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The beginning of The End

Dallas men step up to stop domestic abuse

Diane Xavier | 3/31/2013, 6:49 p.m.
Advocates and leaders in the community join Mayor Mike Rawlings on stage to support the Dallas Rally Against Domestic Violence campaign. City of Dallas

The Dallas Examiner

Despite the cold, wet weather, thousands of men, women and children showed up at a rally organized by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to end domestic violence in Dallas on Saturday at Dallas City Hall.

“It’s time for Dallas men to stand up,” Rawlings said. “We have taken the stand to stop domestic violence in Dallas. We are here to say enough is enough. You can call a guy who hits a woman a lot of things, but you can’t call him a man. They asked me who fails these women, we all fail these women. That’s why we need to step up and not fail these women any longer.”

The mayor said he was inspired to start this rally after learning about some disturbing statistics regarding domestic violence.

“Last month, I was compelled to speak out against the senseless, horrific acts of domestic violence taking place in our city,” he said. “Overwhelmingly, 85 percent of these violent acts involve a man attacking a wife, girlfriend or partner. In the span of one year – from 2011 to 2012 – the number of Dallas murders related to domestic violence more than doubled. Already this year, four women have needlessly lost their lives due to domestic violence. This isn’t only a Dallas problem or even just a North Texas problem. It’s a worldwide epidemic. But in order for significant change to occur, we must address this issue locally.”

Rawlings called on 10,000 men to show up at the rally. Around 5,000 people showed up. School groups, church groups and women’s shelters were all present at the rally as well.

Rawlings said he has three specific requests for men.

“I encourage them to pledge that they will never commit an act of violence against women, and that they will hold abusive men accountable for their heinous actions and help them seek counseling, also, that they speak out against domestic violence and promote domestic awareness,” he said. “I also want them to teach their daughters, nieces and granddaughters that they never have to accept violence in a relationship, and teach their sons, nephews and grandsons that violence is an unacceptable way to express anger or displeasure. Together, we can end domestic violence.”

Sports celebrities such as former Dallas Cowboys Emmitt Smith and Roger Staubach spoke at the rally as well as current Cowboys’ cornerback Brandon Carr.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant spoke also. Bryant was arrested last July for allegedly hitting his mother even though no charges were filed. Bryant spoke about that incident and said how he was sorry for the altercation that led him to hit his mom.

“I made a mistake and just want to let you know that I am done with domestic abuse,” Bryant said.

Paul Harlan brought his two sons and some friends with him to the rally.

“It’s amazing to have an event like this because I get to start my boys out young to let them know that domestic violence is wrong,” Harlan said. “As long as they see things on television and violence gets blown out of proportion, youngsters might think it is okay to hit a woman or to put a woman in her place when it’s not.”