Men for HAWC
Domestic Violence - Free Zone
Frequently Asked Questions
Breaking Our Silence Video
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Bumperstickers, T-shirts & More
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THIS APPROACH WORKING?
to this question is a definite yes. Remember that GMADAs first goal
is ending mens silence about our violence against women. It is a
necessary first step toward preventing abuse. Many people want to know
if abuse rates are decliningsomething that cant really be
answered for now. There are indications that more men are seeking help,
and now there is widespread support for developing more resources for
prevention and recovery. But as HAWC anticipated, between our efforts,
the work of the Coalition for the Prevention of Domestic abuse, and the
declaration of Gloucester as Domestic Violence-Free Zone, reporting of
abuse has gone up significantly in the past couple of years, which HAWC
treats as a positive development. HAWCs data suggests it is a sign
that more women are feeling supported to change their situations, not
a sign that abuse is increasing.
This is what we see so far:
The silence is broken.
Men are speaking out. In our fourth year our messages, with the 550 mens
names connected to them, have really become part of the community. Our
YMCA workout room, gym and pool is a very active community center. The
director of the Y asked if he could run a loop of the BREAKING OUR SILENCE
video for a week straight in the lobby. When the schools ran a Health
Fair for high school students the organizers called to ask us to set up
a mens table and to bring the big hands from the Parade with us.
When the Man-to-Man column (see Press Coverage) appeared in the paper,
the Mayor and City Personnel Director made hundreds of photocopies and
put it in with the paychecks for all city employees, along with a note
from the Mayor. This year the Mayor asked if he could join us for the
Parade and he did.
More and more men (and women) have been putting
the bumper stickers on their cars and trucks. Business people usually
say I cant take a stand on anything because I will lose some
of my customers. This is a huge part of the silence that needs breaking.
We are seeing the bumperstickers on more and more commercial vehicles
including Virgilios famous Italian bakery, Earl Unis & Sons
Plumbing and numerous other business vans and trucks. When you go into
Two Sisters Restaurant for breakfast or lunch, a favorite spot for lots
of men, or when you walk into Bens Wallpaper & Paint, where
dozens of painters and tradesmen shop everyday, the STRONG MEN DONT
BULLY bumpersticker is right there to greet you. The fact that all these
things are happening because of individual decisions, without anyone asking,
tells us we have really hit paydirt!
HAWC is accompanied. HAWC, the local
battered womens agency, is definitely feeling supported and accompanied
in an important way. Agency morale is lifted by this development. At a
practical level, men help plan events, fundraise, move office furniture
or furniture for survivors, etc. Obviously, women can do all of these
things themselves, but they are doing so much already that our help has
been welcome. Women in sister agencies may contact Nicole Richon Schoel,
Director of Community Outreach and Director of the Gloucester office of
HAWC. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Survivors feel supported. We have
heard through HAWC that women survivors have strong, positive reactions
when seeing cars and trucks with bumper stickers saying Another
Man Against Violence Against Women or Strong Men Dont
Bully. Also, others have noted that they feel less general fear
around men (on the sidewalk, on line at the post office or at the supermarket,
More appetite for change. Therapists
have reported a few more men coming to get help. Also, men already working
on these issues in therapy, often feeling isolated, have felt encouraged
by the broader male community making this work a priority.
Affirmation for men in recovery. GMADA
has had an impact for those of us in recovery from alcohol or drug addictions,
and/or being abusive. Taking these positive actions helps us claim our
journeys and the good choices we have been making day after day, and year
after year in many cases. Many of us are living proof that these changes
can happen for other men.
Men feel relieved, stronger. Many
men who have signed onto our messages, or who carry the bumper stickers
on their cars or trucks, feel relief about being able to speak up.
We are more aware of what abuse is in our own
lives. Because GMADA speaks to all forms of domestic abusenot
just physical violence--many more of us are implicated as part of the
problem. Men who support GMADA have noticed habits and behaviors of their
own that need work. Having the STRONG MEN DONT BULLY sticker on
the refrigerator door or filing cabinet at work has clearly helped some
of us be more conscious of what we are thinking and doing.
Men are saying what boys need to hear.
In the schools, staff feel greatly supported in their work against bullying
and dating abuse. Already, almost 100 young men in high school, including
many of the stars of a great football team, have joined in supporting
GMADAs messages. The fact that these young men can break through
this male silence at their early ages seems especially significant to