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READ FOR PIXELS INTERVIEW: Ian Whates

As part of The Pixel Project‘s Read For Pixels campaign, we interview authors from genres as diverse as Science Fiction and Fantasy to Romance to Thrillers about why they support the movement to end violence against women and girls. 

In this interview, we talk to Ian Whates who is the author of seven novels, the co-author of two more, and editor of thirty-odd anthologies. Seventy of his short stories have appeared in various venues and his work has been shortlisted for the Philip K Dick Award and twice for BSFA Awards. In 2006, Ian founded award-winning independent publisher NewCon Press by accident.

NewCon Press is taking part in the 4th annual International Women’s Day Edition of the Read For Pixels campaign by donating a Mystery Book Box to help raise funds for The Pixel Project. NewCon Press will send this box anywhere in the world to one (1) generous donor only! More details are available on the Read For Pixels fundraising page.

If you’d like to have a chance to participate in live Q&As online with 12 other award-winning bestselling authors who will be having live Read For Pixels Google Hangouts, check out the schedule here.

And now, over to Ian…

Picture courtesy of Ian Whates.

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Ian Whates 31. Why is ending violence against women important to you and why did you decide to take action about it by supporting The Pixel Project

I believe violence against anybody to be wrong, particularly when it involves somebody in a position of perceived authority or strength victimising someone more vulnerable – be that in terms of gender, race, or social standing. I’ve never understood the drive to exercise power in this way. Women in different cultures around the world have frequently been cast as victims of the desire to dominate, to hurt, to control, and any undertaking such as the Pixel Project, dedicated to highlighting and opposing such behaviour, has to merit support.

 

2. You have very generously offered to donate a couple of Mystery Book Boxes – one for each of our Read For Pixels campaign in 2018 – in support of our anti-VAW work. As the founder of the acclaimed NewCon Press, what do you think publishers can do to help stop violence against women apart from raising funds?

There’s a temptation to say ‘not much’, but that would be shirking responsibility, and that word is key: responsibility. Publishers, particularly when they are as niche as my own, have very limited influence on the world, but that’s not the same as having no influence.  There is an onus on us to behave responsibly in selecting what we publish; by ensuring that unacceptable behaviour is either omitted entirely or shown to be unacceptable and portrayed in a light that vilifies both the act and those who resort to it, we can make a difference. A very small difference perhaps – a drop in the ocean – but the cumulative effect of enough drops over time can contribute to change.

 

3. As a prominent male author and editor, what do you think men in the publishing industry can do to help stop violence against women?

From the editing and publishing perspective, I can only echo much of what I said in response to the previous question. When something comes across my desk (or screen) that shocks me for the wrong reasons, I will always go back to the author and explain why I reacted in this way and why a given scene or phrase is not acceptable.

As a writer, a lot of what I write reflects my own beliefs, my own moral compass; I sometimes write a character or a scene intended to shock, but when doing so I always look to incorporate a payoff that delivers justice or restores balance. I think, as authors, we have a duty to consider moral issues while seeking to entertain, or thrill, or amuse. In many ways it’s a great privilege to present our work to readers in the hope and expectation that they will enjoy the results. With privilege comes responsibility – that word again. I am under no illusion that my writing is significant enough to educate anybody, but I have certainly used it to highlight issues, and if some aspect of a story should give a reader pause, or cause them to reassess, so much the better.  As writers, we have a responsibility; that doesn’t mean we should ever allow that to become a burden or govern our imagination, but neither can we afford to ignore it.

READ FOR PIXELS INTERVIEW: Charles de Lint

As part of The Pixel Project’s Read For Pixels campaign, we interview authors from genres as diverse as Science Fiction and Fantasy to Romance to Thrillers about why they support the movement to end violence against women and girls. 

