that she has asked for the group to come up with strategies for how to deal with this specific situation and for similar situations, and for these strategies to be made transparent.”

    They have not at all talked about coming up with strategies to deal with these sorts of situations. Their dismissive advice to look at the website is unhelpful, as, as far as I can tell, there is nothing addressing these concerns there.

  3. […] for Daniel to be the one to start the talks, since I’m having problems with understanding how a men’s group blocking dialogue with women around them, seemingly not interested in the woman’s perspective, can work out their issues […]

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