Juan Rodriguez has spent the past quarter-century counseling men about the evils of domestic violence. And, despite “being called every name in the book” by batterers who didn’t care to hear his message, Rodriguez still holds out hope that violence against women can be brought to an end.
That is why he is one of dozens of men who are active in Delaware MEN (Men’s Education Network). The group, started a few years ago under the auspices of the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence, helps to involve men in promoting healthy, safe relationships.
“I want to educate all men. I want men to know that we can do better,” says Rodriguez, of Smyrna. “We can be good fathers, good husbands, good boyfriends. It’s hard for a lot of men. I will work until I can’t work anymore to help men become better men.”
Rodriguez brings years of counseling experience to Delaware MEN. He has spent the past 21 years serving as the men’s program coordinator and as a domestic violence counselor for the Turning Point program at People’s Place in Milford.
The problem is, “we’re socialized in this society, because we’re men, to act in certain ways,” he says. “We get those messages from movies and video
games. Delaware MEN is trying to educate men to unlearn some of that macho stuff that we’re so used to and re-learn new ways of being a man.
“We can do a lot better,” he says. “We can be well-meaning men.” (delawaremen.org)