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Men Speaking Out To Stop Violence Against Women

Meena Sonea Hewett, Anita Raj and Sriram Ananthanarayana

Each year in the United States, a minimum of one million women are physically and/or sexually assaulted by a husband or boyfriend (1); 30% of women murdered in this country are killed by a husband or boyfriend (2). The vulnerability of women to their male partners crosses racial and ethnic bounds, and our local South Asian immigrant community is not immune to these forms of domestic violence. Research we conducted with South Asian women residing in Greater Boston found that 20-40% of those in relationships have been abused by their current partner (3-5). While these statistics are staggering and disturbing, an important related finding often gets lost in their discussion:
Most men, including South Asian men, are not abusive to their female partners.

With recognition of this, SAHELI, our local community-based organization supporting South Asian women in crisis, has launched a new effort to involve men in our community as allies against domestic violence.

Our Men’s Initiative is designed to showcase the large numbers of men in our community who are neither abusive nor accepting of abuse of female partners.

We are initiating this program with a signature pledge drive in which men in our community are being invited to signing a pledge expressing the following:
To never condone violence against women and to never remain silent about violence against women.

Thus far we have collected 50 signatures and have set a goal to acquire 500 by summer’s end; Men can click here to sign this pledge electronically.

We will also be at the India Day celebration on August 14, 2005 at the Hatch Shell, where we and other community leaders will invite all South Asian men to stop by the Saheli booth and sign the pledge. Pins with the pledge will be given out in support of this cause, as well.

Please join Saheli in this unprecedented, intensive multi-level campaign by providing your signature if you are a locally residing male. For more information please contact mhewett@wellesley.edu.

(1) Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Violence Against Women: Estimates from the Redesigned Survey (NCJ-154348), August 1995, p. 3.
(2) Uniform Crime Reports, Crime in the United States 1992 Washington, D.C.:  Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1993, p.16.)
(3) Raj, A., & Silverman, J.G. (2002). Intimate partner violence against South Asian women in Greater Boston. Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association, 57(2), 111-116.
(4) Raj, A., Silverman, J.G. (2003). Immigrant South Asian women at greater risk for injury from intimate partner violence. American Journal of Public Health, 93(3), 435-437.
(5) Raj, A., Silverman, J.G., McCleary-Sills, J., Liu, R. (2005). Immigration policies increase South Asian immigrant women’s vulnerability to intimate partner violence. Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association, 60(1), 26-32.

(Meena Hewitt and ANita Raj are with SAHELI and Sriram Ananthanarayana is with Asian Task Force. )

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