Submitted by Stand Up Men
People come from across the planet to visit the San Juan Islands, what we simply have to step out our front door to see. But as some in this idyllic island community have discovered, things are not always perfect in paradise. Domestic violence and sexual assault are experiences of nearly a third of the female population, and more and more men are coming forward as victims who didn’t know how to find a voice in this culture. This is not a reality only experienced by the mainland. It doesn’t stop at the Anacortes ferry terminal, unable to find a way across the water. So what can you do?
“That’s just the way things are and as long as I don’t contribute to the problem then I’m part of the solution, right?” This is a question that every member of the group known as the Stand Up Men has struggled with prior to joining. It’s a question all men who are confronted with our violent culture should ask themselves. If you know more than three women or five men, then chances are good that you know someone who has been touched by this kind of violence. What a comfort it could be for them to see your name attached to a group that stands against domestic violence and all forms of sexual harassment and abuse. They’d see you set an example as someone who stands for healthy masculinity; who breaks gender stereotypes that give men permission to assert dominance and control. You could be part of this group who stands for the rights common to all, not just their own. Stand Up Men gives hope instead of taking it.
The Stand Up Men have partnered with SAFE San Juans (formerly Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services or DVSAS) for over two years to bring awareness and action. The group is made of men who choose not to have popular culture teach our boys how to act or treat others. Members “stand up” to educate and empower men in the San Juan Islands to use their voice to reach other men and boys. They are people who don’t sit quietly on the sidelines when someone is being hurt and aren’t impressed by the actions of a bully. Members want all women, men and children to know they deserve to live free of abuse. The message isn’t to cause despair or anger, it’s to let people know that they can be part of the solution — right now.
The Stand Up Men are dependent on the generosity of our community to keep our awareness, education and prevention efforts alive. Please help by becoming one of the 100 patrons who donate $100 on behalf of a woman in your life by May 31 at www.safesj.org (click on the 100 Stand Up Men tab) or stop by the SJI Farmer’s market on April 15, April 29 or May 13 and find the Stand Up Men booth.