R.I.P. Earl Silverman

Last month, I wrote about Earl Silverman closing down his shelter for abused men. The Men’s Alternative Safe House (MASH) was reportedly the only private men’s shelter in Canada. Earl paid for everything out of his own pocket, but could no longer shoulder the costs. He eventually sold the home. The day after he finished packing everything up, Earl hanged himself in the garage. According to the article, Earl was a victim of abuse at the hands of his ex-wife, and found it difficult to get help:

“When I went into the community looking for some support services, I couldn’t find any. There were a lot for women, and the only programs for men were for anger management,” Mr. Silverman told the Post shortly before his death. “As a victim, I was re-victimized by having these services telling me that I wasn’t a victim, but I was a perpetrator.”

The article also states that Earl left a suicide note, but does not state whether it was released to the public. In the note, Earl reportedly blames the Canadian government for failing to recognize male survivors of domestic violence.

This is a horrible thing. I take suicide very seriously because I have been personally touched by it. I can understand Earl’s frustration at the Canadian government as it has a terrible record on acknowledging and supporting male survivors. Yet as much as I understand that, I do not think it was worth taking his life over.

Funding can be raised, issues can be talked about, and male survivors can be recognized without having to take your life. Granted, I do not know what else was going on in Earl’s life. Perhaps he had other issues that prompted his decision. I do wish he had reached out to someone. While I know that would be difficult given Canada’s apparent disinterest in helping men, I would hope that he knew someone he could have talked to.

The response to Earl’s suicide has been interesting. Most of the well-known men’s rights sites covered his death. Someone set up a fund to raise money for the Earl Silverman Center. At last viewing, there some issues with Paypal accepting donations, however, they have already reached half their goal of $10,000. I encourage readers to donate if you can.

The media seems to have done a fair job of the coverage. Even the blissfully progressive Huffington Post featured a balanced article about Earl, including acknowledging the men, when asked, report as much domestic violence as women. The Good Men Project shockingly featured a column by Glen Poole, although it currently has a whopping two comments.

To my knowledge, no feminists other than Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams has commented on Earl’s suicide. Her article was less about reporting Earl’s suicide or acknowledging his work so much as it was about dismissing the notion that men can and do experience as much domestic violence as women. Williams showed no compassion or respect for Earl at all. It would have been better if she did like other feminists seem to have done and pretended nothing happened.

It is terrible that Earl took his own life. I cannot express that powerfully enough in writing. This is never an option. No matter how bad your life feels, taking your life does not solve much of anything. Yes, Earl’s suicide brought more attention to domestic violence against males, and in the short-term that may be a good thing. But it would have been better in the long-run to have an advocate like Earl here with us to actively speak out about these issues.

His voice cannot be replaced.

However, I hope he finds some peace now.

9 thoughts on “R.I.P. Earl Silverman

  1. This is very sad. Just saw his recent interview, GirlWritesWhat was helping to raise money for his shelter. I was hoping things were panning out. The Salon article was despicable. Heartless feminists. I wonder if they actually listen to themselves sometimes.

  2. I’m very sorry to hear this.
    This, you see, was a GOOD man.
    He harmed no one, he didn’t ‘whine’ without at least doing as much as he could to help other men receive help that he, personally, was denied.

    The silence on this from the Movement That Claims It Already Deals With Men’s Issues is disgusting, but par for the course.

  3. One thing that in particular stood out in the Mary Elizabeth William’s piece was the term “a self-described long-term survivor”. We all know what would happen if someone described the Steubenville rape victim as a “self-described rape survivor”.

    Others have dismantled the statistics Williams is citing, but I just note that saying “most men are perpetrators” does absolutely nothing to help the victims of female perpetrators regardless of how true that statement is.

    Here’s to hoping that his death will spur some changes and that male victims finally will get some support and services from the state in Canada.

  4. As bad as things were for him, Earl is certainly in a world of shit now.


    Got that?

    We’ve lost too many good men to this fight to lose any more to their own hands.You’re married to this cause, this movement of justice and strength,and you WILL be faithful. We’re all depending on each and every one of you. You MUST soldier through now,if you want any man to EVER be able to rest peacefully, in death or in life.

    If you’re too tired and heartbroken to go on right now, reach out to your brothers and we’ll do what we can for you, but NO MORE senseless loss of life from now on.

    Oh, and you better believe this saint of a man will be avenged.

    Feminists, if you thought we were angry before, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

  5. The comments in the Salon article are strange, Aunt Messy’s dismissive replies to a proper argument were odd….Why not actually address the comment and reply about why it is wrong then simply say it is wrong and not give reason why? There is a pretty clear clinging on to keeping the female = bigger victim mentality there and downright dismissiveness of men’s victimization, the strawman’s basically trying to equate male victimization as minor slaps and female victimization as “body bags”, broken jaws n what not are pathetic.

  6. Not to be insensitive but, the next time anyone blurts out “If you want shelters, lobby for funding, advocate, do the work” I’m going to show this example of a man who literally DIED doing it on his own, with only a measly $1000 in government funding (which is an even bigger slap in the face if you think about it) and hardly any compassion or support from the very people who claim that male victims need help too.

    Then maybe that will get them to think twice.

    Sorry but even in the wake of this man’s death, there are still those in the comments section that keep throwing this at anyone who speaks up about the lack of male shelters.

  7. Eagle, I doubt they would even give Earl credit for that. Notice how most feminists who normally talk about this sort of thing have been silent?

  8. archy,
    messy is a nasty woman.
    she sees herself as some sort of ‘tuff love’ mama, when it is really just cover for her delights in kicking people when they are down.

    (i regularly read salon. she also comments on either the atlantic or slate website)

  9. What especially angered me about the Salon article was that I found it when I decided to google “Earl Silverman suicide” just to see how much coverage the incident got, and it was the first result to turn up.

    I am an advocate of suicide when it comes to terminally ill people (my own grandfather took his life when he wasn’t living to his ideal). Earl said he was battling this for 20 years. He not only saw no support, but he saw the supports that he put in place and tried to get implemented for those in the same situation he’d already faced falling apart. I feel Earl saw himself and MASH to be one and the same. He saw no hope of a positive future or things turning around. My concern is that he took his life as an act of martyrdom to try and raise awareness to the cause.

    Earl’s voice and efforts were much louder to me than his death. If it was his intent, I hope that his suicide acts as a spotlight to highlight how tragic the situation can be for men as well as women.

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