It’s no secret that we live in a patriarchal society in which the feminine figure is suppressed by the masculine figure. Although men inherently obtain a certain privilege over women due to this social norm, we find that when men divert from it or present aspects that do not align with the assigned “patriarchal male” mentality, they are demeaned for it.
Our patriarchal society has categorized certain issues as “female issues.” These include, but are not limited to: sexual abuse, mental disorders, self-image, eating disorders, and domestic violence. Men often find themselves unable to properly manage these troubles if they fall victim to them, due to being raised in a culture which makes them believe they are not supposed to be affected by these adversities.
It is for this reason that in 2015, Saúl Rodríguez, a Kinesiology Masters student from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, started reading books regarding male mental health. “I started with therapy books,” Rodríguez stated. “Mostly about self-help, self-care, and assertiveness, nothing major. But, it did open my interest in further delving into the study of male mental health.”
Rodríguez formed a small group of male colleagues and held a few meetings, where they discussed the topics presented in the books and their own personal experiences. Additionally, he joined Siempre Vivas, a campus initiative that seeks to aid women in the developing of a safe life. One of the books Rodríguez studied, Masculino que ninguno, was made by a group for the rehabilitation of aggressors and is sold by Siempre Vivas.
The Siempre Vivas office, located behind the Sánchez Hidalgo building on campus.
In 2017, he established Grupo de Apoyo de Hombres del RUM, a support group aimed to support Colegio men. Having met a few times already, Rodríguez cites problems with significant others as the most commonly expressed amongst participants. “I think that’s the main issue due to the lack of emotional education amongst men.” He commented. “It leads to poor interpersonal and communication skills.”
Grupo de Apoyo de Hombres del RUM is planning on holding weekly meetings, open to any male student or community member looking for a place to find support. If you are interested in reaching out to the group, you can contact them through their Facebook page.