‘Don’t look away’: Men from all walks of life gather for annual march against violence
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - About 100 people joined the Domestic Violence Action Center’s 28th annual “Men’s March Against Violence” in Downtown Honolulu on Wednesday.
Advocates say efforts to end domestic violence begin with awareness and should include men in the fight as role models and allies.
“Most abusers are men. So isn’t this really a men’s issue to help solve?” said survivor advocate David Tumilowicz of Kaiser Permanente.
The march gives men a chance to step up their commitment to ending abuse and step in before victims end up in the emergency room or worse.
Marchers honored the memories of those killed this year in acts of domestic violence: Gary Ruby, Michelle McPeek, Angela Johnson, Moana Garcia, Dana Alotaibi and Allison Maria Castro.
Organizers say more than a third of women experience some form of domestic abuse.
“It begins with awareness,” said Dr. Jerris Hedges of the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii. “It’s difficult for those who are in an abusive situation to acknowledge what they are facing.”
“They have to deal with negative stigma, fear of loss of standing in society, and the threat of more abuse.”
Hedges received the Distinguished Citizen of the Year award and shared his experience as a survivor.
“Men who perpetrate domestic violence themselves may have been victims of domestic violence,” Hedges said. “Men require good parental models. I also hold out hope that like my father, the individual who has suffered and is perpetrating abuse can learn and gain insight.”
“But that requires a strong community to uphold and support and guide that person.”
Members of the Honolulu Police Department also walked in solidarity. HPD says more than 2,600 domestic violence incidents were reported on Oahu last year and more needs to be done to prevent them.
“If you sense that something’s going on, and it’s not right, please say something,” said HPD Chief Joe Logan.
“Don’t look away and hope that it gets better over time, because they don’t.”
It’s the same advice 11-year-old Raiden Barrientos gives to keiki like him.
“My mom, my tutu and my auntie were domestic violence survivors,” Barrientos said. “I didn’t know what was going on, because I was just a baby and little.”
“So I’m doing this for all the survivors and victims out there, to let them know that I’m there for them.”
And that kind of support, advocates say can help save lives.
If you or someone you know needs help, contact the Domestic Violence Action Center’s helpline at 808-531-3771 or visit DomesticViolenceActionCenter.org.
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