In this interview, we talk to Charles de Lint who is the author of more than seventy adult, young adult, and children’s books. Renowned as one of the trailblazers of the modern fantasy genre, he is the recipient of the World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, and White Pine awards, among others. Modern Library’s Top 100 Books of the 20th Century poll, conducted by Random House and voted on by readers, put eight of de Lint’s books among the top 100. Charles’ latest book, THE WIND IN HIS HEART, will be released on September 19th, 2017.

Charles will be taking part in the 4th annual Fall Edition of the Read For Pixels campaign by donating a one-of-a-kind perk to help raise funds for The Pixel Project – a perpetual place on his private mailing list through which he sends out a haiku a day to about 25 friends. This is available for one (1) generous donor only! More details will be available once the Read For Pixels campaign (including the fundraising page with this goodie on it) kicks off on 1st September 2017, so check out The Pixel Project’s Facebook page and Charles’ Facebook page  in September 2017 for the link to the fundraising page to donate to the campaign. If you’d like to have a chance to participate in live Q&As online with 12 other award-winning bestselling authors who will be having live Read For Pixels Google Hangouts, check out the schedule here.

And now, over to Charles…

Picture courtesy of Charles de Lint.

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cdl-300 dpi1. Why is ending violence against women important to you and why did you decide to take action about it by supporting The Pixel Project?

I don’t just believe in gender/religious/racial equality. I genuinely can’t understand why anyone would think it’s okay to bully or harm another human being. To do our part in eradicating violence, it’s incumbent upon each and every one of us to do everything in our power to stop this ugly behaviour by nurturing mutual respect and kindness using whatever platforms we have.

Mine is simply by portraying all the characters in my fiction as equals, with the strengths and weaknesses that any of us might possess. I don’t get preachy about it, but I’ve written plenty of fiction dealing (in part) with violence against women, kids, and marginalized people, and I’ve heard from many readers that they gained strength or felt empowered because they felt less alone and found role models to look up to.

I’ve also had the honour of hearing from counsellors and ministers who’ve used my fiction in their work, and everyday people—even prisoners—who’ve affirmed that my writing helped them look at issues in a different light. I can’t imagine a more gratifying response to one’s creative output, and it sustains me even when my writing hits all the inevitable potholes and such.

 

2. You have very generously offered a perpetual spot on your private Haiku mailing list to one generous donor in the upcoming Read For Pixels fundraiser. Aside from helping raise funds  to keep anti-violence against women work going, what do you think authors can do to help stop violence against women?

The interesting thing about stories is that they aren’t a passive art form. Well-written stories allow the reader to invest their imagination in the reading process and part of that investment is to immerse oneself in the lives of the characters you meet in the pages. Aside from great entertainment value, which is important to me, a major side benefit is that the reader can come away with a tangible understanding of how the “other” is not so different from oneself. Every “other,” from refugee to the opposite gender, can be understood and, more importantly, empathized with, if you can experience the world through their eyes.

Authors don’t need to lecture. They only need to depict truthful stories that, as they unwind, show readers that treating others as we’d like to be treated ourselves shouldn’t be considered freakish behaviour, but rather the norm.

 

 3. As a prominent male author, what do you think men can do to help stop violence against women?

It’s pretty basic. Just as we shouldn’t let racist comments from our friends and acquaintances slide, neither should misogynist comments or jokes go by without questioning them. You don’t have to get heavy about it. Even just saying, “I don’t understand,” as often as necessary to someone trying to justify it to you, sends a clear message that this attitude no longer flies.  Speak up when you become aware of something that’s not right, be it trolls on the Internet or some jerk on the street. And always be a rock for those who might need our support. Treat your partners and women friends with the genuine respect and honesty they deserve.

One more thing: read women writers and recommend their books to your male friends. What better way to get inside the workings of the female mind than to look at the world through their lens and voice? I believe it’s entirely possible to create a new normal and I can only do my best to set a positive example in my daily life and my creative work.

