Op-Ed

Men, too, must help end domestic violence

TNS

One in four women experience domestic violence at some point in their lifetime, and it is the leading cause of injury for women ages 15-44. That means that someone you know has experienced violence by a person that is supposed to love them most.

Your sister, daughter, aunt, grandmother and niece are all at risk of being a statistic. We cannot disregard these stunning statistics anymore, and we cannot wait a moment longer to do something about it.

Domestic violence is a disgrace to our country, our state and our communities. And it is a disgrace in our homes. Domestic violence flies in the face of the equality we all hold dear. Now is the time to take a stand. Now is the time to treat each woman in your life with the dignity and respect she deserves.

As men, we are a part of the solution. We cannot simply take a seat or look the other way when we see our sons, business associates or even our friends engaging in disrespectful or violent behavior toward women and girls. We are done sitting on the sidelines, and we ask you to join us.

We need strong men who are willing to step up and speak out on violence against women. Domestic violence destroys lives, and we must be the men of character we say we are — ready and willing to do something about it.

As the conversation about domestic violence continues to escalate, I am eager to be a man who steps up. I want to be a man known not only for football, but also for showing dignity and respect toward all people — especially women. I want to be known as a man of integrity and character before any athletic accolades or accomplishments. Because of this desire, I am excited for All Pro Dad to partner with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) in an effort to take a stand.

We have many resources that can serve as a guide for your relationships. On our website, AllProDad.com/Stronger, there are tips on “Five Things Dads Must Teach their Sons about How to Treat Girls” and “Five Ways Dads can be a Good Example of a Great Man.” Our website, along with the FCADV website, fcadv.org, contains newsletters, videos, articles and information that can help you better understand the dynamics of domestic violence, as well as tools and resources to build strong families and healthy relationships.

These resources could provide the perfect opportunity to spark a conversation with your children. This is a conversation that could change the trajectory of their lives as well as yours.

At a young age, children must be taught the importance of treating everyone with kindness and respect. They must be taught that violence is never the answer to any situation, particularly inside the home. They must be taught that boys and girls may have different gifts and talents, but are equal — in your eyes and in the eyes of our society. Your kids are looking to you to set the example.

As a father of seven sons and two daughters, I understand the importance of setting an example — in our words, our deeds and our behavior.

I understand the positive impact a man can have on his family and the influence a man of character can have on his community. I am calling all men to the highest level of excellence. We must be men who are excellent fathers, sons, husbands and friends. We must be excellent in our treatment of each other, so that we set an example of excellence for the coming generation.

Whether you are young, old, married or single, join me as my family and I partner with FCADV in the work to end domestic violence. If you are currently experiencing or know of someone living through domestic violence, call the 24-hour Florida Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119.

Tony Dungy is the first African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl. He also serves as the national spokesman for All Pro Dad.

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