Sterling Prize 2022: Recipient shrugs off controversy by keeping focus on victims

Content warning: domestic violence

Alexandra Lysova is the 2022 recipient of the Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy for her years of dedicated research on male victims of domestic violence –– a field that can sometimes be fraught with polarizing and politicized debate.

“In my work, I started to look at the violence against women and children, but I heard men’s voices as well. I’ve seen this in the statistics, that there are men who experience abuse, and I was surprised to see how much this topic was avoided and was not discussed,” Lysova says. “I think if we stop talking about the issue, it does not go away. It stays with us. What’s the point of playing politics around this if it doesn’t help us prevent abuse?”

Lysova, an associate professor in the School of Criminology, says her work is focused on finding ways to prevent all forms of intimate partner violence, including violence against women, and the recognition that comes with the Sterling Prize helps steel her resolve.  

The Sterling Prize was first awarded in 1993 and remains committed to recognizing work that provokes and contributes to the understanding of controversy, while presenting new ways of looking at the world and challenging complacency.

Lysova received the Sterling Prize and addressed these issues in conversation with Dr. Benjamin Roebuck (Professor of Victimology and Public Safety at Algonquin College), Douglas Todd (Columnist, Vancouver Sun) and Michael Healey (National Program Manager, Nexus Recovery Programs) on Wednesday, October 19. The award ceremony was held at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver and was livestreamed for the public.

Speakers

Dr. Alexandra Lysova

Alexandra Lysova, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. She earned a Doctor of Sciences degree in sociology at the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2009, where she examined dating violence in Russia. In 2015, she obtained her PhD in Criminology from the University of Toronto (funded by the Trudeau and Connaught Foundations), where she examined women’s experiences with violence. Recently, Dr. Lysova has focused on men’s experiences of intimate partner violence, including victimization, help-seeking behaviour, and issues involving children. She draws on the results of the international focus groups among male victims in four English-speaking countries, Canadian General Social Survey on Victimization, and Homicide Survey. Dr. Lysova’s research has been supported by the prestigious foundations, including Trudeau, Fulbright, Carnegie, and Humboldt foundations, and U.S. Library of Congress and Max Planck Institute.

Dr. Benjamin Roebuck 

Respondent

Dr. Benjamin Roebuck is a Research Chair with the Victimology Research Centre and a Professor of Victimology and Public Safety at Algonquin College. Dr. Roebuck's research focuses on violence, resilience, and posttraumatic change, with some recent work on the experiences of male survivors of partner violence. Ben currently serves as a member of the External Advisory Committee for the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC) with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), and has served as an appointed advisor with the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime (OFOVC) and the Board of Directors for Crime Prevention Ottawa (CPO). 

Douglas Todd

Respondent

Douglas Todd, a highly decorated journalist and author based in Vancouver, specializes in migration, ethics, spirituality and psychology. His ongoing focus on diversity includes delving into issues involving both women and men. 

Writing mostly for The Vancouver Sun, Postmedia News and Reader’s Digest, he has won a book prize and 32 national and international journalism awards, while being shortlisted for 38 additional honours. Vancouver Magazine referred to him as "arguably Vancouver's most thoughtful journalist."

Todd is the author or editor of three successful books, the most recent being Cascadia: The Elusive Utopia – Exploring the Spirit of the Pacific Northwest. He has been awarded with several educational scholarships, including the eight-month Jack Shadbolt Fellowship in the Humanities at Simon Fraser University.

Michael Healey

Respondent

Michael Healey is the National Program Manager at the Canadian Centre for Men and Families Nexus Recovery Program.

Michael has lived experience with multiple long-term intimate heterosexual relationships that were abusive. While the relationships were abusive, and traumatizing, Michael didn't recognize they were abusive, nor the mental, emotional and physical toll of those situations.

While seeking support, Michael found there was very little available for men in his situation –– in fact, there was very little recognition that men can be the target of abuse in intimate relationships. Upon getting support, and beginning a process of recovering from trauma, Michael helped launch the Nexus Recovery Program. Nexus is a peer-led program, for anyone who identifies as male and has experienced abuse in a relationship, specifically designed to provide a framework for the group members to self-guide through the phases of recovery.

Resources

If you've experienced violence, here are some places to go for help: