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(left) Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake; (top right) Munir Bahar, of the 300 Men March Movement; (bottom right) Ellen Gee, host of the Perspective Rap Sessions.

Baltimoreans are continuing to do their part to combat domestic violence, but as the memory of the Ray Rice scandal fades and with Domestic Violence Awareness Month now in the rear view mirror, it is necessary to keep the conversation going, say advocates.

Towards the end of October, Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced $466,000 in new grants for domestic violence prevention efforts, including improved screening in order to identify those persons most at risk for death or serious injury due to intimate partner violence.

Munir Bahar, one of the founders of the 300 Men March Movement, held a domestic violence summit, also at the end of October, which was billed as an honest conversation between older men and boys about domestic violence.

Ellen Gee, host of the Perspective Rap Sessions and a domestic abuse survivor, dedicated one of her sessions to the topic of domestic violence last month. Gee says that in a room of approximately 25 people, when she asked whether those present had experienced domestic violence or known someone who had, everybody raised their hands.

Asked whether existing resources for domestic violence survivors are adequate, Gee said that current resources only suffice because domestic violence is so often suffered in secret.

“There are resources available, but if all the women who needed those resources utilized them, then no, it wouldn’t be. The reason that they work is that a lot of women are suffering in silence,” said Gee.

For Gee, it is imperative that men step up to the plate and fight against domestic violence because she feels that men can have the greater impact on other men. Most of all, it is a conversation that needs to extend beyond the shelf-life of a scandal in today’s news cycle.

“Women are dying all the time, and men don’t just wait until October to abuse their significant others,” said Gee. “ is something that needs to be talked about regularly…very regularly.”

ralejandro@afro.com