Be a Man, Never Raise Your Hand
Quiet as it's kept, a growing number of men have joined the battle against dating and domestic violence. Last month in Long Beach, California at the Insitute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community's annual meeting, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of black men in attendance. In fact the keynote speaker was Ruben "Hurricane" Carter, the ex-boxer who was wrongly imprisoned for twenty years. Carter talked about how sometimes men who feel wronged by the society at large will take their rage out on those he should be protecting: women and children.
Carter and thousands of other men recognize their important role in teaching boys and men about the impact domestic violence has on the African American community. Some of the men work in corrections where they counsel men imprisoned for violent acts against women. Other men focus on treatment in the substance abuse field, and teach about the connection between drugs and domestic violence while offering ways for men to get clean and sober. Many men who are dedicated to stopping domestic violence mentor youth groups, training adolescents, preteens,and teenagers about approriate ways to express anger, frustration and to assert their manhood. Ministers have answered the call as well and many church groups have developed domestic violence prevention programs. A substaintial number of guys working in domestic violence prevention are themselves former batterers and abusers.
For the past thirty years, treatment and prevention of intimate partner violence has almost exclusively focused on fixing the women. Women are constantly asked, why do you stay in an abusive relationship? The dynamics of intimate partner violence are complicated. Control and anger issues play themselves out in many harmful ways between two people who mostly likely witnessed slapping, punching, hair pulling, screaming and cursing between mom and dad while growing up.
Today, we understand that in order to stop this deadly cycle, men need to be involved in counseling, treating and holding other men to account.