“30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015: Interview 30 – Lonny Davis, 76, USA

Welcome to The Pixel Project’s “30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015! In honour of Father’s Day, we created this campaign:

  • To acknowledge the vital role Dads play in families, cultures and communities worldwide.
  • To showcase good men from different walks of life who are fabulous positive non-violent male role models.

Through this campaign, we will be publishing a short interview with a different Dad on each day of the month of June.

This campaign is also part of a programme of initiatives held throughout 2015 in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign that is in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide. Donations begin at just US$10 and you can donate via the Pixel Reveal website here or the Pixel Reveal Razoo donation page here.

Our thirtieth and final “30 For 30″ 2015 Dad is Lonny Davis from the USA.

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The Dad Bio

My name is Lonny Davis. I have worked as a musician, policeman, rescue instructor, construction worker, purchaser, and property manager. My interests include music, hunting, fishing, drawing and oil-painting, and mentoring men fresh out of prison.  My wife Jenell is my constant participating companion. During cold, hard winters, we played instruments, made useful things, learned hand crafts and had hobbies.  Before Jenell and I were married, we decided that when children came, she would be a home-maker until the last kid left home. We had three boys and two girls, and we liked to vacation, camp, and fish together.  We see or hear from our children almost every week.

Lonny Davis Fathers Day photo

1. What is the best thing about being a dad?

For me, it was, and still is with our grand- and great-grandchildren, the joy and satisfaction of watching each child develop his or her own personality and character, learning to find their places in the family, neighbourhood, and community. Each chose their own interests, vocations, and avocations, making their mother and me proud and grateful.

2. A dad is usually the first male role model in a person’s life and fathers do have a significant impact on their sons’ attitude towards women and girls. How has your father influenced the way you see and treat women and girls?

My father came from a long line of hard-drinking coal-miners. Dad quit drinking when Mom got pregnant. I always knew where Dad was and when he would be home. He was a man of his word, a gentleman, always mindful and courteous in the presence of females. He never verbally abused anyone. When I started dating, he taught me how to treat girls with the same respect I had learned to show to older women, and to never say or do anything that I would not do in front of Mom. If I could be proud of myself, I would then be good to others.

3. Communities and activists worldwide are starting to recognise that violence against women is not a “women’s issue” but a human rights issue and that men play a role in stopping the violence. How do you think fathers and other male role models can help get young men and boys to take an interest in and step up to help prevent and stop violence against women?

Young men will not value the benefits and rewards of being an in-home father unless they can see good role-modelling by good fathers. This starts with observing a good husband.

Many young men are angry and frustrated because they have not been fathered themselves. They have not been taught how to deal with the challenges of life as a man and are insecure in their manhood. They were not nurtured, guided, encouraged, and mentored by mature men. Courts order men to group sessions on parenting and anger-management, but do not provide mentoring by successful husbands and fathers. Prison or jail time never produces the good results that mentoring can.

I suggest spending as much effort on developing a mentoring programme as is spent on anti-violence education.

 

“30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015: Interview 29 – Lawrence Loh, early 30s, Canada and Malaysia

Welcome to The Pixel Project’s “30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015! In honour of Father’s Day, we created this campaign:

  • To acknowledge the vital role Dads play in families, cultures and communities worldwide.
  • To showcase good men from different walks of life who are fabulous positive non-violent male role models.

Through this campaign, we will be publishing a short interview with a different Dad on each day of the month of June. This campaign is also part of a programme of initiatives held throughout 2015 in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign that is in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide. Donations begin at just US$10 and you can donate via the Pixel Reveal website here or the Pixel Reveal Razoo donation page here.

Our twenty-ninth “30 For 30″ 2015 Dad is Lawrence Loh from Canada and Malaysia.

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The Dad Bio

Lawrence Loh is the father of a beautiful daughter, Jessica, and lives with his wife in midtown Toronto, Canada. When he’s not busy dancing up a storm to Jessica’s favourite songs in the living room or running with her in a running stroller through a nearby park, he works as a public health physician with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and volunteers as Director of Programs for The 53rd Week, a Brooklyn, N.Y. based non-profit that aims to optimise the outcomes and minimize the harm for receiving communities associated with short-term medical volunteering abroad.    

