Challenging domestic abuse

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. The pledge is as follows: “I pledge to…

Model the role Black men can take to break the cycle of violence against women and children.

Engage other Black men and boys to develop violence-free lives.

Nurture Black young men and boys to create communities free of gender violence.

Challenge violent and abusive behaviors in whatever forms they take.

Advance behaviors and beliefs that promote healthy and safe relationships.

Never engage in dating violence.”

In this article we will examine more closely the Challenge portion of the pledge.

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 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, consciously think about it.”

The pledge is memorized by every employee and all members within the BeMore Campaign. The purpose is to consistently remind each staff member and every person involved with BeMore to display those qualities that show M.E.N. C.A.N.

By saying the pledge every day, we 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 knowledge of these six values and they are being passed down from generation to generation. Come to our office and pick up a form, or go to our website and print out our form, and make the pledge. Show everyone in the world that Black M.E.N. C.A.N. be the solution.

“I pledge to Challenge violent and abusive behaviors in whatever forms they take.”

When people refer to domestic abuse, people often single out domestic violence as the focal point of their conversations. Domestic abuse happens when one person in an intimate relationship tries to dominate and control the other person.

Domestic abuse is not a problem that is tailored to only one type of person. Abuse occurs among heterosexual and homosexual partnerships. It occurs within all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. While women more commonly are victimized in a domestic abusive situation, men are also abused, most likely verbally and emotionally.

Such abuse is always an unnecessary act that is never acceptable, no matter who commits it. Every person has the human right to feel valued, respected and safe.

Challenging domestic abuse can be difficult, especially when trying to determine if a person is in an abusive relationship without any concrete evidence. An organization called HELPGUIDE, which focuses on guiding individuals who have suffered from mental, emotional, and social health issues to a healthier life, has created a guide that can help a person better judge if one of their friends, family members or co-workers is in an abusive relationship.

People who are being abused may:

  • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does
  • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
  • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy or possessiveness

People who are being physically abused may:

  • Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
  • Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions without explanation
  • Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)

People who are being isolated by their abuser may:

  • Be restricted from seeing family and friends
  • Rarely go out in public without their partner
  • Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car

People who are being abused may:

  • Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
  • Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
  • Be depressed, anxious or suicidal


The bottom line is this: If you suspect or see that someone you know is being abused, you could do them a great disservice by hesitating and telling yourself to mind your own business, it might not be that serious, or the person has it under control. Express your concern! Keep in mind that expressing your concern might be all the person needs to let their abuser go and take care of themselves. You might even save that person’s life.

Thank you for reading this article, and stay on the lookout for our next article on the importance of Advancing the behaviors and beliefs that promote healthy and safe relationships.


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

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.