About shifting the lens

Tony Porter, CEO of A CALL TO MEN

Tony Porter, CEO of A CALL TO MEN

A CALL TO MEN CEO Tony Porter to Interview Ray Rice

The Partnership’s annual Shifting the Lens Conference has offered an exploration of a series of critical questions related to domestic violence. Together we’ve taken a fearless look at the responses we’ve created over the last 40 years with the aim of preventing and ending domestic violence -- and we keep returning to the central premise that we must center the voices, lived experiences, wisdom and wishes of those most impacted by this issue.

Many survivors strongly assert they want the abuse to stop – while at the same time expressing love and hope for a healthy relationship. Through the abuse they’ve experienced, many have encountered the criminal legal system. Some found it helpful in securing immediate safety – while others regret being entangled in a punitive system beyond their control. These survivors often reach out to hotlines and shelters and legal services for assistance during crises – but don’t always find sustained support when they reunite their families.

Many reach out to find help for the person who is harming them – they seek support for rebuilding a safe and respectful relationship – and preventing abuse from ever occurring again. How can we honor their expressed needs for accountability and help for their entire family? What would it look like for people who commit harm to be accountable to survivors and to the community around them?

This year, the Partnership has invited A CALL TO MEN CEO Tony Porter to kick off the Conference as our keynote speaker. Porter will share insights about ACTM’s work on healthy masculinity and accountability, and challenge us to critically examine the impact of racial bias in our domestic violence response system. 

Porter will interview Ray Rice—an athlete who forever changed the conversation about domestic violence in 2014 when a video was released showing him striking his wife in an elevator. What ensued was a nationwide conversation on domestic violence, the effectiveness of penalties, disparate impacts on communities of color, what real accountability looks like, and how we affect lasting change. 

Since 2014, Rice has strived to live by the principles of healthy manhood, education he initially learned from A CALL TO MEN. He has taken steps to improve his relationship with his family and remains committed to healing together.

As part of this healing and accountability process, he has spoken to athletes of all ages, actively promoting a prevention agenda by providing guidance on healthy manhood and sharing insights about his own experiences. Rice has spread the message about making right decisions and seeking assistance through numerous discussions with top-tier college programs like Notre Dame, University of Alabama, University of Southern California, University of Georgia, Florida State, Ohio State, and Liberty University. In 2016, Rice spoke on a panel at the Big 12’s “State of College Athletics” conference focused on finding solutions to campus violence. Additionally, Rice has met with numerous NFL teams including the Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Following Porter’s interview of Rice, we will hear from survivors, advocates and community organizers — Black women — adding their voices to the dialogue about:

· What survivor-centered accountability looks like

· How they perceive issues of safety, accountability and healing

· The consequences when prominent men of color are overrepresented in media coverage on domestic violence

· How our decades-long efforts to strengthen criminal legal consequences have succeeded (or failed) to reduce and prevent domestic violence

· And in what ways these responses have impacted the survivors, families and communities with whom they work

We’ll invite all Conference attendees to enter this complicated, and perhaps uncomfortable, conversation. This is a time for us to grapple with long-held beliefs and hard truths — to hear what survivors need and want, explore the ways in which we can adapt our work when we center their voices. Shifting the Lens 2019 will be a “calling-in” for all of us requiring us to bring our best selves and remain curious as we come together for a courageous conversation.