On Thursday, community based non-profit Lutheran Settlement House (LSH) hosted a rally in Love Park that drew over a hundred residents around the message that “Men Can” prevent family violence.
“If we want to end domestic violence we have to include men in the conversation. Our Men Can Campaign uses a no shame, no blame approach to encourage men to start conversations about family violence,” said Vashti Bledsoe, Director of the Bilingual Domestic Violence Program at LSH.
“Men Can” is an annual public awareness campaign by LSH geared at encouraging men to speak out against family violence and promote individual member safety. Aimed at seeing domestic violence holistically, the initiative seeks to redefine a platform for men to engage with what is traditionally assumed to be a women’s issue. “It’s not just a woman’s issue – it affects children and the sons who have to bare witness to poor representations of male aggression,” said Kelly Davis, Executive Director of LSH.
“Men have the ability and power to help take back those stereotypes and projections of violent masculinity…there’s so many men who are invested in helping to fix it.” Some of those men are in the newsroom.
“When we covered these stories, I remember uncovering that over 100,000 domestic violence incident calls get made to the police in this city alone,” said Mike Jerrick, co-host of Fox29’s Good Day Philadelphia. For his continual coverage and advocacy on the issue, Jerrick received the Men Can Community Advocate Award during the rally.
“It’s an honor to be recognized for the work, but I’m more passionate about getting out there and really doing more to stop this from continuing to happen,” he added. “I’m here because my sister was a victim of domestic violence and I don’t want to keep hearing the tragedies,” said Jon-William Patterson, treasurer of Black Men at Penn.
A clinical social worker, Patterson, attended the rally to also recruit more men of color to the “fight to heal broken communities.” “This is something we can change today if we stop tolerating it right now,” he added.
“No more families and lives should be broken due to our silence.” If you know someone needs help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the 24-hour domestic-violence hotline at 1-866-723-3014.