For a man fighting to conquer the scourge of domestic violence, the timing for Tony Porter’s speech to Georgetown leaders couldn’t have been more perfect.
Porter, co-founder of the nonproﬁt A Call to Men: The National Association of Men and Women Committed to Ending Violence Against Women, spoke Monday to the G-MEN group, or the Georgetown Men Endorsing Nonviolence group, an initiative by the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office.
A study released on Monday ranked South Carolina second in the nation for women murdered by men. Also Monday, the Baltimore Ravens terminated their contract with running back Ray Rice, as a video surfaced showing him knocking out his fiance in February.
Tony Porter, who was among those who met with NFL officials in August to help with a policy on domestic violence, told the group of men gathered in Georgetown it’s their responsibility to shape the future generation of men to stop violence against women.
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“It’s vital that we have to be involved in the development of young men of character,” Porter said after his presentation at the Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church in Pawleys Island. “We have to get the words, get the language and learn the words to speak to them. That’s where the solution is, in that.”
Unrelated to Porter’s presentation on Monday, the 17th annual study from the Violence Policy Center showed that South Carolina ranks second in the nation for the rate of women murdered by men with a rate of 2.06 women per 100,000 according to an analysis of 2012 homicide data.
Alaska ranked at the top of the study and South Carolina was followed by Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi for the top five states.
It’s the 17th year in a row that the Palmetto state has ranked in the top 10 and uses homicide data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Supplementary Homicide Report.
Nationally, the rate of women murdered by men decreased 26 percent — from 1.57 per 100,000 in 1996 to 1.16 per 100,000 in 2012, according to a release about the center’s study.
“Since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act 20 years ago, the federal government and many states and communities have taken heroic steps to reduce domestic violence,” said Kristen Rand, legislative director for the center. “Yet today, far more remains to be done to stop the epidemic of violence against women. The rate of women murdered by men in the United States is tragic and unacceptable.”
Georgetown County Sheriff Lane Cribb said after Porter’s presentation that the G-MEN program and the Family Justice Center of Georgetown County needs help to expand their offerings to the community to prevent violence against women.
“It’s sad that South Carolina ranks where it does in that category,” Cribb said. “Let’s see what we can do to stop it.”
Recent numbers on domestic violence cases in Georgetown and Horry counties weren’t available Monday. But last year more than 650 women and children were assisted by the Family Justice Center of Georgetown County, said Gillian Roy, board chairwoman of the center.
Porter’s discussion on Monday centered on “The Man Box” and how men are taught to deal with emotions. The majority of men do not abuse women, but they allow the “collective socialization” of men and boys to see women as weak.
“We are taught men are strong and women are weak, then we go about our business trying to never appear weak,” Porter told the men in attendance. “We’re also teaching them to have limited emotional intelligence.”
Porter told the group of how young boys are told not to cry and “stop playing like a girl” as motivation to make them bottle up their emotions and try harder at any task they are faced with, especially in sports situations.
“We see ourselves at higher expectations and we see women at a lower level,” Porter said. “Men are taught to have a lack of interest in the experience of a woman outside of a sexual conquest.”