Underscoring the message "domestic violence is everyone’s issue," Christian League for Battered Women will present a Men’s Leadership Breakfast Sept. 15.
"Domestic violence is a difficult topic to discuss and understand," said Teresa Millsaps, executive director of Christian League for Battered Women, which operates the Tranquility House Domestic Violence Center. “It’s about power and control, which includes physical, verbal, sexual, mental and financial abuse. It knows no boundaries and affects anyone regardless of income, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion.
"As a domestic violence program, we asked ourselves how can we get men to join women in this movement to end the violence. We must create a paradigm shift from domestic violence is a women’s issue to domestic violence is everyone’s issue."
Ongoing from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., the complimentary gathering will take place at Sam Jones Memorial United Methodist Church's banquet room in downtown Cartersville.
"To start this conversation with men, Tranquility House staff and board of directors decided to host a Men’s Leadership Breakfast with the theme, 'As a man, what am I supposed to do?'” Millsaps said. "The breakfast will have speakers and conversation that includes speaking out as a man when you see or hear another being inappropriate, how to send the message domestic violence is not OK, the role of the legal system, what do spiritual beliefs have to do with it and hear a witness share his story. Many people don’t know how to start the conversation that will help a family, friend or colleagues, so this breakfast will discuss how to intervene safely and break the silence."
Now in its third location, Christian League for Battered Women was established in 1985. The nonprofit's Tranquility House shelter provides a place for women — and their children — to temporarily stay and work toward future goals, like securing housing, education or a job, if needed.
While residing at the shelter, women have access to a support group, legal advocacy and community resources. Even though men, who are victims of domestic violence, are unable to reside at Tranquility House, they are provided with services and other shelter options.
"The goal of this meeting is to start the conversation amongst men in Bartow County about what they can do to stop the violence — to provide an understanding of what domestic violence is beyond physical violence,” said Zanett Ellington, community relations coordinator for Christian League for Battered Women. "Moving forward, our hope is the men who attend this breakfast will share with other men in their lives and in their community to be leaders and not bystanders when talking about violence and for nonabusive men to safely challenge men who abuse.
"Our hope is attendees will gain insight into ways they can speak out against violence; speak to individuals who are abusing and model to the community what not being an abuser looks like; [and] … share with others what healthy and productive relationships look like."
Those interested in attending the Men’s Leadership Breakfast need to register by Wednesday by calling 770-386-8093 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Christian League for Battered Women, visit www.tranquility-house.org.