As a psychologist, I predominantly help individuals heal and grow, and sprinkle their minds with insights and good maxims for healthy living. Giving the media an interview isn’t topmost on my agenda. But because of my expertise, I am occasionally tapped by media when breaking news stories unfold offering complex and dynamic human drama.
For those of us who watch the news, we know that most of it is bad news—people engaged in acts that create mayhem and suffering in the world. I’m often asked to explain the inexplicable, the oddities, make some sense to the question of why do people do that? When I DO give media interviews, my goal is to educate and possibly provide motivation for people to seek help. Just this past week, I was tapped twice to weigh in on current stories.
Women as Perpetrators and Victims
The recent stories, one carried by WOOD-TV8 and one by the Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com both involved women, one acting out upon younger boys and the others in prostitution. In each story, there are victims and perpetrators.
For WOOD-TV8, I helped provide insight into the case of a former Grand Rapids Public Schools teacher who pleaded no contest to four counts of criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to between eight and 15 years in prison. You can view my interview about Jamila Love Williams on WOODTV.com.
The Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com asked for my comments about men who use prostitutes and how the Internet has changed the dynamics of how men access women when pursuing pay-for-sex opportunities. You can read my comments about men and online pay-for-sex opportunities on MLive.com.
I am passionate about working on social problems that create such abuses of power and oppression. These problems are often systemic, built into our rigid ideas of gender roles. Here at the Men’s Resource Center of West Michigan, we work to help men grow into strong, caring, and compassionate men so that they can live in respectful community with women and other men in their diverse masculinities.
Interviews Provide Opportunity to Educate
Although I get interviewed often for an hour, the media end up taking a few sentences to buttress the points they wish to make on the breaking news. It is always a challenge to press them to not quote me out of context or to make sure to include three important points, rather than just one. Nonetheless, I look at these interviews as an opportunity to educate the general public on the psychology behind often perplexing—sometimes criminal—human behaviors. It is opportunity to illuminate and educate while contributing to the cultivation of a more informed public.
If you have questions or concerns about the issues I discussed with WOODTV-8, the Grand Rapids Press, and MLive.com, please don’t hesitate to comment below or contact me through the Men’s Resource Center of West Michigan. I would be happy to respond.