Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Love, Men Answer To Domestic Violence

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—In the battle against domestic violence, advocates, survivors, and their friends and families are focusing on stopping the problem where it most often begins—with men.
“You’re not a man if you hit a woman,” said Jamarhl Crawford, publisher and editor of The Blackstonian, who also served as the master of ceremonies for the Love Life Now Foundation’s White Ribbon Gala against domestic violence and to raise money for Brockton's Penelope's Place.
Surrounded by a crowd of more than 100 women and men, including Fox 25 News crime reporter Bob Ward, Channel 7 sports reporter Darren Haynes, members of Jane Doe Inc., and an all-male acappella group, the Unisons, from Northeastern University, Crawford spoke the words many in the room felt and were thinking.
“Cherish your woman,” Crawford said, acknowledging when he received the Love Life Now Foundation’s inaugural White Ribbon Day Ambassador Award, as a young man he wasn't always the best boyfriend.
Now 41, Crawford said when he was in his late teens, early 20s, he intimidated women, threatened them, played mind games, controlled them, and treated them as if they were his property—an attitude that changed when he became conscious of his self and the history and culture of his African people.
Crawford said his violence as a young man wasn’t at the level of some abusers, although all of it is abuse.
He said he never punched a woman or made her bleed, or caused severe physical harm.
Crawford said in general he was a violent young man who grew up in a tough environment surrounded by threats, guns, knives and intimidation.
Crawford said that it didn’t help that—like many male teens--his hormones were raging and fueled by alcohol and cocaine—substances he no longer uses.
“I work now to help women out of those situations and get the brothers off that path,” he said.
Crawford led the night of laughter, smiles, dancing and for some, like Love Life Now Foundation head Lovern Augustine—tears.
Augustine, a Brockton resident from Trinidad, won last year’s Mrs. Ethnic World competition and has used her title to advocate against domestic violence in Brockton, Boston and the world because of her mother’s gruesome abuse at the hands of her father, and her own experience with a now long-gone ex-boyfriend.

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