Nurture young Black men and boys to value relationships free of gender violence

The BeMore Campaign knows that Black M.E.N. C.A.N be the solution. BeMore has become the frontrunner in increasing healthy nonviolent relationships, decreasing teen dating violence, and engaging men and young men to end violence against women and girls inside of homes and in communities around the world.

The BeMore pledge goes hand in hand with

three principles of change adopted by BeMore that entail skills development, leadership development and community solutions. This internationally known campaign was developed by Sam Simmons, SAFE families manager at Family Partnership, as a culturally competent model to facilitate African American men speaking with African American young men.

Simmons also notes that “The pledge is meant to put a positive public face on men dealing with domestic violence and help them consciously engage in the solution and consciously think about it.” The pledge is memorized by every employee and all members within the BeMore Campaign. The purpose is that each staff member and every person involved with BeMore can consistently be reminded to display those qualities that show M.E.N. C.A.N.

By saying the pledge every day you can feel and see the change in our members, their homes, and their communities. This pledge drives BeMore to not stop this campaign until every Black man has the knowledge of these six values and it is being passed down from generation to generation. So come to our office and pick up a form or go to our website and print off our form and make the pledge and show everyone in the world that black M.E.N. C.A.N. be the solution.

The third value in the pledge is: “I pledge to Nurture Black young men and boys to create communities free of gender violence.”

Domestic violence affects not only the abused but the children as well. Children who grow up in domestic violence households have a greater chance of suffering from many psychological disorders such as depression, poor school performance, aggressive behavior, withdrawal, stomachaches and headaches.

These disorders can be critical for the growth of the child. If you also take into account that three to 10 million children annually witness assaults against a parent by an intimate partner, as stated by A Better Way, an organization in Indiana, this means that in the United States we are raising our children to be psychologically unable to build or sustain their communities free of gender violence.

For many children, domestic violence interrupts their experience of consistent safety and care and creates an environment of uncertainty and helplessness. Male children who witness the abuse of mothers by fathers are more likely to become men who commit domestic behaviors in adulthood than are those male children who come from homes free of domestic violence.

There is also a correlation between adverse childhood experience (ACE) and migraines, chronic headaches, and inflammation leading to strokes. This is extremely important for BeMore when dealing with Black males, because Black males already have a high rate of heart disease, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.

By nurturing Black males at a young age through conversations, but more importantly by demonstrating healthy relationships and how to build and support a gender violence-free community, it can minimize those chances of life-changing diseases.

Another problem is that people who commit domestic violence don’t believe that their behavior is affecting the nurturing of their child. A Better Way — an organization that provides shelter and services for victims of domestic violence, transitional housing, and advocacy for victims of sexual assault — came up with a list to tell if the nurturing of a child is being affected by the domestic violence they are witnessing within their household by their parents or legal guardians:

  1. Emotional effects — anxiety, nervousness, low self-esteem, shame, guilt, depression, self-blame, anger, embarrassment, withdrawal, suicide attempts
  2. Behavioral effects — acting out, aggressive, refusing to go to school, acting as a parent substitute, excessive attention-seeking, nightmares and bedwetting, dependency, mood swings, poor school performance, drug and alcohol use
  3. Social effects — isolation from friends and relatives, difficulty trusting, bullying, poor problem solving skills
  4. Physical effects — headaches, stomachaches, short attention span, tired, frequently ill, poor personal hygiene, regression in development, self-abuse

As noted above, children who are exposed to domestic violence of any kind at an early age are at risk to repeat similar actions when put in similar situations in the next generation, either as the victim or as the abuser in their own relationships.

Knowing that children’s responses are dependent on many factors within the child’s family and environment, BeMore encourages you to educate and nurture your children as early as possible on domestic violence. It can help prevent the cycle of domestic violence from continuing to the next generation, and it can help build a gender violence-free community that is led by young men within their own communities.

Thank you for reading this article, and stay on the lookout for our next article on the importance of Challenging men when they commit or threaten violent and abusive behaviors in whatever forms they may take.

 

For more information about the Pledge Campaign or BeMore, contact Willie Roller III, BeMore Mentor Project Coordinator, at 612-728 2056 or WRoller@thefamilypartnership.org.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-CY-AX-K023 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The   opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this program are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.