The article was written by Mark McDaniel, a long-time supporter of Denton County Friends of the Family and owner of Catering by Chef Mark.
I just finished a weekend volunteering for Denton County Friends of the Family, and I have to say, I’m alarmed.
I’m alarmed by the number of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault there are in our community, but I’m in awe of their strength.
I’m alarmed at the frequency with which intimate partner violence occurs, but I’m in awe of the community of women who rally behind this cause.
Above all, I’m disturbed by the numbers.
Where is the outrage?
Statistically, 1 in 4 women will become a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime, and 2 in 5 Texas women have been victims of sexual assault. To make matters worse, 19% of all domestic violence involves a weapon, and if there’s a gun in the house when domestic assault happens, the chance of homicide goes up by 500%.
For crimes this prevalent, there should be outrage. But, there’s no national moment of silence for victims of intimate partner violence —no flags have flown at half-mast. Most people probably can’t tell you what the Domestic Violence Awareness ribbon color is (it’s purple, by the way). On the contrary, men in our society are more concerned with not severely impacting the lives of other young men (see, Brock Turner), or whether their favorite artist will put out another album (see, R. Kelly), or if they’ll still be able to serve in the highest offices of our nation (take your pick). We’re more concerned with the reputation of men than the livelihood of the people they’re abusing, and enough is enough.
The numbers don’t lie
Every minute, 20 more people are physically abused by an intimate partner, equating to roughly 10 million women and men each year. So, to the men reading this: what are you doing to help do your part to end domestic violence? How are you creating awareness in your community, neighborhood, and even in your home? Because as sad as it is, we still live in a man’s world. We’ve never had a female president, and out of every Fortune 500 company, only 24 CEOs are women. We need to show the women in our lives that we care about them, regardless of their connection to us.
We need you to get involved
Fortunately, Denton County Friends of the Family makes it easy for everyday citizens to do the work. For men, specifically, there are several ways to get involved that leave a tremendous ripple effect in the lives of Clients the organization serves. Check out a few examples below:
- Volunteer at the shelter: When children see men treating women properly, or interacting with them in a non-threatening way, you’re helping them to understand non-violent behavior.
- Be an ally: Avoid locker room talk and actively take a stand against men casually making jokes about marginalized groups of people; whether that’s in the office, at the bar, or in your home. If you see something, say something and don’t sweep it under the rug.
- Advocate for education at work: The Prevention, Education, and Awareness Program (PEAP) is designed to provide training on the issues for our broader community. If you’ve noticed that you’re workplace doesn’t have training on domestic violence, sexual harassment, or abuse propose that our PEAP team come out and facilitate training. You might be saving someone’s life in the process.
I admit that my eyes have opened in recent months, given my connection to Friends of the Family. But my ask of the men in this community is to stand up, ask questions, and do your part to affect change. Men, it’s time to start recognizing and standing with survivors, rather than ignoring a deadly issue for women. It’s time to start teaching our children and grandchildren what healthy relationships look like, and holding those accountable who don’t model this themselves. It’s time for men to step up and speak out against domestic violence, harassment, and sexual assault.
So to the men reading this, are you ready to take a stand?