Last month, after a number of high-profile domestic violence cases in the city, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced that he was launching a public awareness campaign and made a powerful appeal to men to help change the culture of violence.
It’s our fault. It’s not the women’s fault. We want to make it known that any violent act toward a woman will not be tolerated by the men in the city…We will reinforce that hitting women is not acceptable, and we will learn how to intervene when we see it taking place.
At a press conference with city leaders and Cowboys athletes last week, Rawlings said he expects more than 10,000 men to show up for a rally at City Hall next month and join the broader movement to end domestic violence.
I want fathers to bring their sons, because this is undoubtedly a learned behavior and we have an inter-generational reaching moment right here. We have a unique opportunity to change the mindset of the next generation in Dallas. We’re making this a grass roots movement. And we’ll take it back to the community. In the past this has been viewed as a women’s issue, but it ain’t. It’s our problem.
As Jessica writes at Shakesville, Rawlings has been “unwavering when it comes to who he is directing the campaign at.” Like the excellent anti-rape campaigns in Edmonton and elsewhere that have popped up recently, he is focusing on the potential perpetrators–and the “social license to operate” that allows them to get away with violence. I also appreciate that he is explicitly saying that the violence is not inevitable–it is a “learned behavior”–and is demonstrating utter confidence that all the men of Dallas will step up and join the movement.
Indeed, we should expect no less.