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Dallas Men Fill City Hall Plaza To Say No to Domestic Abuse

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by Siena Beacham

Mayor Mike Rawling’s rally to end domestic violence drew a significant crowd to Dallas City Hall Saturday Morning.   As he put it, “This is amazing that the men of Dallas are excited about something other than sports.”  Although, it resembled a sporting event with the line of food trucks along the curb, a DJ spinning on stage flanked by mega screens, the numerous cameramen and news reporters, white towels waving in the air and the roar of excitement form the filled plaza.

Amongst the masses a lone female stood proudly with her husband and children, all with their purple ribbons, the color of domestic abuse awareness, pinned carefully on their shirts.  Kirsten Gappelberg is not only the matriarch of her small family, but the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Mary Kay Inc.  Many Mary Kay employees attended the rally, as the company was one of the sponsors for the event.

Gappelberg said, “It is very impressive to see this many men gathered here today.  They are declaring what they believe in and saying ‘No! I’m not gonna play golf with a man who hits a woman or No! I’m not gonna be friends with one who does.’ This is an opportunity for men to stand up to other men and show their respect for women.”

As the young boys of the Barak Obama Leadership Academy sang the national anthem to start off the morning and members of Boy Scout troop 986 presented the American Flag, hats were held over the hearts of those proclaiming to end domestic violence in their city and across the nation.

From the stage, Mayor Rawlings announced that one out of two women will be hit by a man in this country and one out of every four will be trapped in an abusive relationship.  According to Dallas Police Chief David Brown, the city sees over 13,000 abuse cases per year, about 4,000 warrants for arrests of abusers and the department is currently looking for 400 men who have been accused.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver and return specialist, “Dez” Bryant has recently been in the spotlight of the issue after being charged with a class A misdemeanor for hitting his mother on July 16, 2012.  The NFL superstar, who has gained quite a bad rep from his fans lately, issued a public apology for his actions to all who were gathered.

Another prominent Dallasite and well known sports anchor for WFAA, Dale Hansen, shared his personal reason for jumping on board with the Mayor’s efforts.  With tears in his eyes he said, “I was seven years old when my mom dragged me out of bed in the middle of the night, her face bleeding from my father’s fist that had broken her nose.  My dad was the strongest man I knew, but never has such a big man looked so small in the eyes of a little boy.”

Not everyone at the rally had experienced a tragedy such as Hansen’s.  Most came in support a friend stuck in an abusive situation or in solidarity with an organization, club, or church group.

SMU student Michael Pittman and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity joined the rally along with 20-some other brothers from different chapters.  “The Alpha’s” he explained, “teach us to respect womanhood to the best of our ability.  We are here today because we believe our presence might spark a much-needed social change.”

With new legislation, regarding domestic violence, the Dallas community will be able to access a registry of all abusers, and a “Three strikes and you’re in” policy incarcerates any who are in violation of the law.

Mayor Rawlings calls the men of Dallas to continue and join his efforts to end this serious problem.  As Dale Hansen stated with tears in his eyes, quoting Senator Ted Kennedy, “We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make.”

  • Linda Williams

    Thanks for the article, so glad the rally was such a success. It is time for the “Real Men” to stand and stop the violence against women.

Average Joe
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