VOICE MALE: The Untold Story of the Profeminist Men’s Movement – Edited by Rob A Okun

Published in 2014 - Reviewed by:  George Marx, June 2, 2014

Rob Okun has done an amazing job choosing writings he previously has published in Voice Male Magazine over the past 20+ years for this book.   It is particularly helpful that the book is separated into meaningful sections such as: Male Survivors, Fathering and Overcoming Violence.  Men particularly can easily read a variety of perspectives on important areas of concern to those who are open to a feminist perspective.   Perhaps a few other men’s minds will open up and take in many of the insights of writers in this anthology of writings.

In reading this book a variety of emotions came up for me.    It was easy to feel some of the hopefulness, sadness, pain and anger of its writers.   While there were a few writings that didn’t seem excellent, so many others seemed so good that the others didn’t matter.

It is difficult for me to find areas to criticize about this book!    I wonder if perhaps some younger men may find the book dated and not highly relevant to them, though certainly parts of the book will be helpful for them.    Otherwise, I can only hypothesize that the “politically correct” nature of some authors may not appeal to some, though I found the variety of perspectives quite obvious.

This book is a book that I will want to keep, as I trim my quantity of books I keep over the years.  It is that good!   Rob Okun is to be commended for the wonderful job that he has done.

(I must confess that I have a writing published in the book, though it seems small in comparison to many of the other writings in this 400+ page book.)

Theta Chi Gang Rape 1962

THETA CHI GANG RAPE 1962  - by: George Marx 

Theta Chi gang rape 1962

(Name of Accused) committed three premeditated acts of sexual violence — several counts of Conspiracy, Fraud, Rape, Sodomy, False Imprisonment, Drugging Women w/o their knowledge, and Severe Personal Injury.  An extraordinarily violent gang rape was committed in 1962 by several members of Theta Chi fraternity.    The victim was only 21 however, the most damaging effects occurred when she hid the secret from “herself” for nearly a lifetime.”

Several years ago I added the above entry to the “Rape/Sexual Assault” section of A Men’s Project (AMP) with the actual stated name of  “the Accused” listed.   The paragraph’s wording was copied and pasted from the Theta Chi blog site (as AMP entries are normally posted).

After the entry was posted, I had brief email correspondence with the owner of the “Theta Chi” site, including emailing her and another woman who had a site inspired by the rape of her daughter (at her college), allowing them to communicate with each other.

On December 9, 2013 I received an email from an attorney requesting that pursuant to a Consent Decree (court decision) I remove the aforementioned AMP website entry.  The attorney represented at least one of the five men who had sued the “Theta Chi” site owner for libel.   

I determined that in fact the former “Theta Chi” site no longer existed.  I deleted the related AMP website entry.  I sent a brief email to the attorney stating: “The "Theta Chi" website entry has been removed from A Men's Project because it references a website which no longer exists.”

The attorney’s email included copies of the Court Complaint and the Consent Decree.   His email stated that the defendant had removed the blog and additional web based materials from the internet pursuant to the Decree.
I have copied several things from the Decree (below).    A Conclusion of The Court states: 
“3. Defendant shall not instruct others, nor provide anyone else with information so that they can broadcast, espouse or convey any information through any digital, physical or other means which mentions any illegal interaction alleged to have taken place between Defendant and any/or all of the Plaintiffs.”

The defendant has not asked me to write this blog entry or done anything otherwise faintly related to the quoted statement above.   All my relevant recent knowledge of this case has come from the attorney opposing the defendant, not from the defendant.

Finding of Fact Number Nine disturbed me.   It stated:

“Defendant (name stated here) consents to this Order because she does not have the funds to engage in protracted litigation, but does not, by so consenting, acknowledge any wrongdoing or malfeasance on her part.” 

I remember some details of the former “Theta Chi” blog entry.   It spoke of the author going to a party at the Theta Chi fraternity house in 1962.   I believe that she stated that something was put in a drink that she drank and she then became aware of being assaulted by multiple members of the fraternity house.   

The blog entry indicated that the woman repressed and/or was then otherwise not aware of the assault thereafter until decades later when her memories of it came back to her consciousness.   She noted that the assault had caused her severe mental health problems over a long period of time.

The blog’s author named the man who she said had organized her rape.    She made it clear that there had been no success in her efforts to get acknowledgement of the wrongs done to her by the man/men she accused of raping her.

I, of course, have no way of knowing what actually happened in1962.   I have never met anyone connected with this case.   I must decide for myself who, if anyone, I should believe.

Certainly, it is possible that the five men who sued this woman were falsely accused by her.

While this is certainly possible, it seems unlikely to me.

I believe that someone would need to have been very badly hurt to do all that this woman has  done in trying to confront her alleged assailants.   I can not imagine being close to 70 years old and focusing intensely over multiple years upon something as traumatic as an alleged gang rape at age 21.

I see five men trying to silence one woman.   I see them succeeding with their lawsuit against her.    I wish the things could be resolved openly and directly, however as is often the case with what I would call “power” or “exploitation” issues, this clearly isn’t possible here.

