This Valentine’s Day, One Hundred Stand Up Men stood up for love, handing out tulips as people walked by the courthouse. They have been giving up one hour of their afternoon every Friday, rain or shine, to raise awareness for domestic violence.
“It really means a lot to survivors to see that men care,” said Richard Lowe, the male advocate for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and head of the Stand Up Men campaign.
Lowe has seen first-hand the difference men can make. He says that showing not all men are abusers lets women know violent behavior is not normal in a relationship, and provides boys with a model for better behavior. With those thoughts and encouragement from DVSAS executive director Kim Bryan, One Hundred Stand Up Men was formed.
Since its inception almost a year ago, the group has grown to approximately 15 members and has had more than 100 men pledge $100 to stand against domestic violence. Money raised goes partly toward educational programs. The men believe education is key to putting an end to the pattern of violence.
“You probably won’t change a 50-year-old,” Stand Up Men member John Stamey said. “But getting in there and showing seven- and eight-year-old boys that violence is not okay, you might break the cycle.”
The Stand Up Men aren’t just raising money. They are trying to raise awareness about domestic violence on multiple levels.
“This is the first time I ever became involved in something like this,” said member Mark Cunningham. “I want people to be aware that domestic violence is a problem, and let victims know services like DVSAS are here and can help.”
They want to reach out to other men as well, and encourage them to take a stand. Domestic violence, according to the Stand Up Men, is not a woman’s issue, and one way to stop it is by changing public perception of what it means to be a man.
“Our society portrays men being dominant and violent,” Stamey said. “We want to show there is a whole counter culture of men out there who don’t act that way.”
April is Sexual Assault awareness month, and the men will be standing at the Farmers Market – with no plans to sit down any time soon.