Most domestic violence events focus on the needs of women but in early October a series of seminars will be held in Prince George’s County that will focus on what men can do to stop violence against women, children and even other men. That’s because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The Family Crisis Center of Prince George’s County is slated to hold “Band of Brothers,” a free event consisting of a day of interaction, education, and domestic violence awareness at the Prince George’s Community College on Oct. 7.

Sophie Ford, executive director of the Family Crisis Center of Prince George’s County, is putting on an event that aims to combat domestic violence. (Courtesy photo)

“Band of Brothers is an event strategically designed to engage and connect men in a way that allows them to share and focus on solutions without judgment,” Sophie Ford, the executive director of the crisis center, told the AFRO.”This event will provide a safe space for men to connect and activate their power as leaders in our community. It is unrealistic to think that any answer to domestic violence will not include men.”

Domestic violence is defined generally as an assault and battery, rape, stalking and sexual assault of another individual.

Nationally, one in four women have been domestically abused and one in 13 men have been in the same situation, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

The center reports that one in five women will be raped in their lifetime and one in 71 men will be raped, as well.

The Prince George’s County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team’s 2016 Findings and Recommendations report shows that in 2014, there were 10,277 domestic calls that resulted in 773 arrests in the county. Also in 2014, there were 54 homicides in the county and 20 of those were related to domestic violence.

The report says that 91.4 percent of domestic violence perpetrators are men, but in Prince George’s County it is 100 percent. The Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence reports that between June 2015 and June 2016, Prince George’s County had the highest number of domestic violence fatalities in Maryland.

The crisis center was established in 1981 as a safe haven for domestic abuse victims and their children and has programs for them and abusers.

The Prince George’s County Office of the Sheriff and the State’s Attorneys’ Office has programs designed to deal with domestic violence and some churches in the county have initiatives as well. On Oct. 2, the Sheriff’s Office will sponsor “Purple Light Nights,” a lighting ceremony emphasizing that domestic violence has no place in Prince George’s County. The sheriff’s program will take place at the county administration building in Upper Marlboro, Md.

Prince George’s County is recognized as the wealthiest Black jurisdiction in the country but Ford said that wealth makes no difference in terms of being an abuser. “Abusers come in all economic and education levels,” Ford told the AFRO. “It doesn’t matter how much money someone makes and what they do for a living. In our center, we have had men who were attorneys and those who worked in low-income jobs.”

The schedule on Oct. 7 includes a skit dealing with domestic violence that focuses on communications, Black issues, why the abused doesn’t leave and services and resources for men; and a panel discussion, “HIStory Revealed,” led by the Rev. Rodney Grey and includes panelists: Ron LeGrand of LeGrand Consulting and Men Can Stop Rape; Kenneth Baldwin of CAC, founder of Discovery Consultants; and Dr. Jerome Tucker, who is a speaker, entrepreneur and personal trainer. After lunch, Baldwin will speak and lead a discussion on uncovering, discovering, and recovering their power.

“This event will not be a discussion bashing men and why they commit domestic violence,” Tucker said in a news release. “It will explain the causes and effects of people’s thoughts and treatment of those who are in need of help.”

Maryland Del. Angela Angel (D-District 25) has established herself as an expert on domestic abuse and has authored legislation that deals with the issue since her election in 2014. “I think that it is important for men to talk to men about this,” Angel told the AFRO. “Men need to be the ones saying to other men that it is wrong to abuse a woman.”

Angel said she had a personal experience with domestic violence and a male friend stepped in to protect her from her husband. She said her husband backed down because of the intervention of the male friend. “The thing is that the man thinks he isn’t doing anything wrong,” Angel said. “It is in his mind to think that a man should abuse someone. Black men often say that Black women are queens and they need to treat us that way.

“We need brothers to be our protectors,” she said.