Domestic Violence: It’S A Men’S Issue

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Police Chief Don Engler and John Wakelin participated in the recent fund-raising walk for the Time Out Domestic Violence Shelter.

Something surpassing strange takes place when people talk about domestic violence, which remains the greatest source of trauma and dysfunction in our culture.

Somehow, it gets listed as a “woman’s issue.”

Now, that’s very, very strange.

Here’s the sad truth: Domestic violence remains overwhelmingly a men’s issue. Men commit 95 percent of domestic violence in our culture, according to most estimates.

Yet battered women’s shelters, like our own beleaguered Time Out Shelter, rely on women for donations, volunteers and staffing. Usually, seminars on domestic violence fill up with women — and so do the marches to protest this terrible scourge.

That’s why we’re so happy that the Time Out Shelter this year staged its “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” march —and put some brave, good-hearted, but undeniably wobbly men out front in high heels.

Interestingly enough, this year about half of the marchers were men — compared to the overwhelmingly female composition of past marches.

We hope that means men in this community have begun to see domestic violence as a men’s issue — not a women’s issue.

We will only conquer this affliction when men take responsibility — and change their behavior.

That involves every single man in this culture. Domestic violence remains our often hidden curse because the abusers do not see themselves clearly — and the men who would never stoop to violence do not forcefully and openly condemn those who do.

The grim statistics compiled by the Payson Police Department demonstrate that our beloved community is not immune from this curse. The number of domestic violence arrests has increased 138 percent since 2007, even as other types of crime have fallen. The map we published today demonstrates that it afflicts every one of our neighborhoods.

A long career spent reporting on society’s ills and challenges has proven everything from drug abuse, to crime, to alcoholism, to mental illness, to school dropout rates all remain connected to domestic violence and its terrible shadow — child abuse and neglect.

Men must see that this sick need for control and this disgusting indulgence of rage runs counter to any true ideal of manhood.

A true man must protect the weak, not prey on them.

A good man must control his strength, not unleash it.

An admirable man must take responsibility, not shift the blame.

A whole man must cherish love, not turn it into sickly fear.

A manly man will don high heels and stumble along at the head of the march, laughing at himself and acting on his principles.

Fortunately, we have many good, whole and admirable men in this community.

And we’re happy that they’ve begun to take the lead in fighting this most terrible of men’s problems.

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