We’re celebrating our Dads this Sunday – biological, adoptive, figurative -- you name it. Because being a father doesn’t depend on chromosomes as much as it does on caring. And it’s a big job what with the expectations to shoulder half of everything from the mundane tasks like diaper changes to driving the kids to soccer games and dance lessons to serving as an exemplary role model.
And more Dads are extending their role model reach from their own families to the community at large and they’re getting behind the effort to end domestic violence. This is an exciting development because it’s going to take everyone pulling together to make a real difference on this important issue.
It’s also true that men can be victims of domestic violence. While we focus on violence against women here at Neighbours, Friends and Families, we’re concerned about all victims and survivors no matter what their gender, age, race or sexual orientation. Ending domestic abuse means making abusive behavior completely unacceptable in the same way that smoking at your non-smoking friend’s kitchen table or having that fifth drink before taking your keys and driving home are now completely unacceptable.
In Pittsburgh this year, a group of concerned organizations is offering Dads the opportunity to take their “Father’s Day Pledge”. It goes like this:
I will work to end gender violence and pledge to:
- Not use violence of any form in my relationships
- Speak up if another man is abusing his partner or is disrespectful or abusive to women and girls. I will not remain silent.
- Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender violence.
- Mentor and teach boys about how to be men in ways that don’t involve degrading or abusing girls and women. I will lead by example.
We know that the vast majority of Dads would take this pledge in a heartbeat and that most men are on side.
If you’re looking for a unique way to honour your own Dad’s kindness and commitment to positive relationships, you can send him a NO MORE e-card and display it for all to see on their Father’s Day Gallery. NO MORE is a unifying symbol and campaign established in the US in 2013 to raise public awareness and engage bystanders around ending domestic violence and sexual assault.
Ending domestic violence is about building healthy relationships and families. It’s what our Dads want too. And that is reason for celebration. Happy Father’s Day.