Men pledge to end violence against women.
By Jonathan Mayo
On March 5, independence House hosted their annual "White Ribbon Day" at Cape Cod Irish Village. Local residents and community leaders fought the snowy morning to gather at this event, which asks men to make the following pledge." From this day forward I promise to be part of the solution in ending violence against women."
Above we see Yarmouth Police Deputy Chief Xiarhos and Yarmouth Police Officer Melissa Alden. Xiarhos commented on the changes in domestic violence law, that in the old days, officers could not make an arrest unless they personally witnessed an assault, and that modern times have brought better enforcement and increased awareness. Ms. Alden, also an attorney has worked tirelessly on community issues such as these.
US Army Chaplain Don Florio led the group in prayer.
Below we see District Attorney Michael O'Keefe, whose office unfortunately deals with these issues every day. O'Keefe noted efforts on the part of his office to advocate for victims, prosecuting abusers and keeping victims notified when abusers' detention status changes. The DA noted that taking the time to recognize this issue does not detract from our other challenges, that we have "many balls in the air" in dealing with such interrelated social ills.
State Representative for the Second Barnstable District, Brian Mannal, told of how one simple symbol, a small white ribbon can inspire much larger conversations about how we deal with violence against women.
Tim Whelan, (below), State Representative for the first Barnstable District saw domestic violence close-up as a Massachusetts State Trooper. He told of his first case, pursuing an abuser who kicked his partner as she laid in bed. Having fled, Whalen managed to catch the abuser, who offered no resistance. This, Whalen said, was not surprising---characteristic of the cowardice that is an abuser's signature.
Below we see Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings, also a retired Trooper, whose agency helps steer abusers away from that vicious cycle.
Independence House's Executive Director, Lysetta Herge-Putnam, below, urges that we "reframe" the issue of domestic violence, that all too often we ask the wrong questions, like "Why did she dress that way?", "Why did she go that bar?" or "Why does she stay with him?" Instead we might ask, "What can we do to help?" Ms. Herge-Putnam shared the approach of activist Tony Porter, who asks men to step out of their "man box," to reexamine how we as men are conditioned to act and how we can challenge those assumptions.
Independence house has been a critical resource for women and girls in need. None should hesitate to seek help.
Above we see YPD Lt. Patrick Carty, self-defense instructor and leader of YPD's Domestic Violence Team. Carty has helped promote victim safety through self-defense courses and proactive/preventive visits to problem households. Beside him is Dennis Amato, also a self-defense instructor. Carty and Amato presented a check to Independence House for promotion of female self-defense training.
Below we see Brian Renard, LICSW and local community leader, who promoted the "ManKind" Project. This national effort aims towards "Building and supporting the emotionally mature, accountable, and compassionate male role models that our communities need." Local events in support of the "ManKInd" project are slated for coming months.
Barnstable High School has a interesting "MVP Program," to "train students to be active bystanders who promote healthy interpersonal relationships and prevent forms of oppression." MVP team members Kyle Anderson, Robert Welch and Jack Gilberti took the pledge. Below we see Anderson and Welch, who gave inspiring, eloquent speeches on the "learning curve" that accompanies these issues. It's a pleasant surprise seeing these young people drawing connections for which many adults wait years.
Most importantly, for the abused, don't hesitate to seek help. People care.