Father’s Day is a time to honor and show thanks to the men in our lives that have supported and loved us; a time to admire our father figures and appreciate the impact throughout our lifetime. Over the holiday, we celebrate the contributions of these men on our own lives, but we also praise the positive influence these role models can have on our society and reminding men that they are teaching the next generation of father figures. Last week, an event on the steps of City Hall made this reminder crystal clear.
Connect, a non-profit dedicated to the prevention and elimination of gender and family violence, held its 2nd Annual Father’s Day Pledge on Thursday afternoon. The event was co-hosted by Honorable Julissa Ferreras, Chair of Women’s Issues Committee of the City Council. More than 50 New York City fathers, men, and boys pledged to join the movement to end domestic and sexual violence in our communities on the steps of City Hall. The event is about raising awareness and encouraging men to understand their vital role.
Given recent budget cuts, this pledge comes at a critical time for domestic violence victims. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget cuts $1 million to non-residential domestic violence services that will impact thirteen programs in New York, including the one program that serves domestic violence survivors with disabilities.
Furthermore, the Governor’s budget slashes funds for homeless shelters and programs that help families move from the shelter system into their own homes. Women make up 80% of homeless adults with families in the New York shelter system, and 28% of families in the system are homeless due to domestic violence.
Also on the chopping block is a preventive measure to domestic violence: an abuse prevention program for teenagers run throughout the city. Teen Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP) is a school-based anti-domestic violence program that provides benefits to more than 50,000 students. The program increases awareness of abusive relationship behaviors and teaches healthy relationship skills to thousands ofNew York City teenagers. Cutting a preemptive program such as RAPP eliminates a critical measure to curb domestic violence.
Father’s Day is a perfect opportunity for men to speak out about violence against women. Men and women must stand together to end this cycle of violence. So join us fathers, grandfathers, sons, uncles and nephews! Sign our Petition to fight budget cuts to services for domestic violence victims!
Contributed by Joanna Carman of the Human Services Council of New York