AWARENESS: NFL executive encourages men to join in efforts to confront domestic violence.

 

LOCKPORT — Troy Vincent surveyed his audience at the YWCA of Niagara’s Domestic Violence Awareness Luncheon and made a request.

“I want all the men who are here to stand up,” the former NFL Pro Bowl and All-Pro defensive back said. “Stand up, stand up. Now look to the women to the left and the right of you. Men, they need you. They need us.”

Then staring directly at a table of male high school student athletes standing in front of him, the National Football League’s executive vice president of football operations spoke bluntly.stand up against domestic violence

“Student athletes,” he said, “don’t laugh at those jokes that support violence against women and girls. Don’t support it. When you see it, confront it. Call it out. Have the courage to confront other men. Silence is consent.”

A table of female high school student athletes, sitting nearby, said that was a message their classmates needed to hear.

“I hear them talking (disrespectfully about women and young girls,” said Jaelyn Bull, a Lockport High School soccer player. “Now maybe they’ll understand how we feel.”

Malik Brooks, a senior wide receiver on the Lockport High football team, said he caught Vincent’s message.

“It was strong,” Brooks said “He was right about us men. We gotta do better. As young kids, we got to set an example.”

The Y had promised that Vincent would bring a “different, non-traditional message” to those attending its signature event during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Living in the shadow of domestic violence against his mother, from her boyfriend, from the age of 7 to 17, Vincent said he was “unpacking” his life story so that others could learn from his experience.

“I thought it was really good,” said Logan Wendt, a freshman football player at Lockport High. “The stuff he said about (growing up with domestic violence) and coming out about it, most people don’t do that.”

But there’s nothing shy or hidden in Vincent’s game when he talks to people about the effects of domestic violence. After his address, he said several people in the audience approached him and spoke about their situations.

“I’m concerned that when I talk there are triggers that are going to occur,” Vincent said. “There were several people that came up and they were emotional and they said, ‘You helped me.’ I’m just thankful to God that I’m able to do this.”

Vincent drew loud applause when he told his audience, in a nod to the #MeToo movement that “Today, I believe her. Due process will take care of itself, but today, I believe her.”

And as he rattled off the statistics that frame domestic violence – every nine seconds a woman in the United States is beaten, one out of every three women will be beaten in her life and 10 million children witness domestic violence every year – Vincent challenged the men in the audience.

“These facts are not changing. You have the opportunity to shape how we view this. You have the opportunity to make a difference,” Vincent said. “This is a man’s issue. The woman are getting it done. Men, we gotta step it up. Men, (women) need you. They need us.”

Source: Niagara Gazette