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It’s time men take a stand against domestic violence

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Don Houchins
Executive Director, NCH Women’s and Children’s Services

Woman being threatened by a man at home

Hear that? It’s the sound of no one speaking up about domestic violence.

For years, women have borne the heavy lifting when it comes to spreading the message about domestic violence. And, now it’s time for men to step up and speak out.

As a board member of WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger), the executive director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Northwest Community Healthcare, and as the dad of a daughter and three boys all of dating age – I can no longer be silent on a topic that affects one in three women in our society.

From my perspective, if we men could commit to three simple behaviors, we might actually start turning the tide against domestic violence and verbal abuse.

Be a role model.

Being a father, an uncle, a coach – it’s a big responsibility. We have tremendous influence. Kids listen. Kids model what they see at home. Let’s teach our sons how to treat women with respect. Let’s raise strong, fair-minded children who look at everyone equally.

Monitor your behavior.

No matter what we’ve experienced or what terrible thing has happened, violent behavior is never justified. And, whether we’re in a bar or a locker room, we have to stop laughing at off-color jokes or condoning sexist behavior. When a guy says, “I oughta knock some sense into her,” and we don’t react, it sends a message that it’s OK. It’s not.

Respect others.

Treat everyone with respect regardless of gender, race or religion. In my years in healthcare I’ve seen my share of patients with eyes swollen shut and knuckle marks on their face. It makes me embarrassed for the gender that does this. I believe we are called upon to help those who are weak and vulnerable. And no one is more vulnerable than a woman or a child who is abused or neglected. What could be more painful than being hit by someone you love?

I’m not suggesting any of this is easy. Doing the right thing seldom is. However, it’s the responsibility of every man who reads this to stand up and say this kind of behavior has to stop.

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