“Men: Take the White Ribbon Pledge. End violence against women.” — Lovern Gordon, creator of the Love Life Now Foundation

Abuse is a learned behavior.

I know this from personal experience. From the years I have spent since 2011 running the Love Life Now Foundation, Inc. (LLN), an organization I founded after having the topic be my presentation in the two US beauty pageants that I participated in.

I am also a Certified Domestic Violence Advocate, an important training that taught me the skills I need to be effective as possible through our Foundation, which bridges the gap between shelters and the communities they serve.

We accomplish this goal by having representatives from the shelters present at each of our unique awareness events to heighten awareness. Our workshops conducted online and promoted through social media aim to inspire domestic violence victims to seek help for themselves and everyone else they know who may be suffering in silence.

The statistics tell the story.

  • Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) affects 1 in 3 women in the US each year — that’s a breathtaking 30% of all women.
  • Of those, 50,000 women are killed annually by family members or intimate partners worldwide, with the highest rates in Asia and Africa.
  • In 2017, of the 1,759 women who reported IPV, 1,611 were murdered by a male they knew — that’s 92%. Even more shocking, homicide is a leading cause of death during pregnancy.
  • Men are the major perpetrators of domestic violence.
  • As many as 275 million children worldwide are exposed to violence in the home.
  • Research shows that 65% of adults who abuse their partner also physically and/or sexually abuse their children.
  • Boys who have witnessed abuse in their space growing up or were harmed by abusive adults are more likely to turn into men who harm others.

So, I dare you. 

  • I dare you to make it a point to talk to the boy(s) in your space about what it means to be a man and that being one doesn’t involve ‘power and control.’
  • I double dare you to speak to your friend/family member you meet up with at the barbershop, the one on the basketball court, the other one at work every day. You know, the one that freely and openly disrespects women or actually tells you that he abuses his partner. That it’s not ok.
  • I triple dare you to do everything you can to explain that he is having a mental health crisis — then make sure he gets help.
  • And mostly, I dare you to be uncomfortable. That is what it will take to become your ally against domestic violence — because pretending this is someone else’s problem, and sitting on the sidelines isn’t going to cut it. Get uncomfortable: your boys are watching.

You can help: Take the active bystander approach — and take action.

If you are neither the victim nor the abuser, you are in a powerful position to discourage, prevent, or interrupt an incident(s) of abuse of any type toward women when you are witness to it. You are a bystander — with power.

In addition to calling 911 every single time you witness aggression, here are 10 starting things you can also do:

  1. Acknowledge and understand how sexism, male dominance, and male privilege lay the foundation for all forms of violence against women.
  2. Examine and challenge our individual sexism and the role that we play in supporting abusive men.
  3. Recognize and stop colluding with other men by getting out of our socially defined roles, and take a stance to end violence against women.
  4. Remember that our silence is affirming. When we choose not to speak out against men’s violence, we are supporting it.
  5. Educate and re-educate our sons and other young men about our responsibility in ending men’s violence against women.
  6. Break out of the “man box”- Challenge traditional manhood images that stop us from actively taking a stand to end violence against women.
  7. Accept and own our responsibility that violence against women will not end until men become part of the solution to end it. We must take an active role in creating a cultural and social shift that no longer tolerates violence against women.
  8. Stop supporting the notion that men’s violence against women is due to mental illness, lack of anger management skills, chemical dependency, stress, etc.… Violence against women is rooted in the historical oppression of women and the outgrowth of men’s socialization.
  9. Take responsibility for creating appropriate and effective ways to develop systems to educate and hold men accountable.
  10. Create systems of accountability for women in your community. Violence and discrimination against women will end only when we take direction from those who understand them most.

Join us this year, and every year, by taking the White Ribbon Pledge.

Learn more about the Love Life Now Foundation: lovelifenow.org.