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Domestic Violence Awareness

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“If domestic violence was an issue women could solve on their own, it would be solved by now.”

When I attended my first Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (HCDVCC) partner meeting, one of the other attendees – a long-time victim advocate and expert in the field – shared this thought, and it has stuck with me ever since.

It is a poignant reminder of the responsibility that men have in addressing intimate partner violence that happens within our communities. In 2022, domestic violence was the primary motive behind homicides in unincorporated Harris County, accounting for 30% of homicides.  In 2021, 204 Texans were killed by an intimate partner; 169 of them were women. During the homicides, perpetrators injured an additional 21 victims including four law enforcement officers, six children, and 11 family members and friends. These numbers illustrate the dire and pervasive nature of domestic violence – it not only affects the household but ripples out into neighborhoods and communities.

While we recognize that anyone can be a victim or perpetrator of domestic violence, this blog post focuses on the essential role that men play in combating this pervasive problem. Men, as partners, fathers, friends, and community members, have a unique opportunity to contribute to the fight against domestic violence – it is not only crucial but necessary.

Raising Awareness

One of the primary ways men can contribute to combating domestic violence is by raising awareness. Men often have influential voices in their communities and social circles, especially when speaking to other men. By openly discussing domestic violence and its devastating effects, we can help destigmatize the issue, encouraging more victims to come forward and seek help. Additionally, educating ourselves and others about the signs and consequences of domestic violence can empower men to recognize and address it when they encounter it.

The Power and Control Wheel created by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project in Duluth, Minnesota breaks down the different behaviors and tactics used by violent partners on their victims. Whether it be physical violence, emotional abuse, psychological manipulation, or financial exploitation, abuse takes many forms, and we need to be able to spot them all.

Intervening Safely

When men witness or suspect domestic violence, we have a responsibility to intervene safely. This could involve calling the police, offering support to the victim, or confronting the perpetrator (if it’s safe to do so). While intervening can be intimidating, men’s actions can make a significant difference in ensuring the safety of the victim and holding abusers accountable for their actions.

We do not need to wait until the situation becomes violent to intervene. Men can disrupt abusive norms and behaviors early before they ever lead to violence. Things like sexist attitudes, victim blaming, “locker room talk”, and nonconsensual image sharing all contribute to a culture that normalizes abuse against women. Challenging these things when we see them and making it known that they are unacceptable can help prevent intimate partner violence in the future.

Supporting Victims

Men can provide crucial support to victims of domestic violence. This support may include offering a safe place to stay, assisting with legal matters, or connecting the victim with resources such as shelters and counseling services. By extending a helping hand, men can show survivors that they are not alone and that there is a network of people ready to assist them.

The fight against domestic violence is a collective effort that requires the active involvement of everyone in society, including men. If men are to live up to our role as protectors and providers, we can no longer be passive observers; we must become active advocates for change. By raising awareness, being role models, intervening safely, supporting victims, advocating for policy changes, and supporting domestic violence organizations, men can play a pivotal role in breaking the cycle of domestic violence and creating a safer, more compassionate society for all. It’s time for men to stand up, speak out, and be allies in the fight against domestic violence.


Posted by Safe Community Institute Manager - Joshua Webb on 29 Sep 2023