Men stand together against domestic violence

By Daniel Roca
Staff Writer

The hearts and arms of over a hundred individuals stretched out around the Courthouse Square in Downtown Prescott on a cold February morning, creating an unbroken chain of individuals standing against domestic violence in our communities.

Though the demonstration, entitled “A Circle of Men,” was geared towards helping men and boys find support and an inspiration for change within each other, it was obvious from the diversity of people involved that the issue pertains to more than just one gender.

“Women, men, children, we are all affected by this,” shouted Dee Spitler, the event organizer and member of Boys to Men and The ManKind Project, the two non-profit groups that helped make this demonstration possible. Their missions are to help foster physical and emotional health in men and boys within communities. “We want to take good boys and good men and make them better boys and better men,” he said.

Individuals stepped forward from the group to share their stories and experiences.  Among them were Charlie and Kathy Koon, parents of Jessica Koon who, in 2006, was brutally beaten and murdered by her boyfriend in Gresham, OR. They voiced their hope for change. “This is the beginning of awareness. It is everybody that is out here today. If you have a feeling that this is going on, listen to your gut. It is probably right…. Our daughter never told us because she felt so much shame as the victim, but they are not the ones at fault.”

Ruth Mansbach, who is involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters and the wife of Boys to Men director Richard Mansbach, said, “The way to overcome is to band together. Violence comes in all forms… there needs to be things like this where people say ‘enough.’”

The group circled together on the steps of the square. Dee asked those who have been affected by domestic violence, or who know someone who has been, to raise their arms. The sight evoked a mix of sadness and solidarity as the number of individuals affected showed a clear majority. But taking their moment together, hands raised as a community of united voices against domestic violence, they began to shout:

“No more!”

“No more!”

“No more!”

More information about Boys to Men, The ManKind Project, their meeting times and how you can help support them can be
This article appeared in the March 2011 print edition of The Raven Review.

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