Ramsey County officials are focusing today on how our culture raises boys, seeing that as a key to helping prevent violence against women and children.
Tonight, they’ll hold a public forum on “How We Raise Boys” at Hamline University.
The county attorney’s office is holding an internal workshop today on the topic, followed by a meeting with other county officials and government leaders, and then the public program at 7 p.m.
The sessions will feature Ted Bunch, an author who looks at how “male socialization and the culture that objectifies women and perpetuates the cycle of men feeling entitled to use women to meet their own needs,” organizers said.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi explained the genesis of the day-long focus on education of young males:
“For years, I have seen firsthand the devastation caused by domestic violence, sex trafficking, and other physical and sexual violence against women and children. Unfortunately, the common denominator in the vast majority of these situations is males perpetrating the violence. We need to come together as a community to talk about how we raise our boys and commit to transformative culture change.”
And Ramsey County Board Chair Jim McDonough said: “Even small things like changing the everyday language can make a big difference.”
Rina McManus, director of the St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health department, calls it a public health issue and said:
“Violence is a learned behavior, and that’s why the relationships we establish and the values and beliefs we teach our children are so important. Respecting others and developing responsible behaviors begins early in our development and are key to raising non-violent children and adults.”
Tonight’s public meeting on the issue, at Hamline’s Klas Center, 1537 Taylor Av., St. Paul, begins at 6 p.m. with a reception. The program starts at 7 p.m.