Since Jan. 1, an epidemic has rocked our community. Eight children and five women have been killed in sickening domestic violence attacks. We are stunned, we grieve, we pray.
Inevitably, at some point when people are trying to make sense of the horror, we hear the well-intentioned but dismissive platitude: “Everything happens for a reason.” In my 30-plus years as a United Methodist pastor, I have taken every opportunity to refute this cliché.
Frankly, there is simply no imaginable reason that children are killed as collateral damage in abusive relationships, or that women are raped, strangled, battered and slain by enraged partners.
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I am convinced that out of every tragedy we have an opportunity to learn and do better. In the midst of this violent epidemic, one lesson is that it takes all of us to end this insanity. It’s not just a women’s issue.
Men, we need you. We need you to be good fathers and father figures. Your children are watching you and learn to model your behavior. If you respect women, they are certainly more likely to follow suit.
On the other hand, if you are abusive – with your voice or your actions – your sons will learn it is a “manly” way to act. And your daughters will assume such behavior is acceptable.
We need you to pay attention and take action. We need you to be courageous. We need you to challenge others if you suspect that a friend, co-worker or family member is controlling a partner. If any woman in your personal or professional life exhibits signs of physical or mental abuse, seek them out, encourage them to seek help and offer to accompany them.
We need you to become educated about domestic violence. We need you to volunteer and financially support local service providers such as the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center, WEAVE, My Sister’s House and A Community for Peace.
This horrific cycle of abuse must be halted. It will take all of us working together. We need you.
Faith Whitmore is CEO of the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center. She can be contacted at WhitmoreF@HopeThrivesHere.org.