As a survivor of domestic violence in my family as a youngster, I know firsthand how important it is to talk about this issue, to have a non-stop national dialogue aimed at ending this physical and psychological horror that leaves so many lives shattered. That's why I want to encourage you to get involved this week—March 5-11—NO MORE Week 2017.
The purpose of this week is to raise awareness by talking about domestic violence and sexual assault. The more we talk, the more people learn; and the more people learn, the more likely they are to engage society. We all have the power to help eradicate domestic violence. Instead of turning away, we must step forward. Yes, we have to speak up and stand up. The more we speak in unity; the louder our voices are together; the more we are heard with clarity—No More.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined; 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence every year; Everyday more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends; Men are twice as likely to abuse their wives if they witnessed domestic violence as children.
In the decades I've served as an advocate to end domestic violence, one truth is abundantly clear to me: domestic violence is predominantly a man's issue. As a husband and father, part of my mission in life is to break the silence. It is men who must not only hear, but heed, our call to action to end domestic violence.
It's no secret that more needs to be done to change the culture of violence so often perpetuated by men in our society. We are taking steps towards this at the NFL, and are continually striving to do more to prioritize these issues - as every corporation, campus, community and family should.
As men, we must speak up and say, domestic violence will not happen in my home, in my neighborhood, on my campus, on my team, in my workplace or in my circle of family and friends.
we must not be bystanders to this behavior. Individually and collectively men have tremendous influence over other men; especially young men. We must use our power and our platforms to bring hope to those who want to believe that a new life; a better life, awaits them.
Here are some steps that we as men can take to prevent violence against women and girls:
- Approach violence against women as a men's issue. View men as allies who can create a culture shift within their communities.
- Create an educational environment within your spheres of influence to discuss healthy, respectful manhood.
- Model healthy, respectful manhood to younger men and boys within your community and workplace.
- Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of violence against women and girls.
- Have the courage to look inward and question your own attitudes that support violence and discrimination against women and girls.
- Don't laugh at jokes that support violence against women and girls. Humor lends a veneer of acceptability to behavior that is not acceptable.
- Ask if you can help if you suspect someone is being abused or has been sexually assaulted.
- Encourage policies and actions that prevent violence against women and girls.
- Have the courage to confront men who are disrespectful or abusive. Silence is consent.
- Speak up and educate others about respect and honor toward women.
Violence against women and children is a choice. Choices have consequences. The choice to harm a woman or child has lifetime implications both physically and psychologically. I'm lending my voice and my platform to challenge all men to take a stand and choose against allowing violence against women and children to occur in our presence.
Nobody is an innocent bystander. We all play a role. The choice must be made: are we going to be louder together? Or ask yourself: what does your silence imply?
Join the national dialogue against domestic violence and sexual assault. Engage with your coworkers, friends, and family about this important issue. You might be the very person who saves someone's life or changes it with the hope of a better tomorrow.
Take leadership over violence. Let us stand in unity with one voice to be heard loud and clear.
To learn more about NO MORE Week 2017 visit: http://nomore.org/nomoreweek2017/
NFL Executive Vice President, Troy Vincent, is a former American football player, father, survivor and outspoken advocate for ending domestic violence.