Engaging Men in the Work of Domestic Violence

It’s 11:15 at night and as you start to drift to sleep, you’re finally getting the long day out of your head. You’re looking forward to a fun early morning, tomorrow is the Father-Daughter breakfast at your six-year old’s school.

Then your phone starts ringing.  Hoping it’s a scam call you can avoid, you glance over and see it’s your sister.  She never calls this late.  As you answer, you hear her cry out, “I just locked him outside and he’s banging on the door and screaming.  He threw me to the floor and then against the wall. I think my arm is broken!  Sara’s crying in her room and won’t come out. I’m so scared and I don’t know what to do!”

If you were a man facing this situation, would you know how to respond?  Most men answer no.  Not because they’re cold-hearted or don’t care. Too often we think of domestic violence as a “woman’s” issue, and neglect to include men in the conversation about intimate partner violence intervention and prevention.  And as a society, we still want to ignore the issue of domestic violence all together.  It’s upsetting, messy, heartbreaking and confusing.  So much more fun talk about if the Warriors are the greatest team of all-time, is LeBron better than Jordan, or the great steak at the new neighborhood restaurant. 

Partnership Against Domestic Violence knows that the only way we’ll make progress on our mission to end intimate partner violence is if everyone in our community, men and women together, lend their voice, hands, resources, and hearts to stop this vicious crime.  To help create this effective, village-wide intervention; and to provide men with help and resources for discussing and addressing domestic violence with those they love, PADV is sponsoring quarterly men’s domestic violence awareness breakfasts.  Please join us on Thursday, June 22nd, Embassy Suites, Perimeter, 8:00am, as we explore Faith and Religion’s Role in Addressing Domestic Violence.  RSVP to jeffrey.brown@padv.org.

As for responding to the phone call above?  Tell your sister to call the police and ambulance immediately, keep the doors locked until the police arrive, take a deep breath, stop crying, give Sara a hug, gather a bag with personal belongings and important papers for her daughter and herself, make sure she has the keys to the house and car, grab any money and credit cards she has and put them in her purse, be completely honest with the police about what happened, and that you’ll be waiting for her when she gets to the hospital to figure out next steps.