NCFM Calgary Liaison Earl Silver’s shelter for abused men faces closure

March 16, 2012

Canadian abused Men’s shelter faces closure, founder cites 'gender bias against men'

March 13, 2012

BY Sean Young, Openfile

Earl Silverman, founder of the Men’s Alternative Safe House (MASH 4077), says the shelter for men who have been abused by women is set to close because of a lack of funding and government support. Photo by Andy Nichols/OpenFile

It was supposed to help address a veneered problem in our community, but Earl Silverman, founder of the Men’s Alternative Safe House (MASH 4077) in Calgary, says the city’s only shelter for men who have been abused by women will soon shut its doors for good.

“If I don’t have a influx of money in four to six months it’s closed,” Silverman says.

According to Statistics Canada’s recent Family Violence in Canada profile, self-reported acts of spousal violence were almost equal between men and women nationwide. In Alberta, eight percent of women in relationships reported some type of spousal abuse in the past five years, whereas six percent of men had reported domestic violence during the same period. However, women were about three times more likely to be victims of spousal homicide than men.

Silverman, who was once a victim of female perpetrated domestic abuse, says he had hoped MASH would bring light to the fact almost half of all family violence victims in Canada are “under-served,” but social stigmas run deep. “To recognize that a man is a victim is to recognize that a woman perpetrated it, and society is not open to that possibility,” he says.

In the two years since MASH opened, Silverman claims more than 30 men (some with children) have been helped at his shelter. MASH receives no government funding; Silverman and a business partner have been funding the operation out of their own pockets and with the help of a few private donations.

Silverman says his partner is moving on to other endeavours and he’s currently unemployed, making the increasing financial strain to keep MASH going unmanageable. He says he’s tried to get provincial funding for MASH more than six times but the process is unproductive and each time the government tells him there’s “no demonstrated need” for a men’s shelter in Calgary.

Christina Bruce, spokesperson with Alberta Human Services says the provincial government has made a continued effort to help male victims of domestic violence and that many public resources, including family abuse shelters, are available to men.

Read the rest of the article about this bias against abused men here:

Also see: Husband Abuse: Support and Recovery


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