It is important to me that the girls, boys, men and women who are victimized by others not be silenced.   As I write today, a famous football player has just been given a major award, with the legal authorities declining to pursue a rape allegation against him.

I am responsible for allowing, in a small way, for this issue to not be hidden.   Hopefully justice will be served!

Mnemosyne: A Love Affair with Memory: By Larry L Franklin - Review

Author Larry L Franklin Unveils a Gripping Tale About Memory

Memory is life’s greatest asset.  Sometimes it brings joy; other times it brings pain.  Author Larry L Franklin offers the readers a compelling story that will enable them to grasp the true meaning of memory with his new book, “Mnemosyne:  A Love Affair with Memory.”

This is the story of two men who lived in different centuries on opposite sides of the world with memory as their common obsession.  One of them is a modern-day man diagnosed with PSTD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  He struggled with the memories of childhood sexual abuse that nearly cost him his sanity.  Another man is a 19th century evolutionary biologist.  He devoted his life to the mechanics of memory.  Peer rejection, and the later death of his wife pushed him into a deep depression that led to his suicide.

Skillfully written and highly imaginative, Franklin is able to present a complex subject in a compelling narrative where the intellect, the curious, and the recipient of horrific memories can grasp its meaning.  “Mnemosyne:  A Love Affair with Memory” is a dramatic story that will provide the reader with enthralling twists and turns that lie in hiding, only to be revealed just around the corner. 

Additional information, including a view of the introduction and chapter one, can be found at http://authorllfranklin.com/mnemosyne/   Additional information on the author can be found at http://authorllfranklin/about/  Please feel free to follow Franklin’s blog at

(Note:  This review was submitted by the author)

Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy - by Emily Bazelon (2013)

Reviewed by: George Marx, October 16, 2013

Reading this helped me better understand bullying in various ways.   While at times I questioned the author’s conclusions, she helped me recognize the complexity of the issues and helped teach me a lot.    As I was finishing reading the book, I heard on television of the arrest in Florida of several teenage girls who allegedly ridiculed a classmate on Facebook after her suicide which had followed significantly bullying. 

Listening to this brief major media story, my reaction was significantly different from what it would have been before I read the book.   Before reading the book I would have presumed that: 1.) bullying caused the death, 2.) the girls who had been alleged to have bullied this girl were clearly at fault, 3.) the parents and high school had failed to do what they should have done, 4.) serious punitive measures should be taken against those who caused this tragic death, and 5.) hopefully others will learn from this tragedy and do more to prevent similar deaths in the future.

Now, I’d want to know more before I made most significant conclusions.   I wouldn’t immediately dismiss the denials of a parent who said that her daughter didn’t send the hateful messages (that her social media account had been hacked), though I’d still wonder if the mother was in denial.

I realize now that depression in the victim as well as how she may have been socially weak amongst peers may have important factors in what happened.   I could imagine that what transpired could have been clearly vicious and horrible.  It could also have been tragic, but understandable.  Perhaps it was somewhat different from either of these extremes.

Did this girl have at least one concerned parent who tried, but ultimately failed, in helping her daughter?   Who were the alleged perpetrators?   Did they have serious issues themselves or were they amoral, hurtful teenagers (not likely, but possible)?

I’m troubled by the significance of social media in helping allow (at least) significant ridicule to hurt many, with seemingly limited accountability, despite the pressures exerted upon them.   I see quandaries that middle and high schools face in both not policing their students, yet facing issues as to if and how to intervene particularly related to postings on Facebook.

Parents, schools and the police all face difficult issues in trying to help teenagers successfully grow up.   Where there is ignorance and denial related to homophobia and sexism, the issues can be greatly exacerbated.   

Where there are significant power differentials between a victim and others, there is significant potential for bullying.   This can occur, for example, where the victim is or appears to be gay/lesbian or has physical or mental impairments.    In such situations, mediation between victim and alleged bullies is not a good idea. 
In other instances, the issues may be complex in other ways.   Some who are seriously hurt may, for example, have major depression issues, but have done things to others which seemingly makes the “innocent victim” label problematic.    The author gives one example of a girl who committed suicide after she’d gotten in the middle of relationships between other couples.

In the end things can be so complex because teenagers lives are complex and include “drama” as a normal part of growing up.   While it is easy to try to label individuals as “bullies” and try to hold them accountable in punitive ways, the realities of dealing fairly with the issues are much more difficult.

Sticks and Stones does a good job at helping expose one to the issues!   I find it difficult to succinctly describe this book.

