Local men are taking a public stand in opposition to violence against women.
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services of the San Juans has been holding a fundraising campaign to get 100 “stand up” men to donate $100 in tribute to a woman in their life.
“This is a way for men to get involved but also be recognized for it,” said DVSAS Community Advocate Alison Sanders. “Men have been honoring daughters, mothers, partners. It’s been really sweet.”
Donors have until the end of May to make donations at www.dvsassanjuans.org. The campaign has not yet reached 100 men. Donors and the woman they are honoring will have their name published in the paper and on the DVSAS website and will receive a handmade card.
The contribution will go toward safety planning tools and counseling services for victims and prevention outreach in the schools.
“The campaign was our Director Kim Bryan’s idea. We always wanted to do it around Mother’s Day,” said Sanders. “With the start of the men’s action group on San Juan Island, it seemed like there was a lot of movement around mobilizing men. It’s something that all agencies are trying to push.”
Richard Lowe, who is the only male victims advocate for DVSAS, is leading the men’s action group. They’ve been meeting for a few months to plan upcoming projects. There are 12 group members who range from community leaders to business owners to elected officials. Every Friday they are on the courthouse lawn with signs and hand-outs.
“It’s about men approaching men,” he said. “We want to be an example to other men to stop being the silent gender. It’s not a gender problem, it’s a human problem.”
Sanders is hopeful that men on Lopez and Orcas will be next up to start an action group.
“It’s important to get men involved with these issues because they can affect everyone across the nation. To end the violence, we all must get involved,” said DVSAS Board President Angela Douglas.
Getting men engaged in the discussion about violence against women has become a national trend. Groups like A Call to Men, Coaching Boys Into Men, Men Can Stop Rape and MenEngage promote building relationships based on respect and equality.
Author, speaker and activist Jackson Katz led a TED talk entitled “Violence against women – it’s a men’s issue.” He says that gender violence should be approached as something that involves men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. He stresses the importance of speaking up. Remaining silent or looking the other way perpetuates violence against women.
“View men not only as perpetrators or possible offenders but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers,” wrote Katz on his website.
Sanders says it is important for men to be involved in domestic violence and sexual awareness because the majority of perpetrators are men and the majority of victims are women – although boys and men can certainly be victims of abuse.
“We need men to get fired up,” she said.
The following is a list of men who have donated
Ron Krebs honoring Barbra Pluff
Gregory Maynard honoring all women
Juan Lopez honoring Heidi Lopez
Michael Buettell honoring Sue Buettell
Peter Goddu honoring Margaret Langlie
Keith Whitaker honoring his daughters
Court Bell honoring Ann Bell
David Anderson honoring Linnea and Avaline Anderson
David Dehlendorf honoring Susan Dehlendorf
Scott Van Buskirk honoring Ann Van Buskirk
Ken Katz honoring Serena Burman
Christopher Sanders honoring his wife and his daughter
Rick Hughes honoring Marlace Hughes
Ron Claus honoring Stephanie Claus
Brian Kvistad honoring Jennell Kvistad
Richard McCoy honoring Marge McCoy
Lawnie Bailey honoring Cheryl
Kim Smith honoring Michele Smith
Bathan Shaner honoring Victoria and Cora Shaner
Matt Minnis honoring Colleen Smith Armstrong
Ron Lehman honoring Trish Lehman