Crowd takes a stand against domestic violence

About 100 people turned out at Columbus City Hall at noon Wednesday for the ninth annual “Men+ Friends Take a Stand” event.

Members of the sponsoring organization, Turning Point Domestic Violence Services, described it as a celebration of community members who lead by example by promoting and modeling healthy relationships.

With sunshine and mild early fall temperatures, turnout was almost twice what it was last year. The 2020 event was hampered by unseasonably warm temperatures and COVID-19 restrictions, Turning Point Prevention Team member Austin Lewis said.

The annual “Stand Up” award was awarded to Shawn Charlton, an educator at the Bartholomew County Youth Services Center.

“He talks to kids at their level, and works with students who may not have many role models in their lives,” Lewis said. “He always takes the time to address things that need to be talked about.”

If a student says something wrong, Charlton refuses to just brush it off and pretend it didn’t happen, according to Lewis. While the educator will challenge comments he doesn’t feel are right, Lewis said that Charlton is also willing to share power with others in spite of the teacher-student hierarchy.

“Mr. Charlton will take the time to talk about why the comment was wrong, and how we can phrase things better the next time,” Lewis said. “He really embodies the characteristics of modeling healthy behavior for young people.”

Turning Point’s Community Partner award was presented to IUPUC’s Feminism Club. The club does much of the college level prevention work for the domestic violence services organization, Lewis said.

Typically, the club sponsors a Clothesline Project where students hang T-shirts on a clothesline on campus, representing lives lost to domestic violence.

The club also is a local leader in the national “Take Back The Night” event in March. Considered the earliest worldwide effort to combat sexual violence, “Take Back the Night” is a march and speak-out designed to raise awareness, empowers individuals and inspires action that will bring an end to sexual violence, organizers said.