October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and there is no better time to break the silence. On Thursday, Oct. 21, a vigil to break the cycle of domestic violence will be held at the Maui Mall’s center stage. The event, which begins at 4:30 p.m., is sponsored by Women Helping Women and “The Peace Peeps,” a group comprised of children who are survivors of domestic violence.
And there will be another group participating in Thursday’s event. Men Helping Men, a newly formed advocacy group created by Maui County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Acob, is sponsoring a White Ribbon Campaign throughout National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The White Ribbon Campaign is an international effort to educate men and boys about domestic violence. The white ribbon symbolizes “a personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.”
Acob said he was inspired to develop Men Helping Men after attending a Department of Health conference in Portland, Oregon, last year. “I couldn’t understand why men abuse their loved ones,” he said. “Family is the most important institution in our society, and violence within a family leads to other things.” Acob has seen firsthand the downward spiral catalyzed by domestic violence—one of the many reasons why he is determined to break the cycle. “We’ve been reactive in our approach to violence against women,” he said, “and I believe we need to be proactive.”
Acob envisions Men Helping Men as “more than a support group,” offering services such as anger management, fathering and nonviolent communication skills counseling. He has already partnered with a number of community groups, including Women Helping Women.
“I think the concept of Men Helping Men is a great idea because they are committed to working together as men to end violence against women,” said Women Helping Women Executive Director Stacey Moniz. “I’m so grateful that they believe their accountability is to women in our community, and for those reasons I support their efforts.”