Men for HAWC
Domestic Violence - Free Zone
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Breaking Our Silence Video
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Affiliated with Men
and The Men's Initiative for Jane Doe
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are many ways for us men to end our silence about domestic abuse--
Gloucester just happens to do a wonderful 4th of July Parade, so
we started there.
For more than 40 years, the annual Horribles' Parade has been
a happy event for children and adults alike. Bands come from as
far away as Canada and Pennsylvania, great floats are created, and
lots of individuals and small groups get in costume and join in.
The Parade draws at least 25,000 spectators along its 2.5 mile course.
worked to find a way to balance our serious messages with celebrating
and having fun in the spirit of the Parade. We carry signs with messages
against abuse and we also carry large, friendly, waving papier-mache
hands mounted on 10' lengths of PVC pipe. We emphasize positive things
hands can be used for-- building, giving, uplifting, comforting, holding,
praying, - as well as what we shouldn't be doing with them.An
old dump truck carries signs including "Take the Violence Out
of Our Voices" and "Take the Violence Out of Our Words.
We play upbeat music, including a love aria by Pavoratti, the lead
song from The Big Night, and songs by Elvis Costello, Hootie and the
Blowfish, Richie Havens, and others.
first year we worried about whether people would respond to what we
were doing, but the minute we turned the first corner people started
cheering, applauding, crying, and shouting "Thank you".
Women were readier to respond in these ways than men, but there were
plenty of men who got it right away and gave us the thumbs up, and
their numbers have increased each year.
event was moving for everyone who walked. The hands, the truck, the signs
and 89 of us walking gave the whole community a chance to feel its longings
for there to be less violence between men and women. None of us anticipated
just how meaningful this would turn out to be. A noted photographer who
had planned to film the city from inside the Parade ended up so awed by
peoples positive, emotional responses that he didn't want to miss
a minute of it and never took a single picture.