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Alianza's Public Awareness Campaign 2005

Last Year's Latino Men Speak Out

Last year, more than 100 men and women attended Alianza’s Men Speak Out Against Domestic Violence event held on April 26, 2005.

More than 100 men and women attended Alianza's Men Speak Out Against Domestic Violence event on April 26, 2005.  The luncheon event, which took place at Tavern on the Green, in New York City, had three main purposes: to launch Alianza's public awareness campaign; to give Latino men an opportunity to take a public stance against domestic violence; and to announce the release of Victor Rivers Rivas' book, A Private Family Matter: A Memoir, which chronicles his tormenting journey from battered boy and angry young man to thriving athlete, Hollywood actor, domestic violence activist and author.

Rivers, who gave the keynote address and read a passage from his book, was joined by a slate of other speakers that included Latino media personalities, elected officials, and community leaders.  Among them were: Antonio Martínez, Anchor/Reporter, UNIVISION 41; Rossana Rosado, Publisher & CEO, El Diario la Prensa; Commissioner Yolanda Jiménez, Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence; Commissioner Guillermo Linares, Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs; Mario Bosquez, Co-Anchor, CBS 2 News this Morning & author of The Chalupa Rules; Rafael Pi Román, Host/Senior Editor, New York Voices, Thirteen WNET; Joseph Semidei, Executive Director, St. Christopher's Inc.; Moisés PŽrez, Executive Director, Alianza Dominicana; Freddie Ferrer, former Bronx Borough President and current NYC Mayoral candidate.  Adelita Medina, Alianza's Executive Director, also spoke at the event, and invited people to join the Campaign by signing the pledge cards that were handed out. Click here for a copy of her speech. The card asks supporters to carry out at least one of the actions listed in the coming year to help eradicate domestic violence. 

The event was covered widely by major television networks and newspapers. Click here for news articles. Click here to view photos from the event.

Latinas & Latinos Join Hands to End Family Violence and Create Healthy Families and Relationships

The campaign, which will focus on five cities with large Latino populations – New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Antonio – will inform the public that there are laws and services to protect and help victims who are battered; that help is also available for those want to stop their violent behavior; and that everyone in our communities (women, men, and youth) can and should do their part to stop the violence. The domestic violence community cannot do it alone.

Campaign Goals and Objectives

There are three desired outcomes of the Public Awareness Campaign:

  • Raise the Level of Awareness/Consciousness. Raise awareness about domestic violence in Latino communities: its existence, prevalence, nature, and its damaging effects, and provide information about individual rights, available options, resources, and services.

  • Create an Attitude Shift. Generate community concern about the issue and resolve to not accept it. Get people to think about domestic violence in a new way: It's not normal; it's inherently wrong. It's not how people should treat one another. It's not love, it's not respect, it's not healthy, and it is not a tradition we want in our communities.

  • Create Behavioral Change. Motivate targeted communities to do something about it: Call for information; get personal help; help a friend, a relative, or co-worker; discuss the issue at home, school, work, church, and within other community venues.

Campaign Components

Ideally the campaign will include the following components (depending on the funding we are able to secure):

  • Television: a mix of 30 second and 60 second commercials or Public Service Announcements (PSAs).  To date, in partnership with Lifetime Television, we have developed one 30-second PSA in Spanish featuring Lila Downs, the internationally known Mexican-American singer and in partnership with Univision 4 we have developed three PSAs in Spanish featuring Victor Rivers, the Cuban-American, actor, author and DV advocate and Commissioner Yolanda Jimenez, from the NYC Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence.

  • Radio: a mix of 60 and 30 second PSAs; appearance on talk shows.  We are planning a radio blitz in partnership with the Hispanic Radio Network which will broadcast syndicated "radio episodes" in the 5 targeted regions. These will feature a mix messages from celebrities, survivors, and advocates.

  • Print Media: Newspaper and magazine articles, columns, editorials, letters to the editor, and possibly ads.  We will target major Spanish-language newspapers in the 5 targeted regions. A poster, developed in partnership with LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest and one of the largest Latino civil rights organizations in the country) to be distributed and posted in the 5 targeted regions with the help of cooperating community-based organizations, businesses, schools, places of worship, and other agencies and institutions that serve Latinos/as.

    To date, we have helped place 1 article in the April issue of Latina Magazine; 1 article in the April 21, 2005 issue of The New York Post; 1 article written & circulated by EFE (April 26) and 1 article and 1 column in El Diario/La Prensa (April 27 and May 8, respectively).

  • Informational Kit: brochure for families, friends, & co-workers of victims/survivors and batterers; palm card(s); domestic violence fact sheets; listings of key bilingual programs/services, hotline numbers, and websites that will be distributed in the 5 targeted regions through cooperating community-based organizations, businesses, schools, places of worship, and other agencies and institutions that serve Latinos/as.

  • Speakers Bureau: diverse speakers (celebrities, community leaders, survivors, DV advocates, Alianza Board and staff members, and others) who will make presentations at local, regional and national forums; schools; universities; and other venues; as well as on radio and television talk shows.

