What is “ManAlive”?
We call ourselves an “Accountability and Advocacy Re-education Program”. Men and women in the program learn to recognize their violent behaviors and the process by which they choose to do violence. We then learn and practice accountability for our actions, awareness of the impact our violence has, and become advocates for ourselves and others to end that violence. We learn to recognize the gender-specific training that supports men and women to believe they are superior to women, and other men. The belief is that a man’s or woman’s value depends on how he controls his intimate partner, environment, and him or herself.
Who conducts the program?
Classes are facilitated by program graduates who have continued with training that meets or exceeds CA statute for Batterers Treatment Programs. Daniel Thomas completed the program in 2007, and has since worked continuously as a volunteer or staff member with the Sacramento programs in the public sector and in the Downtown County Jail and Rio Consumes Correctional Center in Elk Grove. The facilitators of Man Alive-Sacramento Inc each have 600 to 2000+ hours of training and classroom experience in working with men to stop their violence, and each has maintained relationships free of verbal and physical violence with current or former partners, children, or other family members.
How did “ManAlive” get started?
The Man Alive program was originally developed in the late 1970’s by Bay Area men who realized their behavior had an impact (caused loss, damage, or destruction) on their partners, children, families, communities, and themselves. They sought the help of a victim’s group—Marin Abused Women’s Services of San Rafael, CA—to recognize what violence was and what damage it caused. Based on what they learned from MAWS and other resources, the program was then written by Hamish Sinclair, director of ManAlive in San Francisco. MAWS also used the curriculum in its Men’s Program, now known as “ManKind”. ManAlive was brought to the Sacramento area in the mid-80’s by an SF program graduate, Pete Giannini. When that program closed in early 2005, the current ManAlive-SACRAMENTO Inc. program was certified by Sacramento County Probation as a Batterers Treatment Provider.
What is “ManAlive’s” philosophy on violence and how men can stop?
ManAlive is based in the philosophy that violence toward people we are also intimate with is not natural or inevitable, but is the result of a formal and informal system of training. That system is referred to as the “Old Male Role Belief System, which results in a distorted image of male identity, (superior), and violent behavior.
the old male-role belief system
The vast majority of men, (and women), who are violent are not stupid, insane, or evil; they are well-trained in what we call the “Old Male Role Belief System”:
- “Old” – because the system of patriarchy has existed for over 8,000 years,
- “Male” – because the system rigidly defines male identity,
- “Role” – because that identity is inauthentic, upheld only by dramatically pretending to be what the man is not. He also is taught an inauthentic identity for women, and that he must enforce both his Male Role and her Female Role, or he fails as a man,
- “Belief” – because the man is taught to believe that adherence to the Role makes him superior to those men that do not, and also to women. In fact, the better a woman fulfills her Role under this system, the more inferior she is, and
- “System” – because this belief is ubiquitous; surrounding men 24/7/52 in their families, their social circles, advertisements, media, literature, music, sports, mythologies, religions, traditions, and more. Even men who never had a male parent in the home learn this system because very little alternative modeling is available.
The classes are set up as “peer group processes” style so to create a safe and trusting environment where the participants can be honest with themselves and others in the group. The participants practice empathetic listening skills while holding each other accountable for the violence in their lives.
The participants also are encouraged to get up in front of the class and teach what they are learning. This re-enforces the material in them and the group will often learn more from one of their peers than from an authority figure or a facilitator.