A call to Grand County men to end domestic violence
October 18, 2011
Each year, Colorado’s governor designates October as domestic violence awareness month and agencies throughout the state hold vigils to call attention to this serious problem. Though compelling and impactful, past vigils had an element of “preaching to the choir” because mostly women were involved. Men were largely absent.
This October, state and local agencies are focusing efforts on engaging men to end domestic violence. Why? “Men tend not to get involved, to stay silent. So perpetrators think: “It must be OK to abuse my wife or girlfriend because my buddies aren’t saying anything.”
The unfortunate reality is that men’s silence has been construed as implied approval. Getting men to speak out against domestic violence will change this dynamic,” said Rich Devlin, outgoing chairman of Grand County Men Against Domestic Violence (GCMADV).
GCMADV and Advocates for a Violence-Free Community will hold a Candlelight Vigil on Thursday, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m. in Granby Town Hall. The vigil will feature Tyler Osterhaus, a dynamic speaker on involving men to end violence against women and involving men as positive parents. He heads the Positive Masculinity Project. Tyler is the chair of the Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence coalition and a father of a 6-year-old girl.
Devlin and incoming GCMADV Chair Andy Thomasson, hope that a lot of Grand County men attend the candlelight vigil.
“It’s not just to show support”, said Thomasson, “Tyler will give us some practical advice and tools to help fight domestic violence in Grand County.”
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GCMADV was formed in 2010 and published a poster and newspaper ads featuring the photographs of its first 40 members with a tagline, “Strong Men Don’t Hurt Women.” GCMADV now has over 65 members. Thomasson is well equipped to serve as chair for GCMADV because he has over 11 years experience in the helping profession and is passionate about improving the quality of life in his community. He and his wife, Carolina, are expecting their first child later this month.
To join GCMADV, men must sign a pledge to never use physical or emotional intimate partner abuse. Members also agree to take a public stand against domestic violence and to use their positions “to help boys, young men, friends and family understand that domestic violence is never acceptable.” To find out more about joining GCMADV, call 970-725-3442 or email GCMADV@hotmail.com.