Hi, my name is Ivan Labelle. I am the co-founder of “Mentalk K’hommeunique” and co-anchor of the local TV show “man to man” and I have been asked to write a column. I was very ambivalent, and still am, about writing this column.
Even though we all seem to agree not to judge people without knowing their journey, and we are wise enough to know that everyone has life challenges, it sometimes feels like some of us should not have a voice because we have white man privilege. This so-called privilege is sending a message to us; it’s telling us to shut up, suck it up and not to complain.
Therefore where does a man go to unload his stress and grief?
I do acknowledge that white man privilege exist in many aspects of life, so please no hate mail.
But I also have seen, when waiting to get in a club, the pretty girl privilege, they angry scary man privilege, the child and senior privilege, the ladies and children first privilege–think Titanic. So I guess it depends on the situation. If a stranger enters your house at night do, you wake up your wife and ask her to go check? Probably not. So I guess we have that privilege as well!
Men have done horrendous things to women, whites to blacks, adults to children and employers to employees, even women to men.
I have worked with men who were exposed to violence all their lives. Imagine being woken up as a child by a kick in the face. Imagine being raped by a crazy uncle, or raised by a mother who hates men. The list goes on.
My point is this: everyone matters. Thank God for the LBGTQTS movement. It has made for a more inclusive caring society. As the bumper sticker says “Human Kind –be both.”
I have been warned not to quote statistics without up to date information, but I can say concretely that men are also abused. What shelter do they go to? I started these men’s groups because I was tired of hearing about men sleeping in their trucks. One day, I spoke up and a man replied “I slept in a truck for weeks!” That man is Stephen Douris, the other facilitator, co-anchor, and recipient last year’s Citizen of the Year award. He was also named Big brother of the year. Stephen has lived experience. Combined with my training and experience, he has helped us help other men.
So,If you care to look at which gender does the most dangerous jobs, and which gender has a highly likelyhood of dying on the job, you’ll find out men have that privileges as well. All things considered, all we want is to let you know we matter, we hurt, we get anxious, we get depressed and yes, we need to talk. So I ask you: when was the last time you checked in with your dad, your husband, your son, and asked about his mental health and how is he really doing? Of course, most will say “fine”, but add: “No REALLY? How are you doing?” You might be surprised by what follows.