1. What is the best thing about being a dad?

Learning every day and watching Jessica grow! I see her developing her own personality and her curiosity about the world for the first time. I imagine her limitless potential. As a dad, I also strive to improve things about myself so that I can help my daughter build a better future. For example: I’ve decided we’re going to learn to speak Spanish together.

2. A dad is usually the first male role model in a person’s life and fathers do have a significant impact on their sons’ attitude towards women and girls. How has your father influenced the way you see and treat women and girls?

My father has always supported our family and always told me that mom is the boss. I always took it as a little tongue-in-cheek, but I have learned over the years that it really means that we need to honour each other in our relationship. We need to at least be willing to listen and understand the priorities of our partners and respect is the foundation for all of that.

3. Communities and activists worldwide are starting to recognise that violence against women is not a “women’s issue” but a human rights issue and that men play a role in stopping the violence. How do you think fathers and other male role models can help get young men and boys to take an interest in and step up to help prevent and stop violence against women?

Besides being a role model I think it’s important to speak out about things that don’t seem kosher. I think it is important to say when we see our peers or sons or others disrespecting women. I think it’s equally important for us to be seen as safe havens for women who might be experiencing violence. It is past time for us to break the chain and stop violence, especially against women in our society.

“30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015: Interview 28 – Joaquim Motaner, 40, Spain

Welcome to The Pixel Project’s “30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015! In honour of Father’s Day, we created this campaign:

  • To acknowledge the vital role Dads play in families, cultures and communities worldwide.
  • To showcase good men from different walks of life who are fabulous positive non-violent male role models.

Through this campaign, we will be publishing a short interview with a different Dad on each day of the month of June.

This campaign is also part of a programme of initiatives held throughout 2015 in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign that is in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide. Donations begin at just US$10 and you can donate via the Pixel Reveal website here or the Pixel Reveal Razoo donation page here.

Our twenty-eighth “30 For 30″ 2015 Dad is Joaquim Motaner from Spain.

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The Dad Bio

I’m from Cadiz, Andalusia, Spain. I am 40 years old and have three girls and three boys. Four of my children are from a previous marriage. I was trained in matters relating to education and communication and I am currently working to develop employment policies for the Andalusian government. I am also empowering parents and others to express caring to friends, family, in groups of men, including sports groups and parenting groups. Today I am 40 years old and have been a father for ten years. You can read many of the things I have written at http://joaquimmontaner.net and http://quimosavic.wordpress.com.

1. What is the best thing about being a dad?

When I married my wife, I became an instant father to four children. This taught me to prioritise. I have learned many things. Everything is linked to love and care: I learned to love, I learned to clean and cook, I learned to wash, I learned to heal wounds, I learned to organise spaces, I learned to drive with trailers and caravans, I learned to listen more and talk less, I learned to participate in six or seven conversations simultaneously, I learned to keep a home, and I learned that hugs are essential to calm the kids.

And I’m learning every day from them, and with them. I have realised that most of my life has been based on false assumptions and fallacies. I am transforming from a man into a real man.

Caring for others brings out the best in us. I have to stop putting my desires and my instincts first. I have to be extremely patient, to live with illness, to interact with many people with whom I share little or nothing, except being a parent or living in the same space.

2. A dad is usually the first male role model in a person’s life and fathers do have a significant impact on their sons’ attitude towards women and girls. How has your father influenced the way you see and treat women and girls?

Being a father changed me into someone more like my father. He is a respectful, loving, and wise man, and I value his ways more with each passing day. He taught me to allow people to make mistakes as they improve. He showed me the importance of being respectful of other people, be they men or women.

