Ending male violence one community at a time

By Haley Gray, reporter.

UNIVERSITY CENTER – With 97 percent of all domestic and violent crimes in America being committed by men, Ed Heisler, along with local women, asked what they could do to decrease this statistic. This question led to the creation of the Don’t Buy It Program which strives to reach out to young men to help stop the chain of male domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and trafficking of women.

Collaborating with the Underground Railroad of Saginaw, the Don’t Buy It Program came to Delta College on Friday, April 13 to bring more awareness to male violence, specifically speaking to young men. With a crowd of around 40 people, Heisler spoke about not only the statistics of violence toward women, but about what causes men to commit these acts, such as pornography and the media.

Heisler spoke to the crowd as if it were a group of peers, not trying to shame anyone for these acts, but to make the men in the room hold a stronger grasp on how they can treat women as equals.

Allie Martinez with the Underground Railroad of Saginaw was one of the main collaborators of this presentation, helping to bring these vast issues of sex trafficking and violence against women in the local Tri-City and Bay area to light.

“Men are not just lacking in the conversation, but we need men to be involved,” Martinez says.

DBIP’s main goal is to get men involved in their communities and to show them the actions that can lead to creating violent offenders. Believing that those who become violent begin at young-teen ages, up until early adulthood making these groups the focus of how porn and strip clubs are examples of exploitation of women.

Heisler shared beliefs that exploiting women in these ways shows a male-dominant, female-submissive persona, reinforcing the belief that men are superior to women.

Jeff Giddings with the Boys and Girls Club in Saginaw and Holly Miller of  Big Brothers Big Sisters both were speakers at the event, elaborating on how young boys without a male role model in their lives typically are the ones who commit these violent acts, stressing the importance of positive male role models in the lives of adolescents.

With resources provided by DBIP such as online tools, volunteer options and even pledges not to purchase sex, to value humanness in everyone, not to patronize strip clubs, to encourage others not to participate in objectifying or exploiting anyone, to participate in their community through volunteering, time, money and other resources, all of which help support victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

With nationwide recognition of the DBIP growing due to advertisements during football games and in men’s restrooms, the goal of ending the exploitation of women and eradicating sex trafficking seems more of a reality now than ever before.

For more information on how you can get involved visit the Don’t Buy It Project website https://www.dontbuyitproject.org/ or the Underground Railroad for resources on how else you can get involved locally. http://undergroundrailroadinc.org/volunteer-opportunities.html

“We have what we need, but we need a process of traction to achieve that process of traction being civic engagement from people of all backgrounds contributing to the betterment of their communities,” says Martinez.

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