Over the past year, the media spotlight has shone on issues of sexual and domestic violence in new ways. A seemingly endless number of mass shootings highlighted the link between this type of violence and domestic abuse, while the #MeToo movement showed just how prevalent sexual abuse and harassment is in our society. Gender-based violence is a major problem in our society — and its roots lie in the home.
We know that there are certain “root causes” of gender-based violence that have led to the pervasiveness of domestic and sexual violence and other types of violence and crime in the United States. These include:
By addressing these root causes, we can transform our society — and eventually eliminate gender-based violence. At Blackburn Center, we are committed to making this change through education and outreach efforts. But we cannot do it without you. We need dedicated citizens who are just as invested in preventing gender-based violence as we are, and who are committed to helping us stop these “roots” from ever taking hold in our children. That is why we are asking you to join us in making sure that peace truly does begin at home this holiday season, and throughout the year.
There are many ways that you can take action to play a part in this process. With your own children and loved ones, you can lead by example. This can mean standing up against harmful gender norms, such as that men can’t show emotion or that “real men” only express their feelings through anger or violence. It can also mean speaking out when someone makes a degrading joke or comment about women. You can take a stand against all types of violence in your own home, and commit to communicating with respect at all times. Be conscious of the types of media (music, television, movies and more) that you and your children consume, and talk to your kids about important issues. Kids often absorb harmful messages without parents realizing it, and discussing things with them — such as why it is important to believe victims of sexual violence — can be an important step in helping to ensure that they do not internalize those messages. Finally, teach your kids that boys and girls and men and women are equal, and should be treated as such. Taking these steps can go a long way towards making sure that #peacebeginsathome, and spreads throughout our community.
You can also get involved in Blackburn Center’s mission by donating to our organization, or becoming a Blackburn Center volunteer. If you would like to take your leadership a step further, you can join our Fearless Advocacy for Men's Engagement (FAME) group, which is specifically designed to help men become agents of change in Westmoreland County. We also offer a variety of community services, such as training and education programs for schools, businesses, churches and other organizations, which can help to educate and raise awareness about gender-based violence.
Finally, if you or someone you love needs help, please do not hesitate to call us at 724-836-1122 or 1-888-832-2272. Our hotline is open 24/7, is confidential and available free of charge, and can be anonymous. We offer a number of services to victims of all types of violence or crime throughout Westmoreland County.