A congresswoman, a former Giants player, and a packed room of political and social activists pledged Thursday afternoon at a San Francisco nonprofit office to end violence against women by starting with educating men and boys.
The national daylong summit, “The Y Factor: Men Leading by Example,” held at the nonprofit Futures Without Violence headquarters in San Francisco’s Presidio in conjunction with the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention spent the day highlighting men who are leading the anti-domestic violence movement.
As part of the daylong conference, a midday luncheon featured a conversation with former Giants player Willie Mays and baseball All-Star and former Yankees manager Joe Torre and remarks from Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West also addressed the more than 200 attendees and noted it has been 17 years since the Violence Against Women Act was first passed.
Nancy Pelosi who later took the podium after a standing ovation said domestic abuse “knows no economic limits; it’s pervasive.”
Pelosi said violence in general needs to be rejected and noted she’s disheartened that violence against women continues to be an issue.
She said she fought for the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, and is working with Vice President Joe Biden to keep women safe when the law is up for reauthorization this year.
In videotaped remarks, Biden said when he first pushed to pass VAWA nearly 20 years ago he was told domestic violence was a “private matter and not OK to talk about.”
The vice president said, “The solution lies in the hands of boys and men. Every man needs to know that no means no…no matter what circumstances.”
He continued, “We’ve continued to teach our daughters that they are entitled to respect.”
In a conversation with Willie “The Say Hey Kid” Mays and Torre, the concept of respect was emphasized.
Mays said he learned respect after he left his hometown of Birmingham, Ala.
“Respect is such a thing you can’t buy,” the 80-year-old former Giants centerfielder said.
Torre spoke about growing up with his father abusing his mother.
He said he was frightened of his dad.
It wasn’t until the mid-1980s that he came to understand the insecurities he had felt as a child and continued to carry and started a foundation, Safe At Home, to help young people like himself in homes scarred by abuse.
“We tell youngsters it’s OK to talk about it and understand it’s not their fault,” he said.
Both former athletes were honored with a standing ovation as they received an “All-Star Tribute” from the hosting organizations for their work to end domestic violence.
The awards were made from reclaimed wood from the Presidio.
The summit, led by Futures Without Violence founder Esta Soler, continued after the luncheon with talks and discussions until 5 p.m.
Sasha Lekach, Bay City News