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Seventy men stood on the steps of Columbus City Hall last October to publicly take a stand against domestic violence. Event organizers hope to at least double that number this year.
The Domestic Violence Action Team is partnering with Turning Point Domestic Violence Services for the second annual “Men Take a Stand,” 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. today in front of Columbus City Hall.
“It’s important for our citizens in Columbus to know that there are responsible men who will take a stand against violence and will report it,” said Columbus Police Department Lt. Mike Ward, who also is a member of the Domestic Violence Action Team.
Men Take a Stand marks the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month with activities to highlight the need for community support for victims and agencies that provide services and support.
If you go
WHAT: Second annual “Men Take a Stand” event with men encouraged to attend and publicly support work to decrease domestic violence in the community. Event also will include short talks by male community leaders a high school student.
WHEN: 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. today in front of Columbus City Hall, 123 Washington St.
ORGANIZER: Domestic Violence Action Team, a Reach Healthy Communities initiative, in partnership with Turning Point Domestic Violence Services.
TURNING POINT: Serves Bartholomew and seven other counties, providing emergency shelter, education, prevention services, victim and community outreach, legal advocacy program, sexual assault services and children’s programs.
CRISIS HELP: Victims of domestic violence can call 379-9844 or 800-221-6311.
Ward said today’s noontime event offers a chance for men to take a short break from their day to send a message that violence will not be tolerated.
“We try to emphasize to not turn a blind eye if something is going on,” Ward said. “Early intervention can help. We can put them in contact with Turning Point.”
Ward said he understands the thought of police intervention or seeking outside
assistance can be frightening for victims, but the alternative can be even worse.
“It is highly emotionally charged, but we come in as a calming agent and try to connect people with services,” Ward said. “It’s our duty to protect people from any physical or emotional harm.”
Kelly Benjamin, also a member of the Domestic Violence Action Team, said Men Take a Stand also recognizes that violence is not just about women, and it crosses all socioeconomic lines.
“It’s really a public health issue that can affect family, friends and co-workers,” Benjamin said.
“We need to understand and acknowledge the problem.”
She said today’s event can show that the community cares and does not accept violence. Benjamin added that women who attend can show their support for the men who are willing to take a stand.
Lisa Shafran, president of Turning Point, said events such as today’s program can help break the cycle of violence.
“This is a huge opportunity to raise awareness and show what resources are out there to help,” Shafran said.
“Engaging men is an important part of the process, and we have many strong men in our community who are willing stand up and show their support.”
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