It is amazing what can be accomplished over eggs, grits and sausage biscuits, especially when working to engage men on a topic that has been viewed as a “women’s issue”. On September 27, Safe Harbor, along with The Julie Valentine Center, Upstate Fatherhood Coalition, Compass of Carolina and the Year of Altruism, co-hosted a community breakfast that opened an important dialogue in our community – how to engage and equip men in efforts to end domestic violence, sexual violence and other forms of violence against women. With breaking new statistics from the Violence Policy Center revealing that South Carolina is now ranked as the #1 state in the nation for number of women killed by men, this event could not have come at a more crucial time.
The “A Call To Men” community breakfast featured opening words from WYFF Anchor, Michael Cogdill, followed by a keynote address from A CALL TO MEN co-founder, Mr. Ted Bunch. A CALL TO MEN is a leading national violence prevention organization providing training and education for men, boys and communities (www.acalltomen.org). During his remarks, Mr. Bunch emphasized several key points on how men can prevent violence against women in their daily interactions with friends, neighbors, colleagues, children and youth.
Ten Things Men Can Do to Prevent and End Violence Against Women:
1. Lead by Example. Be a role model for other men and boys in your community. Teach your children to be respectful and never abusive toward others. Serve as a good father and equal partner in your family.
2. Speak out against gender discrimination and violence – and explain why it is offensive to you.
3. Challenge other men when they say or do disrespectful things toward women and girls or make comments that tease or harass men and boys for not being “manly” enough. Let people know that you find these comments offensive and limiting.
4. Talk with men and boys in your life about healthy manhood and the importance of respecting women and girls.
5. Remember that silence is affirming. When we choose not to speak out against domestic and sexual violence, we are supporting it.
6. Educate and re-educate your sons, daughters and other young people that you influence about respectful behaviors and healthy relationships.
7. Express your broad range of emotions – including fear, sadness and hurt – and support other men and boys in expressing their emotions in a safe way.
8. Give equal affection to your sons and your daughters. Demonstrate to them that healthy manhood involves hugging, holding hands, and kindness.
9. Re-learn your history: Find out about powerful women who have shaped our society and teach your children and other youth about their contributions.
10. Learn more about the issue of violence against women and how men can be allies in the movement to stop it. Here are a few online resources that can help:
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: http://www.ncadv.org/
National Network to End Domestic Violence: http://www.nnedv.org/
A Call to Men: http://www.acalltomen.org/
Men Stopping Violence: http://www.menstoppingviolence.org/
Mens Work: http://mensworkinc.com/
Futures Without Violence: http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/
Men’s Nonviolence Project: http://www.mensnonviolence.org/
“The truth is that violence against women touches many of us. This violence is not a private matter. Behind closed doors, it is shielded and hidden, and it only intensifies. It is protected by silence – everyone’s silence. Each of us must examine and change the ways in which our own behavior might contribute to, enable, ignore or excuse all such forms of violence. I promise to do so, and I invite other men and allies to do the same.” – Sir Patrick Stewart