Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sir Patrick Stewart Calls on ‘One Million Men’ to Promise an End to Violence Against Women

In the U.S., Congress finally renewed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and President Obama signed the legislation that provides money for domestic violence shelters, financial support for non-profits that offer therapy services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other acts of violence, and other acts of violence, and extends to education efforts to end dating violence and stalking as well.

From Wikipedia:
One of the greatest successes of VAWA is its emphasis on a coordinated community response to domestic violence, sex dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking of women; courts, law enforcement, prosecutors, victim services, and the private bar currently work together in a coordinated effort that had not heretofore existed on the state and local levels. VAWA also supports the work of community-based organizations that are engaged in work to end domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking against women, particularly those groups that provide culturally and linguistically specific services. Additionally, VAWA provides specific support for work with tribes and tribal organizations to end domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking against Native American women.
Part of the opposition from the GOP to renewing this law was the new inclusion of same-sex couples in the list of protected groups, an increased ability for tribal courts to rule on cases involving non-tribal defendants, and provisions allowing battered illegal aliens to claim temporary visas.

Meanwhile, on Friday in New York . . .
"Sir Patrick Stewart stood in the center of the Diplomat Ballroom at the UN Hotel here on Friday, pounding his fist methodically against a podium, each thump punctuated with a number ("One ... two ... three ...") until he got to nine.

"Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States," Stewart said.
Stewart was serving as host for an event to launch "Ring The Bell," "a global campaign calling on one million men to make one million "concrete, actionable promises" to end violence against women."

Stewart grew up in a violent home, making him an ideal spokesperson for this event and for the new initiative to gather one million to stand against domestic violence.
"I became an expert on when to open the door and throw myself between my father's fist and my mother's body," Stewart said. 
He said his father "was unable to control his emotions—and his hands." 
"My mother did not do anything to provoke my father," Stewart added. "But even if she did, violence is not the answer."
Other speakers at the event included Dallas Mayor Michael Rawlings and former NFL quarterback and college football hall-of-famer Don McPherson.
Dallas Mayor Michael Rawlings, who in January launched an initiative to combat domestic violence in his city, suggested "dialing up the shame" for men who commit violent acts against women. 
"You can call a man who hits a woman a lot of things," Rawlings said, "but you can't call him a man." 
Don McPherson, a former NFL quarterback and college football hall-of-famer turned feminist, agreed. 
"We don't raise boys to be men," McPherson said. "We raise them not to be women, or gay men." 
McPherson compared the fight to end violence against women with the one to end racism.
"White people confronted white people to fight racism," he said. "Men need to confront men."
That last point is crucial is we are to ever reduce the incidence of violence - men need to stand up to other men who are abusers. Shame is not my idea of how to do so (sorry Mayor).

McPherson offers the real solution. We need raise our boys to be men of honor and integrity, men who do not resort to violence when they are angry or hurt, men who will not stand idle while other men are abusive. This starts with our kids, our parenting, our schools. 

It starts with us.

~ Thanks to Yahoo News' "The Lookout" for the details and quotes in this post.

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