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Independence House Profile


Independence House

Sexual and domestic assault is not just a women’s issue, and Independence House, which sits in heart of Hyannis, knows just how difficult a task it can be to change this common misconception. A member of Jane Doe Inc. (JDI), the organization dedicates itself to providing services to all survivors of sexual and domestic violence regardless of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation on the Cape as well as community outreach and education since 1979. Independence House embarked on a mission to grow their men’s engagement programs, thanks in part to a five-year long partnership with JDI’s Massachusetts White Ribbon Day Campaign (WRD).

WRD offers a statewide framework for local programs to engage their community in the prevention of sexual and domestic violence. Specifically, the annual campaign aims to reevaluate the origins of gender-based violence, asks men and boys to commit to being a part of the solution, and invites everyone to #ReimagineManhood.

“There is a really unique challenge with getting men engaged with social issues, especially concerning domestic violence or sexual assault,” says Adam Campbell, former Teen Outreach and Violence Prevention Specialist at Independence House. Independence House partners with ten Cape Cod high schools, providing support in the form of a Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) club. Through this program, partially supported by the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, high school students delve into the complexities and societal roots of sexism. Students grapple with the often-held notion that the man will be fiscally responsible, does not need help, and is in charge, while the woman needs to be cared for and will be financially reliant.


Don’t Cry Son/ No Llores Hijo

Dennis Muentes

For the second summer in a row, Jane Doe Inc. has had the opportunity to partner with the Forest Foundation to support a full-time Forest Foundation Fellow. This year, we had the pleasure of hosting Dennis Muentes who has worked in-depth on Jane Doe Inc.'s men's engagement work and has strengthened his surveying, interviewing, and non-profit management skills. In preparation for his exit, we asked Dennis to write a reflection about his experience working at Jane Doe Inc. and he exceeded our expectations by authoring this bilingual reflection.

- Jane Doe Inc.

Don’t cry son, you have to be strong because you are a man No llores, eres un hombre y tienes que ser macho mijo

MENding CamBRIDGE: How One Local Men’s Group Is Redefining Masculinity

City of Cambridge



For Liz Speakman, healthy masculinity is something that she thinks about every single day.

As the Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Initiative Coordinator for the City of Cambridge, her job requires it. As importantly, she is a mother to a three-year old son. Reflecting on a conversation shared with her husband the previous night, Speakman divulges, “My three-year old has a little mermaid costume that has sparkles all over it and firefighter boots. So he runs around the house in his mermaid costume and firefighter boots. We love that. How do we help him have a sturdy foundation where he knows that he is loved and accepted for the whole of who he is and that he can hold on to that when he is faced with a world that is going to tell him otherwise?”


JDI’s WRD Intern reflects on his own experience and values

T. Smith

A few months ago, I used a ride-hailing service, and like any other customer, I figured that a conversation would ensue. I talked to my driver as I would talk to any stranger, pleasant but still skeptical of intention. My driver was complimenting me on all fronts. My hair, my aesthetic, my mode of speech, if he could see it, hear, it, smell it, or touch it, he was making it be known. Due to how little I hear these things about myself, I didn’t think much of what he was saying, as a matter of fact, I was flattered. My driver continued to tell me about how much he liked me, and how I looked, while also telling me about himself and the “rock star” life he lived. He made me feel comfortable enough to think it was just another man talking to me as a man, which I don’t really do too often as many of my friends are women. I engaged with my driver almost without problem, even as he drove me to his house, then took me through an alternative route just to get back to my final destination. Read More...

White Ribbon Day is Buzzing in Lowell thanks to the Center for Hope and Healing!


The Center for Hope and Healing

Through years of prevention work, The Center for Hope and Healing has realized that the fight to end gender based violence is not a one issue problem. They believe in an intersectionality approach that considers how institutional racism, sexism, and class inequality all contribute to the pervasiveness of gender based violence. This type of thinking is progressive and actually tackling all these daunting issues at once is difficult. But The Center for Hope and Healing is up for the task.


Reimaging Manhood

A Guest Blog by Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian. Peter is the co-chair of Ma White Ribbon Day 2016. Peter K

As a prosecutor, legislator and now as Sheriff, I have seen firsthand the horrific results of gender-based violence.

I’ve prosecuted those accused of sexual assault, sponsored legislation to provide victims of stalking more tools to protect themselves, and held in my custody hundreds of men accused and convicted of unspeakable acts of domestic violence. But it’s not enough to pass laws and prosecute offenders after the fact – we need to do more to prevent violence from ever occurring in the first place.


Finding Our Way

Earlier this football season, I was watching a football game with a group of men, having a nice time meeting new people, and then something happens and just like that I am at a loss. Can I believe my ears? What am I to say? Will anyone else say anything? With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, I keep playing this experience over and over and wonder what I’ve learned since.


Gender-Based Violence Framework Helps Broaden Vision for the Massachusetts White Ribbon Day Campaign

Update - JDI has reworked the pledge language slightly to continue to articulate our analysis and commitment to ending men’s violence against women as well as all gender-based violence. We heard from many who appreciate the broader platform of GBV for the reasons articulated below. We also heard from others who want to be crystal clear that this campaign continues to invite men and boys to address violence against women – from rape and sexual harassment to domestic violence. By combining these terms, we aim to both be inclusive and specific at the same time. We appreciate the feedback and welcome a continued dialogue about the mission and vision of the Massachusetts WRD.


Men’s Engagement on the Vineyard


Each year, Vineyard and visiting men are invited to stand on the seawall stretching across the shore of Martha’s Vineyard in honor of a woman they care about - a visual demonstration of their commitment to supporting an end to violence against all women. At the Annual Seawall Event, a men’s initiative, men of all ages, races, and backgrounds, stand on the seawall in solidarity with those affected by sexual and domestic violence, offering support and making a visible and proud statement much like the seawall itself. Each man, holds a poster with the name of a woman he wished to honor etched across it, sends a message that there is a reason for men to care about violence toward women; that it is not a women’s issue, but a human issue.


White Ribbon Day Reflections

I barely had time to catch my breath after last week’s White Ribbon Day Proclamation Event before hopping on a train to New York for The Center for Study of Men and Masculinities' International Conference. Riding the four-hour train into Manhattan provided me the perfect opportunity to reflect on that afternoon. Days later, it is even more clear to me that the momentum for this work is building as the inquiries, calls, emails and activity continues.