Men’s Group Reaches Out to Help Battered Women

Post a Comment » Written on March 6th, 2008     
Filed under: News
NORTH EASTON, MA (March 6, 2008) – Two local organizations assisting battered women hardly knew what to say four years ago when the men’s group at Congregational Covenant Church wanted to raise money to benefit their work.

“They were surprised,” says Bob Clary, co-chair of the men’s group.

But even the men are amazed that during the congregation’s Sunday worship service this weekend, they will be presenting checks of $18,000 each to Womansplace Crisis Center, an emergency shelter, and to HUGS (Help Us Get Safe) II, a nonprofit organization that offers various services to combat domestic violence.  The money was raised during a recent “Flavors of the World” dinner that included a wine tasting, dance and auction.

During the past four years, the men have raised more than $100,000 for the organizations, he says.

“We are extraordinarily grateful,” says Bev Wright, a spokeswoman for Health Care of Southeastern Massachusetts, which operates Womansplace. “We feel very fortunate that they made contact with us and for their work in the cause.”
The men are doing more than providing money, Wright says. “They are making an extremely powerful and significant statement, not only to men, but to our culture, that (domestic violence) won’t be tolerated.”

The men’s group decided four years ago to make fighting domestic violence their ongoing project. One of the men had relatives who had been victims, including an aunt who was murdered, Clary says. The group also was moved to help when a member served on a jury that convicted a man who weighed more than 200 pounds of beating his 95-pound wife to death.

“We took an oath as part of the (international) White Ribbon Campaign to do whatever we can to stop domestic violence,” Clary says. The dinners were a result of that oath.

The men’s group has a regular attendance of about 20 people, but about 40 volunteers helped with the recent dinner. Two hundred people paid $75 each to attend the catered event.

Womansplace will use the money to help purchase a new shelter in Brockton. The facility is greatly needed, says Wright. Women and children have had to be turned away because the current shelter was full, she explains. Funding has been hard to come by, however.

In 2007, Womansplace housed about 70 women and children, says Wright. Many more than that were helped by the organization’s hotline. Seven area residents died last year as a result of domestic violence.

“Learning that these Covenant men are so committed to advocacy for victims of abuse is extremely encouraging,” says Ruth Hill, executive minister of Women Ministries of the Evangelical Covenant Church. “News of their gift to the shelters will communicate to the whole community that Congregational Covenant Church cares deeply for those who suffer abuse, and that they have a safe place to seek shelter.”

Clary encourages other men’s groups to consider what they can do to stop domestic violence. For more information on the ministry, call the church at 508-238-6423.

More information on how churches can combat domestic violence is available on the Evangelical Covenant Church website area devoted to the Advocacy for Victims of Abuse (AVA) program, which was started by Women Ministries. There is also information on the newest initiative, Break the Chains, which seeks an end to human trafficking and slavery worldwide.

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