In my father’s generation, men had to be breadwinners. He did it very well, but all the time he wasn’t working was spent with my brothers and me. He provided support and assistance so we could live freely and independently. Today he continues to apply these principles as he takes care of his grandchildren.

I want my male children to be like my father. If they have children, I want them to be active parents. Just as I have done, I want them to offer themselves twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, so their children can see who their parents are and know they are there. My children are internalising good parenting by seeing it in me and my father.

3. Communities and activists worldwide are starting to recognise that violence against women is not a “women’s issue” but a human rights issue and that men play a role in stopping the violence. How do you think fathers and other male role models can help get young men and boys to take an interest in and step up to help prevent and stop violence against women?

I want my boys to realise that girls are their equals. I encourage them to observe and analyse other realities. When they are older, they will care about their homes and who lives there. They will share tasks, including childcare responsibilities. It is often a battle to get them to do the household chores that the girls do.

We face a gender gap that needs to be corrected right now. Men have to care in ways other than breadwinning. Their roles are changing, but the presence of real men who are not afraid to love and to care for others will influence men who want to change.

The behaviour of parents is the strongest direct influence on the behaviour that children will exhibit as adults. Living and cohabitating with pro-feminist parents and other male role models who support equality between men and women will influence children’s adult lives. In later years these children may support the fight against gender violence and work for equality between men and women.

Engaging as many male children as possible will generate changes in relations between men and women exponentially. Relationships will then be based on respect and proper treatment of each other.

 

“30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015: Interview 27 – Rob Dyson, 36, United Kingdom

Welcome to The Pixel Project’s “30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015! In honour of Father’s Day, we created this campaign:

  • To acknowledge the vital role Dads play in families, cultures and communities worldwide.
  • To showcase good men from different walks of life who are fabulous positive non-violent male role models.

Through this campaign, we will be publishing a short interview with a different Dad on each day of the month of June. This campaign is also part of a programme of initiatives held throughout 2015 in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign that is in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide. Donations begin at just US$10 and you can donate via the Pixel Reveal website here or the Pixel Reveal Razoo donation page here.

Our twenty-seventh “30 For 30″ 2015 Dad is Rob Dyson from the United Kingdom.

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The Dad Bio I am Head of Communications at a disabled children’s charity in the UK. I’m also a founding member, and former trustee, of CharityComms, the professional members’ body for charity communicators. In 2007 I founded the Third Sector PR & Communications Network on Facebook, which is used daily by over 2,200 British and international charity communications professionals. I’ve blogged for The Guardian, contributed articles to Third Sector and PR Week, and I have spoken at conferences, seminars, and tweet-ups on building relationships with journalists and how to use social media to amplify communications. I am also a ‘box fresh’ dad!

Rob Dyson1. What is the best thing about being a dad? It’s extremely early days, as my son Ethan is a month old, but the sense of responsibility for raising a boy to be respectful, moral, and happy is already palpable. I am looking forward to being a father in the sense of providing support and guidance and also independence.

2. A dad is usually the first male role model in a person’s life and fathers do have a significant impact on their sons’ attitude towards women and girls. How has your father influenced the way you see and treat women and girls? My father, like me, has friends who are women, and likes women including co-workers, relations, and friends, so growing up I didn’t distinguish between female and male role models, whether they were filmmakers, artists, songwriters, or business owners. When I went to school, I actually leaned towards having more female friends as I found there was no ‘machismo’ and I could talk about what I was feeling and thinking. In early education settings, when young men are typically finding their way, though, my male friends would use team sports to bond, but I had no interest in that.

