Talking Story about Men Working to End Violence
In collaboration with A CALL TO MEN, a leading organization working to get men involved in ending violence against women, Joyful Heart hosted a two-part series of events called Talk Story. Our goal was to educate and engage our community in Hawai‘i on men’s role in ending violence.
The Talk Story series emerged from educational sessions Joyful Heart has held with the Hawai‘i Hearts, a group of volunteers who raise awareness and funds for our work in Hawai‘i. These sessions have been led by issue experts on our board and staff. Joyful Heart board member Dr. Valli Kalei Kanuha led two of these sessions, one on the cultural significance of the Namelehuapono program in the context of Joyful Heart’s work in Hawai‘i and another on the history and impact of colonization. Board member Rev. Al Miles also facilitated two sessions, the first focusing on how violence can be appropriately addressed by the clergy and faith-based communities. In his second session, Rev. Miles discussed teen dating violence including the barriers to supporting teens in abusive relationships and how to prevent violence from happening in the first place. He led the Hawai‘i Hearts in a dynamic discussion about engaging in open conversations with their children—especially young men—about healthy relationships and respect, with a focus on men’s role in ending violence against women. From these sessions, the Hawai‘i Hearts helped develop the idea for the Talk Story series to inspire community conversations about how men can help prevent violence and abuse while also educating parents about how to raise respectful, non-violent sons.
Our first event—for our community of philanthropic supporters—was hosted at the home of Rick Blangiardi, General Manager of Hawaii News Now, the largest TV affiliate in Hawai‘i. Ted Bunch, Co-Founder of A CALL TO MEN, presented to approximately 70 attendees on the socialization of men and men’s responsibility in ending violence against women, focusing in particular on how parents can teach their sons to be respectful. We then opened the session for a lively and active discussion (“talk story”), leading with insights from Dr. Kanuha and Rev. Miles. The men in attendance were invited to sign Joyful Heart’s pledge to take six concrete actions to help end violence against women. We also encouraged everyone present to complete a separate, personal pledge to commit to one action that will help bring an end to domestic violence and sexual assault. It was touching to see everyone silently, sincerely and thoughtfully write out their commitment to doing more. We collected these pledges and mailed them back to the participants last month as a reminder to continue speaking out.
The following day, we hosted a community event in Honolulu: Talk Story About Men Working to End Violence Against Women. Over 80 people were present—a broad cross-section of community members and service providers—including University of Hawai‘i staff, students and faculty; advocates from local domestic violence and sexual assault programs; staff from public and private schools; sexual assault advocates from the Army; both activity duty and civilian staff of Family Advocacy Programs representing all military branches; therapists; staff of the county Prosecutor’s Office; state workers; and staff of several social service agencies. After Ted’s presentation, two local experts contextualized his discussion for Hawai‘i and the local culture. Again, community members took our pledge and made their own personal commitments to ending violence.
We invite you to talk story and to commit to helping end violence by taking and sharing the pledge.