Men of Quality Support Gender Equality: The GoodGuys

Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women–more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.

Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.

Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolence parents.

Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.

Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.

We are all worthy of equality. In our own community of Spokane, we are fortunate enough to have an entire group of men who have come together with a sole purpose of supporting women and their rights. They are called the GoodGuys.

Doug Kelley is co-chair of the GoodGuys and a huge reason the organization exists today. His wife was giving out an award at the YWCA Little Black Dress event, so Doug came along to take some pictures for his wife. It was there that Doug heard Nicole Niems speak about the Power and Control Wheel. The Power and Control Wheel is a tool that helps explain the different ways an abusive partner can use power and control to manipulate a relationship. He said, “I always thought of domestic violence as just the physical act, and had a huge AH HA moment.”

A year later, the Board President of the YWCA and Doug were talking, he shared his story, and she invited him to attend the YWCA Women of Achievement event. “I said I would not only attend, I would fill a table of men”, said Doug. Again, he had another AH HA moment. The next year, Doug filled 10 tables with men at the Women of Achievement event. The Board President looked at Doug and said, you are all such “Good Guys” and that is how the GoodGuys began.

(GoodGuys receiving the YWCA Spokane’s Shining Star Award)

Now, you will see the GoodGuys at different events all over town, showing support and standing in solidarity. This year, there will be several tables of men, recruited by the GoodGuys, at our annual benefit luncheon on May 21st. “The reason to be involved was pretty clear, a YWCA event focused on supporting the programs that support victims of domestic violence, 1,000 women and very few men! Men need to stand with our partners, we all own this issue”, said Doug.

The GoodGuys latest event, the Jackson Katz event, was a huge success. The event was a kick starter for the community and for the GoodGuys to highlight the reality of domestic violence and toxic masculinity. Dr. Jackson Katz is an internationally acclaimed author, educator, and presenter on domestic violence and building healthy relationships through teaching on the problems that toxic masculinity can cause through adolescence and adulthood which can lead to increased domestic violence cases from our local community and the world.

“The Katz event really started the conversation and now the GoodGuys are trying to continue that conversation with calls to action”, said Doug.

The GoodGuys are hoping to expand their reach in the Spokane community in the upcoming years. Their main goal is to become highly visible, to show women, and the community, that as men they also own this issue and are here to support programs and causes in person, and with “talent, treasure and time”, Doug mentioned. Their long term goals include educating men to recognize actions and symptoms of domestic violence, as well as those behaviors that proceed (power and control) and the physical acts, and to not be a bystander to those behaviors and actions.

It seems obvious that men should be in full support and behind women every step of the way, considering the inequality that women are combatting. However, there are barriers that stand in the way for men. It’s not an excuse, but it’s something we, as women, should be mindful of.

“This historically has been a women’s issue, and with Me Too, and things like the backlash against Gillette for their recent advertisement about being a man, I think men are just not quite ready to own this issue and are not quite sure how to help support it”, mentioned Doug. “We need a vehicle to reach more in the community either directly, or by partnering with other events and agencies to invite, educate, and support men and allow them to choose the path they wish to make a difference.”

The GoodGuys feel it is important to involve men in the issues surrounding women’s issues. Every man should know how they want to get involved, what they are passionate about, in order to move forward in this fight, and in their participation with the GoodGuys.

Doug explained, “I did not grow up in a domestic violence situation. It wasn’t a pleasant upbringing in many ways, but I am not a victim. But the community has far too many instances of domestic violence, too many victims, too many service providers and law enforcement having to see, and live with this issue every day. There is simply no way we can condone, no way we can be a bystander, no way we can sit by and do nothing.”

To learn more about the GoodGuys, or to get involved yourself, visit:

https://ywcaspokane.org/how-to-help/good-guys/

The GoodGuys are working up opportunities for involvement and getting word out to the community. Keep an eye out for GoodGuys at events around Spokane. Their primary focus is boosting other organizations and events to help support their efforts in raising awareness and prevention of domestic violence. We are excited to see the GoodGuys at our annual benefit luncheon in May, where we will  hear Victor Rivas Rivers speak, a childhood survivor of domestic violence and renowned author on the subject.

“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong…It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.” -Emma Watson

Heather Hamlin

Heather

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