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.”
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 and 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.
In this article, the last in the series, we will consider more closely the Never portion of the pledge:
I pledge to NEVER engage in dating violence.
In a healthy relationship, both partners respect and trust one another, understand each other’s unique traits, and love each other for who they are at the core. Partners should also be able to communicate effectively each other’s needs.
Listening to your partner and focusing on resolving conflicts in a rational and nonviolent way will help maintain a healthy relationship. This requires skills that many young people are never taught or have even witnessed. A lack of these skills, and growing up in a society that embraces violence, can lead to unhealthy and even violent relationships among our youth.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one in 10 youth report having been involved in a violent domestic relationship. To prevent teen dating violence and treat victims involves not just the work of support centers or programs. It’s the job of the community to support these victims. That includes parents, educators, politicians, and most importantly your peers.
People often say, “Well, I have a friend that I think is in an unhealthy relationship, but I’m not sure. What are the signs?” Luckily, the researchers from the National Center of Domestic Violence who study teen dating violence have identified some signs that a dating relationship might be likely to turn violent.
These warning signs do not mean a peer is in an unhealthy relationship. However, if you notice several of them in your relationship or a peer’s relationship, you may need to re-think that relationship or talk to your friends. These warning signs include:
- Excessive jealousy
- Constant checking in with you or making you check in with him or her
- Attempts to isolate you from friends and family; insulting or putting down people that you care about
- Getting too serious about the relationship too quickly
- Having had a lot of bad prior relationships and blaming all of the problems on previous partners
- Being very controlling, which may include giving you orders, telling you what to wear, and trying to make all of your decisions for you
- Blaming you when he or she treats you badly by telling you all of the ways you provoked him or her
- Not taking responsibility for own actions
- Having an explosive temper (“blows up” a lot)
- Pressuring you into sexual activity with which you are not comfortable
- Having a history of fighting, hurting animals, or bragging about mistreating other people
- Believing strongly in stereotypical gender roles for males and females
- Giving you cause to worry about how your partner will react to the things you say, or being afraid of provoking your partner; owning or using weapons; refusing to let you end the relationship
BeMore understands how important it is to never engage in dating violence. Do you?
Thank you for reading this final article in our series on anti-dating violence. To view the previous articles, go to our Facebook page or the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder website.
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.