Hot Line Provides Help for Angry Men
Men who lose their tempers and injure their partners don’t see themselves as batterers, just angry men.
So in an effort to reach these men before it’s too late, the Coalition Against Household Violence has renamed its Batterers’ Hot Line the Anger Management Hot Line.
“These guys are not bad guys,” said David Friedlander, a coalition counselor who staffs the 7-month-old hot line and runs an anger management group for men who have been convicted of spousal abuse. “They’ve had trouble in dealing with their anger. I think they can learn new ways of doing that.”
“Sometimes, I think these guys are written off, that they’re unchangeable,” he said. But in his experience, he said, “these guys can be worked with.”
The 24-hour hot line, aimed at male callers, is answered by male counselors.
“We recognize the problem and recognize it’s up to us--the ones with the Y chromosome--to solve the problem, since we started it,” said coalition counselor Scott Ripple.
More angry men are reaching out for help these days, according to Gina Giglio, a Ventura counselor for couples, families and children. “It’s really noticeable.”
Giglio is seeing more men in private counseling than ever before. “They just find that their lives aren’t working and they need to do something,” she said.
But a lack of publicity and what Ripple called “heavy denial” on the part of men have made the hot line, the only one in the county, slow to take off.
To increase awareness of the service, the coalition is asking law enforcement officers responding to domestic disputes to pass out cards with the hot line phone number, which is 656-4861.
Friedlander estimated that about 30 people have called the line since its inception. But, he said, even “if it only works for a few people, I feel we would have been very successful.”
Ripple, who manages an ice cream warehouse in Ventura, has hot line calls dispatched to his home on Sundays.
When the few callers have reached Ripple, the first thing he does is congratulate them for calling. “Given the way you’re raised male in this society, stoicism is the thing. . . . For these guys, where they are is real lonely.
“Essentially, what they need is a shoulder to cry on,” he said.
So far, Friedlander has taken a few calls himself, none of which fit the profile that might be expected.
One male caller said he believed he was being battered by his partner who, although she was not hurting him, agitated him by hitting him. He wanted some advice on what to do.
Friedlander talked to him about taking a “timeout,” which means take a break, a breath of fresh air or a walk around the block, during a domestic dispute. Friedlander also suggested that the man seek legal help or talk to his pastor.