3. Communities and activists worldwide are starting to recognise that violence against women is not a “women’s issue” but a human rights issue and that men play a role in stopping the violence. How do you think fathers and other male role models can help get young men and boys to take an interest in and step up to help prevent and stop violence against women? I think it’s about setting the scene early. Children have no religion, pre-judgement, nor prejudices. They learn their identity from their parents, wider family networks, and later through peers and social groups. So, like my experience with my own father, if you grow up in an environment which fosters a celebration of talent, achievement, creativity, and individuality, irrespective of gender, little boys will grow into men who respect everyone. Yes, there are daily influences which reinforce stereotypes and negativity, but a song on the radio, a bad movie, or a video game can be distinguished from how to live your life by a good role model. Being present and a positive force in your child’s life, particularly as a father to a son; promoting friendships and role models of both sexes; and having positive women in your life; can help to raise real men with the self-respect not to harm women.

“30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015: Interview 22 – Jonathan Horsley, 37, United Kingdom and Malaysia

Welcome to The Pixel Project’s “30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015! In honour of Father’s Day, we created this campaign:

  • To acknowledge the vital role Dads play in families, cultures and communities worldwide.
  • To showcase good men from different walks of life who are fabulous positive non-violent male role models.

Through this campaign, we will be publishing a short interview with a different Dad on each day of the month of June.

This campaign is also part of a programme of initiatives held throughout 2015 in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign that is in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide. Donations begin at just US$10 and you can donate via the Pixel Reveal website here or the Pixel Reveal Razoo donation page here.

Our twenty-sixth “30 For 30″ 2015 Dad is Jonathan Horsley from the United Kingdom and Malaysia.

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The Dad Bio

I was born in the UK but have lived in Malaysia for one third of my life. My wife and I meet while at University where I was reading Chemical Engineering and she, a BSC in Psychology. We got married two weeks after graduation but it took me three years to persuade her to have kids. We now have two sons and a daughter, aged 12, 10, and 8. I currently work for an international nursery and baby product supplier while my wife stays home to home-school the kids. 

1. What is the best thing about being a dad?

Holding them as little tiny babies and knowing it is my responsibility to nurture and protect them. Then, watching them grow up into interesting little people with ideas and thoughts of their own. They make coming home extra special. Learning that what they really want is my time and attention, and the more I put in, the more rewarding it is.

2. A dad is usually the first male role model in a person’s life and fathers do have a significant impact on their sons’ attitude towards women and girls. How has your father influenced the way you see and treat women and girls?

I have only one male sibling but watching my father interact with my mother really set the tone for me. I never saw him behave aggressively towards her. The language that he used remained respectful and at no time did I ever feel he used his strength or earning power to gain the upper hand. He valued her staying home to raise us and her contributions to our family.

3. Communities and activists worldwide are starting to recognise that violence against women is not a “women’s issue” but a human rights issue and that men play a role in stopping the violence. How do you think fathers and other male role models can help get young men and boys to take an interest in and step up to help prevent and stop violence against women?

Set a good example for our sons and peers. Don’t be ashamed to appear less macho by speaking up for women. Talk about the issue and make it clear that violence isn’t okay. Challenge those who violate women. Validate and support the victims. It is helpful for them to hear from a man that they do not need to tolerate this kind of behaviour and that violence against women is not the norm.

“30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015: Interview 22 – Bala Sasetu, 40, Nigeria

Welcome to The Pixel Project’s “30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015! In honour of Father’s Day, we created this campaign:

  • To acknowledge the vital role Dads play in families, cultures and communities worldwide.
  • To showcase good men from different walks of life who are fabulous positive non-violent male role models.

Through this campaign, we will be publishing a short interview with a different Dad on each day of the month of June.

This campaign is also part of a programme of initiatives held throughout 2015 in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign that is in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide. Donations begin at just US$10 and you can donate via the Pixel Reveal website here or the Pixel Reveal Razoo donation page here.

Our twenty-fifth “30 For 30″ 2015 Dad is Bala Sasetu from Nigeria.

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The Dad Bio

My name is Bala Sasetu. I am a lawyer by training and a public servant by profession. I am a Christian. I am happily married and the union is blessed with two sweet daughters; Kayla, aged 3 years, 7 months, and Viela, aged 9 months.  I am a family focused person, a persona that drove right to the doors of Family Worship Centre, Abuja, where I worship and serve as a Home Cell (Care Group) leader.  My hobbies include but are not limited to travelling, watching TV, and listening to good music. 

