Men from across Sacramento County gathered Thursday afternoon on the steps of the Memorial Auditorium as part of an annual 100 Men rally, a campaign encouraging men to stand against abuse and violence in the community.
“This is part of a campaign with the (Sacramento County) Family Justice Center to get domestic violence, elder abuse, child abuse issues out in the front of the minds of everyone,” said Sacramento Vice Mayor Eric Guerra. “And this effort particularly is getting men from across the county to step up and say ‘hey, we have to take a stronger stance about the issue of domestic violence and abuse.’ If we’re not being more vocal about it and changing the culture then nothing is going to change.”
Guerra added the event is particularly timely this year after the death of Sacramento Police Officer Tara O’Sullivan in June, who was slain in the line of duty while responding to a domestic violence call.
Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn, who attended the event, wore a wrist band on his left arm bearing O’Sullivan’s name.
A keynote speech was delivered by Sacramento firefighter Joe Hunter whose sister, Joanna, was killed by her husband in a domestic violence situation, he said.
Hunter’s wife, former WNBA player and Kings commentator Kayte Christensen-Hunter, is a board member for the Family Justice Center. She said the goal of the 100 Men campaign “is to shine a light on that this isn’t just a women’s issue.”
“People think of domestic violence as things that women are going through but really it’s about what families are going through, and men obviously play a really large part in it because men are typically thought of as the perpetrators,” she said. “And so it’s about getting influential men in this community together to be part of a product of change ... to realize that it’s not ever a question of ‘why doesn’t she leave?’ – it’s ‘why doesn’t he stop.’
Community leaders also in attendance included Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, Elk Grove Police Chief Timothy Albright, Sacramento Fire Department Chief Gary Loesch and representatives from the Sacramento County District’s Attorney’s Office.
The event was the third year of the 100 Men rally, and was hosted by the Sacramento County Family Justice Center, a county resource hub for domestic violence victims and their families.