NISVS - 2010 Survey - Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation

Highlights: 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation
Intimate Partner Violence:
• Among women who experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking in the context of an intimate relationship, the majority of bisexual and heterosexual women (89.5% and 98.7%, respectively) reported only male perpetrators while self-identified lesbians (67.4%) reported having only female perpetrators.
• Among men who experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in the context of an intimate relationship, most bisexual and heterosexual men (78.5% and 99.5%, respectively) reported having only female perpetrators, while the majority of self-reported gay men (90.7%) reported having only male perpetrators.
• More than one-third of lesbians (36.3%), over half of bisexual women (55.1%), and more than one-quarter of heterosexual women (29.8%) have been slapped, pushed, or shoved by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
• Approximately one-quarter of all men, regardless of sexual orientation reported being slapped, pushed, or shoved by an intimate partner at some point during their lifetime (24.0% gay men, 27.0% bisexual men, and 26.3% heterosexual men).
• Nearly 1 in 3 lesbians (29.4%), 1 in 2 bisexual women (49.3%), and 1 in 4 heterosexual women (23.6%) experienced at least one form of severe physical violence (e.g., hurt by pulling hair, hit with something hard, kicked, slammed against something, tried to hurt by choking or suffocating, beaten, burned on purpose, or had a knife or gun used against them) by an intimate partner in her lifetime.
• Severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime was reported by 16.4% of gay men and 13.9% of heterosexual men.
Lifetime Prevalence of Rape, Physical
Violence, and/or Stalking by an Intimate Partner
For women:
Lesbian 43.8%
Bisexual 61.1%
Heterosexual 35.0%
For men:
Gay 26.0%
Bisexual 37.3%
Heterosexual 29.0%
• Approximately 1 in 5 bisexual women (22.1%) and nearly 1 in 10 heterosexual women (9.1%) have been raped by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Impact of Intimate Partner Violence:
• More than half of bisexual women (57.4%), a third of lesbians (33.5%), and more than a quarter of heterosexual women (28.2%) who experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner reported at least one negative impact (e.g., missed at least one day of school or work, was fearful, was concerned for her safety, experienced at least one post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom).
Sexual Violence:
• Approximately 1 in 8 lesbians (13.1%), nearly half of bisexual women (46.1%), and 1 in 6 heterosexual women (17.4%) have been raped in their lifetime. This translates to an estimated 214,000 lesbians, 1.5 million bisexual women, and 19 million heterosexual women.
• Almost half of bisexual women (48.2%) and more than a quarter of heterosexual women (28.3%) were first raped between the ages of 11 and 17 years.
• Nearly half of bisexual men (47.4%), 4 in 10 gay men (40.2%), and 1 in 5 heterosexual men (20.8%) have experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime. This translates to nearly 1.1 million gay men, 903,000 bisexual men, and 21.6 million heterosexual men.
• Approximately 1 in 3 bisexual women (36.6%) and 1 in 6 heterosexual women (15.5%) have been stalked at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed. This translates to 1.2 million bisexual women and 16.8 million heterosexual women. 
(copied and pasted from: 
http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_FactSheet_LBG-a.pdf )
http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/SpecialReports.html - source of three files on report (including the one above)
http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/NISVS/index.html - source of original files on the original detailed  report - which was completed well before the report above was completed - both based upon the 2010 survey data

Growing- As a Man

It was a shock to learn (when I went to play bridge with Lorraine) on December 20, 2012 that she’d fallen and broken her hip December 18th.   I visited her in the hospital. I learned on December 27th that she’d been released for rehab to a convalescent home within walking distance of my house.  (Pictures from Lorraine’s 100th birthday party- bridge game are on my personal blog at: 
 http://bit.ly/VPJ5Bn    - the first picture is of the two of us together.)

Today – Lorraine is being released and going home.   I hope that things will work out there.  It won’t be easy for her or her son who takes care of her.

Since December 27th, I’ve missed visiting her only on New Year’s Day and a day I was out-of-town on.   

My experiences are an example of what I think we as men need to begin doing to help build a “new masculinity”.

Prior to December 27, 2012 I knew relatively little of Lorraine (beyond some biographical life facts).   She is an amazing person!   Her bridge playing was excellent, far better than mine, until it began slipping on occasion when she was 98.  More importantly she was a caring person, much beloved by many.    I played bridge with her every Thursday and about every other Thursday  gave her a ride home.

Visiting Lorraine every day has helped me grow in various ways.   I’m learning to listen to my feelings .   They go all over the place.   There were days when she barely recognized me.  Sometimes I thought that she had no future at all.   At other times I saw her huge successes in therapy or just enjoyed stories she told me.

Increasingly I’ve learned to be there however I can.   I’ve witnessed Lorraine “aging” becoming “old” in various ways.  She has trouble hearing as well as often taking in the meanings of what is said to her.   Her forgetfulness is growing.  She toldl me that yesterday she’d seen someone,  when I’d been there 4-5 days earlier during the visit.   She’ll repeat herself 3-4 times over 15 minutes.

Holding her hand and just sitting in silence together are significant to me.   I am sad to see my friend age before my eyes.   I am happy that I’ve been able to support her as best I can each day.

As a man I learned to look out for myself and to take care of myself.   I did not learn to reach beyond the simple courtesies.  I did not learn to confront my own fears of death and dying with others.   I did not learn to be a significant part of others who weren’t already close friends of mine.

Lorraine has given me a huge gift.   I’ve given her a gift helping her cope with the negatives of the past 45+ days and being her supportive buddy when I can.

I hope in the coming years as men we will increasingly learn to stretch our boundaries and to reach out to really be with others beyond our comfort zones.  It is well worth it, though not easy.   Thanks!