1. What is the best thing about being a dad?

The best thing about being a dad is the fact that I see not only a replica of myself but an opportunity to make a better me.  Nothing prepared me for the experience of being a dad so from the moment I set eyes on my child, the avalanche of emotions that came upon me from that moment onward were just awesome.  The responsibilities are challenging sometimes but I would not trade being a dad today for anything on earth. It also makes me understand how God feels about me as His child.

2. A dad is usually the first male role model in a person’s life and fathers do have a significant impact on their sons’ attitude towards women and girls. How has your father influenced the way you see and treat women and girls?

My father, like every other person, was not perfect when I was growing up but he was a man, indeed, he still is.  He adored our mother and tried to express it the best he could.  He knew how to handle affairs in his home and how to take up the challenges of fatherhood whilst not interfering in my mother’s need to be a mother.

He was not bossy and a terror around the house, and understood the place of dialogue. My father only needed to mention something once and it stuck.  Such is his influence on me.

3. Communities and activists worldwide are starting to recognise that violence against women is not a “women’s issue” but a human rights issue and that men play a role in stopping the violence. How do you think fathers and other male role models can help get young men and boys to take an interest in and step up to help prevent and stop violence against women?

I believe that charity as they say begins at home. The way fathers treat mothers at home will go a long way in determining the premium boys will place on women in their lives. If they grow up seeing their mothers treated like property, they will eventually see women as objects for ownership.  If their mothers were abused, their wives more often than not would be abused, too.

I agree that there could be cases of reverse reaction where children who saw their mothers suffering violence developed compassion towards women and treated them with respect, but such cases are extremely rare.

Fathers owe it to society to treat their wives with respect so that their children do not carry on the trend of violence. Fatherhood is not just being a father, but also teaching boys to be gentlemen and responsible fathers.

“30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015: Interview 24 – Romaine Martin, 53, USA

Welcome to The Pixel Project’s “30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015! In honour of Father’s Day, we created this campaign:

  • To acknowledge the vital role Dads play in families, cultures and communities worldwide.
  • To showcase good men from different walks of life who are fabulous positive non-violent male role models.

Through this campaign, we will be publishing a short interview with a different Dad on each day of the month of June.

This campaign is also part of a programme of initiatives held throughout 2015 in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign that is in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide. Donations begin at just US$10 and you can donate via the Pixel Reveal website here or the Pixel Reveal Razoo donation page here.

Our twenty-fourth “30 For 30″ 2015 Dad is Romaine Martin from the USA.

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The Dad Bio

My name is Romaine Martin and I have wanted to be a father as long as I can remember. I was born in New Jersey and grew up in a family with my mother, father, and older sister. I moved to Virginia during middle school and continued through university. I have one son, Romaine III, and a beautiful daughter, Lauren. I am married to the love of my life, Judy, and we have been together over twenty years. I have worked at the same company for the past eighteen years and currently serve as a training coordinator.  My favourite hobby is to travel and discover new places with my family!   

1. What is the best thing about being a dad?

The best thing about being a dad is gaining the knowledge that my parents were not really crazy while I was growing up!  In other words I have developed an appreciation for what my sister and I put them through.

Being a parent is the most rewarding experience I can imagine.  You have such responsibility to a blank slate of a person, a person who really only wants to love you with no questions asked.  I have found myself echoing my parents’ warnings and exclamations on more than one occasion. That kind of makes me smile inside and realise how much of a circle life really is.

2. A dad is usually the first male role model in a person’s life and fathers do have a significant impact on their sons’ attitude towards women and girls. How has your father influenced the way you see and treat women and girls?

