Chemainus – I was fortunate on Nov. 26 to have attended a powerful workshop on domestic violence facilitated by Cowichan Women Against Violence at the Duncan United Church. The workshop kicked off the 16 days of activism, and the purple lights campaign to help end domestic abuse.
I had originally only intended to stop by for a short time, but was compelled to remain for not only the entire four hours, but to stay later to speak to the organizers to ask what I could do to help. One of the key messages that resonated with me was a video presentation of a TED talk given by Jackson Katz, PhD, on the bystander phenomena. Dr. Katz has worked with the BC Lions on the media campaign over the past couple of seasons raising awareness of domestic and gender based violence. He also very pointedly and articulately explains that violence against women and children is not a "women’s issue". Violence against women and children is a man’s issue. And it is a responsibility of men in the community to learn how they have an obligation to stand up, be leaders, and to recognize and speak up about the issue of domestic violence that still plagues this, and other communities.
To paraphrase Martin Luther King – It is not the words of our enemies that hurt, but the silence of our friends.
And so I, as a father to a daughter, and a brother to sisters, am compelled to speak up, and to act.
A group of men also stood up at the meeting and offered to help to facilitate a grass roots, peer support group for men (young and old), who would like to learn about the issues, and to find out what they can do to help.
I can be reached at 250-701-8378 by anyone who would like to help, to meet, to bring some very important issues to light. I encourage all men and women to search Jackson Katz, and to watch his TED presentation video on domestic violence.