| Mar 26, 2013
Paige Flink and Jan Langbein: Dallas men, your next job in stopping domestic violence
25 March 2013
The Dallas Morning News
To the men of Dallas:
It was an amazing sight to see thousands of you braving the weather, standing in front of Dallas City Hall to take a pledge to stop domestic abuse in our city. There were men from all walks of life, teachers, preachers, coaches, celebrities, politicians and students — fathers and sons, fathers and daughters.
For more than 30 years, family-violence service providers have worked to see this day come, and we say thank you. Thank you for making Dallas a model for the nation, a place where men say enough is enough — domestic violence is not acceptable, period.
But what comes next? How do we maintain this momentum? How do we make this a beginning of a new movement? What will you do individually and collectively to make sure that this wasn’t a one-time show of support?
Mayor Mike Rawlings asked the men at the rally to pledge to never hurt a woman. Even if you weren’t at the event, you can join them by making these personal commitments:
I will never physically harm or emotionally abuse women.
I will speak out and step in when I see a man abusing a woman.
I will hold abusive men accountable for their actions and encourage them to seek counseling.
I will teach my daughters, nieces and granddaughters that they never have to accept violence in a relationship.
I will teach my sons, nephews and grandsons that violence is an unacceptable way to express anger.
I will never blame the victim for “bringing it on herself.”
You can also make an impact by holding our elected officials accountable. Make sure your representatives in Austin and Washington pass laws and provide funding to help curb violence in the home.
Talk about domestic violence at work. It will help make your company more productive if the women you work with aren’t afraid in their homes. Make work a safe place for them to share their fears.
Encourage your faith leaders to think safety first when someone in the congregation comes to them for advice.
Get involved as a volunteer and financial supporter of agencies working to stop family violence. Go to genesisshelter.org and learn about how your co-workers, church members and other groups can participate in special events that allow Genesis Women’s Shelter to provide lifesaving services to women and children at no cost.
Keep the momentum going by coming to the Family Place Training Camp. This free, four-part educational series will help men understand how to recognize the warning signs of abusive relationships, gain tools to train young men to avoid abusive behaviors, learn how to become a mentor and leader in holding men accountable, and find ways to have positive relationships in their family lives. To sign up for the first camp, April 18, go to familyplace.org.
Many of us have deep-rooted beliefs that domestic violence is someone else’s problem, that it’s a family matter and somehow not our business. National statistics show that one in four women will be a victim of physical assault in her lifetime.
That means somewhere, a woman you know has experienced the unspeakable — hurt and harm at the hands of someone who is supposed to love her. It matters to her if you speak up and tell her that you care, that you don’t want her to suffer alone and that she doesn’t deserve to be abused.
We know that violence against women will decrease when men are involved in the solution. The outcome of men’s involvement in the solutions will be powerful. Working together, we can reduce the number of domestic violence murders in our city. We can all agree on that goal.
The men of Dallas can do this. You can make Dallas a place where the culture changes, a place where women can feel safe that a bystander will be there for her to step up and say, “No more!”
Paige Flink is executive director of the Family Place and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jan Langbein is executive director of the Genesis Women’s Shelter and may be contacted at email@example.com.
Read more at Dallasnews.com.