The first thing I remember my dad specifically telling me about women is that ‘a real man will never hit a woman’.  I heard that at the age of five or so probably because of fights with my big sister.  My mother worked outside the home during much of my childhood. I remember my dad would often work two jobs and sometimes take me along for the ride.  He would always stress that a man must do whatever it takes to take care of his family and carry the load.

I don’t think I ever saw him cry and he would hold his feelings inside and even developed an ulcer when I was a kid.  I think I have done the same to a degree and tend to internalize issues instead of sharing them openly with my spouse. I have had an ulcer as well. My wife says I am getting better with sharing the load.

3. Communities and activists worldwide are starting to recognise that violence against women is not a “women’s issue” but a human rights issue and that men play a role in stopping the violence. How do you think fathers and other male role models can help get young men and boys to take an interest in and step up to help prevent and stop violence against women?

I think it all begins with respect. I feel now more than ever that women are depicted as less than full human beings on the internet, in movies, video games, and TV.  How can we expect boys to treat an image as real?

Men need to explain the difference between fantasy and reality to their sons.  The real proof is in the doing. You have to walk the talk and let your son be exposed to real love and life and model an environment of mutual respect.  You also have to show that arguments and disagreements do occur, but it’s how you use communication skills to work your way through it that counts.

“30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015: Interview 23 – Pau Almuni, 37, Spain

Welcome to The Pixel Project’s “30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015! In honour of Father’s Day, we created this campaign:

  • To acknowledge the vital role Dads play in families, cultures and communities worldwide.
  • To showcase good men from different walks of life who are fabulous positive non-violent male role models.

Through this campaign, we will be publishing a short interview with a different Dad on each day of the month of June.

This campaign is also part of a programme of initiatives held throughout 2015 in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign that is in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide. Donations begin at just US$10 and you can donate via the Pixel Reveal website here or the Pixel Reveal Razoo donation page here.

Our twenty-third “30 For 30″ 2015 Dad is Pau Almuni from Spain.

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The Dad Bio

I am the dad of one, and we’re expecting another. I am in love with my wife – she’s too awesome for words! I am an entrepreneur in many places, and also in business. I manage and pushed to create fatherhood groups in Barcelona. I always thought I wanted to be a dad, but I never thought it would be so amazing, creepy, and scary at the same time! I don’t understand dads who don’t act like real men, and see their kids as noisy and problems. I don’t like people that call dads ‘heroes’, because we’re just doing what we want, need, and have to. 

1. What is the best thing about being a dad?

The best part of being a dad is looking into my kid’s eyes when he calls me dad, when he plays, when he laughs, when he runs. It’s seeing him learn something new every day. It’s being conscious that I am participating in growing a new life, and everything that I can learn on that journey.

Being a Dad has given me a new perspective on so many things: How I live my life, how I act at work, my relationship with my own dad and mom. Expecting a daughter is also opening my eyes even more to gender issues.

2. A dad is usually the first male role model in a person’s life and fathers do have a significant impact on their sons’ attitude towards women and girls. How has your father influenced the way you see and treat women and girls?

My father has been a great example. He never treated my older or younger sister any differently from me. We all had to help at home, do our tasks, and we all could play with whatever we wanted.

He respected and treated my mom right, and was a modern father. He even stayed at home for a while when we were children. Now he is also very supportive and active with my son, his grandson. I’ve never thought about treating men and women differently. I suppose that’s because when I was young I didn’t see any difference in how parents treated my sisters and I.

3. Communities and activists worldwide are starting to recognise that violence against women is not a “women’s issue” but a human rights issue and that men play a role in stopping the violence. How do you think fathers and other male role models can help get young men and boys to take an interest in and step up to help prevent and stop violence against women?

Men can raise their voices when they see any act of violence, even micro-violence. They can publicly show their feelings. They can organise and attend fatherhood groups, where fathers can talk about fatherhood and be conscious of how it can affect their kids’ lives. They can support men’s roles as caregivers, and empower women as a way to shift the balance between genders.