What is the Main Idea We Want to Communicate?

The overarching message, which we developed, and which we found has resonated with multiple sectors of our communities, incorporates the following main idea: We have many beautiful traditions; domestic violence is not one of them. Tenemos muchas tradiciones hermosas, la violencia domestica no es una de ellas.

How Do We Know This Main Idea is Right?

We know this is a strong direction to pursue because:

  • It's positive. It celebrates Latino values of community, family, passion, and compassion.

  • It's realistic. Passing on traditions, especially those that lead to strong and healthy families and individuals within those families, is something that most parents strive to do. This particular tradition is about demonstrating respect in ones relationships with others and respect for oneself as an individual.

  • It's educational. It helps explain that domestic violence is unacceptable behavior.

  • It's inclusive. It is intergenerational — parents to children and children to parents. It works for traditional, bi-cultural, and assimilated Latinos.

  • It's emotional, yet rational. There is rich territory in which to execute this message, but at the same time, the message is straightforward.

  • It points out the contradiction. It shows why domestic violence DOESN'T fit in Latino communities. Family is stronger than machismo/sexism. Heart is bigger than muscle, power, and control. Compassion is bigger than aggression. Love is stronger than hate.

  • It's appropriate for Latino communities in the United States. They are communities that are distinctly aware of and proud of what makes them strong; what will make them healthy and successful; and what they can share with the larger society to make it stronger and better.

Other Major Messages

Beyond the underlying message cited above, there are several more key messages that we can get across in more detail through many of the vehicles/forums listed above (news articles, columns, editorials, talk shows, brochures, at public events, etc.)

  • We want the public to know what constitutes domestic violence, how they can identify it, and what they can do about it. 

  • We want victims/survivors to know their rights and options and what services and resources are available to help them create violence-free lives.  Services are also available for batterers who want to change.

  • We want to help people define what healthy relationships look like. We need to help define love. Is it the behaviors and ways of relating that get transmitted and sold through songs and soap operas?  Does love involve intimacy, support, compassion, commitment, understanding? 

  • We want to get across Alianza's underlying belief in the sacredness of all relationships and the well-being of our families and communities. Can we have strong, thriving communities without having safe and healthy families?

  • All sectors of society need to take action to prevent and end violence.  Domestic violence is not just a woman's issue. Men can play a very important role as advocates and role models. Women, men, and youth need to work together to end violence and to promote healing in our families and communities.  What are some ways of working jointly?

  • Domestic violence is a societal problem and concern; it is not just a family problem or a problem of masculinity, but a structural issue in society. It violates a whole range of fundamental rights — human, civil, economic, social, and cultural.  This calls for a broad and deep analysis that explores the way in which many forms of oppression and misuse of power — including patriarchy — interact with one another and how this intersection affects the occurrence of domestic violence.

  • Women are the primary targets of domestic violence in heterosexual relationships, although in some relationships, women are the aggressors. 

  • There is also abuse and battering among lesbian, gay, and transgender relationships and services need to be inclusive.  Service providers need to address the issue of homophobia and ensure it does not interfere with the delivery of services. 

  • Women are the primary targets of sexual assault.

  • There is documented evidence of the overlap between domestic violence and child abuse.  Children of both sexes are victims of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse.  Also if there has been child abuse of any type, boys and girls should receive the appropriate attention and help they need to heal.

  • Girls who witness or experience abuse may grow up to enter into abusive relationships and become victims as their mothers did, while boys may imitate the violent behaviors of their fathers in their own relationships.

  • Because violence may be transmitted from one generation to another, adults bear a responsibility toward children and young people in preventing and ending violence.  Parents need to model healthy ways of communicating, relating to each other, and dealing with conflict at home.  They need to stop perpetuating the traditional gender roles that tell girls they have less value and should be subservient and that encourage boys to be controlling and domineering.

  • Men need to assume responsibility for their abusive and violent behavior, admit it, and take steps to change it, including accessing services that can teach them about the causes, dynamics, and consequences of violence; help them change their sexist views and attitudes about women; their feelings of "male entitlement," and teach them positive and respectful ways of treating their partners and children.

  • We need to help people distinguish between the positive and negative aspects of "Latino culture" and "familia Latina," and identify the protective and risk factors associated with each.  What are some of the positive cultural influences can help us find our roots and place in the world, can help us become grounded, centered, and interconnected.  How can we change the negative cultural influences that encourage women to stay in abusive relationships and that reinforce abusive attitudes (e.g., male self-entitlement and mandatory expectation of respeto on the part of women and children)?

  • We need to create balanced and respectful relationships, with ourselves, with our environment, with our families, with our co-workers.  We have to begin by taking care of ourselves, respecting ourselves, knowing who we are, what our purpose in life is. 

  • Women can play a major role in dismantling sexism. We need to carefully examine how our mothers and grandmothers have internalized and accepted the patriarchal structure at home, at work and in other spheres of life. Women are not passive by standers. Do women benefit from the traditional division of labor based on rigid gender roles and how?

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