October 03, 2005
Men's Walk To End Abuse
This past Saturday I finished a three-day walk to start off Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is the Men's Resource Center for Change's third annual Men's Walk to End Abuse. The walk moves through the communities of Western Massachusetts that the organization, and most importantly, their batterer intervention program works in. The goals of the walk are two-fold: 1) To raise money for the batterer program and to raise money for the five women's centers in the three counties we marched through. 2) To be a visible presence of men walking through the community showing that not all men are hyper-masculine aggressors. As well, and most important to me, we were a visible presence of men who do not stand idly by as other men either take part in violence against women, openly put women down, or even just laugh at a really demeaning sexist joke. My personal belief is that every time one of those acts takes place in the presenece of other men and no one says anything (though I believe that most men would like to) they have all just condoned that act.
What I enjoyed most about the walk this year was the amount of attention we received. Most of the area TV news and newspapers covered the event. We also had numerous people honking or waving at us. Even a few stopped to thank us personally. There were only a handful of "thumbs-down" or worse gestures (the "pro-domestic violence contingent" I guess).
I often think of the work of ending domestic violence, violence against women, and violence in general as my lobbying senators or writing large grants to fund comprehensive programs that work with perpetrators. Those are all important. But I often forget the power of being out in the community and talking to or being seen by individuals who may or may not be in need of our services. This is also a key aspect of the formidable job of changing a culture.
Local newspaper coverage of the walk - via Masslive.com - Men's Resource Center Holding Benefit Walk
Posted by Russell at October 3, 2005 07:05 AM