When he proclaimed October to be National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, President Obama said, “Ending domestic violence requires a collaborative effort involving every part of our society.” He couldn’t be more right.
I remember a time when domestic violence wasn’t discussed much in public, and when it was perfectly acceptable to joke about it. In those days, if there was a serious public conversation about abuse, only women were inclined to join it.
Today, I am so proud that men work alongside us, in every facet of our work. This October, the men who run sports teams, businesses, media outlets, foundations and community centers are just as likely as the women who run them to be taking part in National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The inclusion of men is also evidence of our steadfast focus on prevention. To end abuse we must teach the next generation that violence is always wrong. Boys listen to their role models, so we all need to encourage men to teach boys to reject violence against girls and women in all its forms. There are tools to do that here. Today, any man who wants to help stop domestic violence is welcomed and supported.
October is an important month for those of us who work to end domestic and sexual violence. People are paying attention to the issue. At a time when four women are murdered each day in this country by current or former husbands or boyfriends, when rape and sexual assault plague college campuses, when teen girls think his jealous rage is a form of love, when adolescents think violence is a normal part of dating, we have a lot of work still to do.
We are so proud to be able to do that work with an Administration that is truly committed to stopping domestic violence ¬ and to know that, as we go forward, we will have millions of men with an unwavering dedication to this cause at our side.
For information and resources about domestic and sexual violence, please visit www.womenshealth.gov/violence. For more information about the Violence Against Women Act, please visit www.usdoj.gov/ovw.
Esta Soler is the President of the Family Violence Prevention Fund