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Hundreds of men make nonviolence pledge

Hundreds of men make nonviolence pledge
Hundreds of men make nonviolence pledge
Corydon Central High School football coach Darin Ward signs a pledge Oct. 12 at the Men Against Violence rally at the square in downtown Corydon. Behind Ward is Thomas Bryant, who helped with the event, which was put on by Hoosier Hills PACT. Photo by Alan Stewart (click for larger version)

The numbers read by Jon L. Kuss, director of Hoosier Hills PACT, at the second Men Against Violence rally Oct. 12 were staggering.
Between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010, there were almost 60 deaths in Indiana due to domestic violence. Each day in the United States, an average of three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner. Nearly one in four women are beaten by a partner during adulthood, and each year approximately 2.3 million people are physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend. The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion annually, including $4.1 billion in direct health care expenses. Approximately 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence each year.
‘These numbers show this is a problem we can’t ignore,’ Kuss said, standing on the Hurley D. Conrad Memorial Bandstand on the square in downtown Corydon.
Approximately 125 men decided they wouldn’t be a part of those numbers. As part of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, they all signed a pledge to ‘never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.’
Sixty teenage fall sport male athletes from Corydon Central High School rode a bus to the square to sign the pledge last week, approximately 300 other men signed the same pledge at the Oct. 8 football game between Salem and Corydon Central (players wore a white ribbon on their helmets), and PACT was to attend the North Harrison-Crawford County football game this past Friday night to convince others that violence against women could not and would not be tolerated any longer.
‘It’s extremely important that we reach as many people as we can,’ Kuss said. ‘I think it’s really exciting to see so many of the athletes from Corydon come down to be a part of this. I don’t think you can start too young when it comes to stopping violence against girls and women.’
Corydon Central head football coach Darin Ward and athletic director Michael Emmert said several of the athletes were excited to come down to be a part of the rally.
‘These young men are making a pledge together and, hopefully, they’ll honor that pledge not just while they are in high school, but throughout their lives,’ Ward said.
Other speakers at the event included Corydon Chief Marshal Jim Kendall, Harrison County Community Foundation executive director Steve Gilliland and Harrison County Deputy Prosecutor Shawn Donahue, who spoke on behalf of Prosecutor Dennis Byrd, who was unable to attend because he was out of town.
Kendall said when he started in law enforcement in the early ’80s, domestic violence was considered a civil dispute. Changes have allowed law enforcement to file charges without the victim’s consent and, in recent years, have become even more strict.
‘Now, if a phone is jerked out of someone’s hand, that adds a charge. If there are children in the home, that adds to the charge,’ Kendall said. ‘After someone is charged, it’s then up to the prosecutor to pursue the case, which, thankfully, we have.’
The event was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Corydon, Hoosier Hills PACT and the Harrison County Community Foundation.