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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, June 14, 2013
TEN MEN is the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence's first-of-its-kind, statewide project designed to assist in the prevention of domestic violence in RI and engage male allies in the movement to end it.
[Providence, R.I.] "TEN MEN" was established by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) to engage male allies in the prevention of domestic violence and to begin conversations with men about ending it. TEN MEN is made up of Rhode Island men from diverse walks of life that have a common vision — a world without domestic violence. Most men are not violent in their relationships. But, one man is one man too many.
TEN MEN aim to reach everyday men who are not sure how to help, and therefore remain silent in the face of other men's violence. The group is the first statewide effort made up of pioneering, male leaders who have stepped forward and are committed to breaking that silence. And, it's working; men respond better to other men, which can have a significant impact in the prevention of domestic violence.
Members of TEN MEN were selected by the RICADV and by members of the Rhode Island community because they have a passion for social change and have demonstrated a commitment in their personal or professional lives to ending domestic violence.
"TEN MEN aims to use new media to educate the community on the importance of male engagement in the movement to end domestic violence — by talking directly to other men about domestic violence and healthy relationships and encouraging them to talk to the men and boys in their lives. That's what this year's public awareness campaign is all about," says Lucy Rios, Director of Prevention and Education for the RICADV.
Their television and radio public service announcements (PSAs) started airing this week and encourage other Rhode Island men to start conversations with men and to lead by example. One solution to ending domestic violence can start that simply. The PSAs will air throughout June.
"While public awareness campaigns over the years have helped shift community attitudes about domestic violence not being a private matter, but rather a public health epidemic, many members of the community are still uncertain about how to help. This year's Father's Day Campaign provides men with concrete ways for men to get involved and includes examples of what they can say to start the conversation," says Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the RICADV.
Essentially, the campaign invites men to talk to the young men in their lives and in their communities, and moreover, challenges men to talk to their peers and the men in their social circles about domestic violence.
Fathers are encouraged to talk with their sons and to teach them to respect women, and, more importantly, to model this behavior. Teachers and youth workers are encouraged to engage youth in discussions about equitable and healthy relationships — empowering young people to define their own boundaries when they are ready to start dating.
Coaches are encouraged to challenge themselves and their athletes to shun language that devalues women such as, "you're playing like a girl." These phrases reinforce beliefs and attitudes that women are of less value than men, and contribute to unhealthy gender norms, and ultimately, domestic violence.
"Talk to your colleagues and tell them that jokes insulting women are not funny. When you hear abusive language - Speak up," say the TEN MEN in their PSAs. It is unusual for men to engage in dialogue with other men about domestic violence, and most of the time, men are socialized to avoid discussions about it and to "mind their own business." This silence allows men that are abusive to have their behavior go unchallenged. By speaking out against domestic violence, men in their community are saying this behavior is unacceptable and will be tolerated NO MORE. This creates accountability within the community: men are saying to other men that if they choose to use abusive language and behavior in their relationships, those actions will not be condoned.
To watch their PSA, learn more about TEN MEN, and/or to join them, people can visit www.ricadv.org/TENMEN. Tools are also available for starting those conversations, as well as, a pledge that lets others know they are against domestic violence and will stand with TEN MEN in helping to prevent it.