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'Gentle'men Against Domestic Violence' unite to spread awareness

Posted at 7:46 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 19:46:20-04

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — Men in Collier County are taking a stand against domestic violence and human trafficking.

It's part of the 'Take A Stand' initiative formed by the 'Gentle'men Against Domestic Violence.'

More than fifty men came together Tuesday to hand out educational door hangers throughout neighborhoods in Naples.

"We picked neighborhoods that have had a high number of 911 calls for domestic violence to put door hangers that talk about the services the shelter provides and how to call for help," said Dan Bennewitz, Chairman of Gentle' men Against Domestic Violence.

The Shelter for Abused Women and Children formed Gentle'men Against Domestic Violence in 2008.

"Every year, we're trying to get more and more men involved because most of the domestic violence that occurs in communities here and around the country is started by men," said Ron Ciesla, Chairman of The Shelter for Abused Women and Children.

On Tuesday, Collier County Commissioners recognized the group's efforts and declaring March 10th as 'Gentle' men Against Domestic Violence Day.'

"More and more women are standing up against domestic abuse, but I think the more the men can stand up and express their concerns and their anger over what's going on for many many years, the better off women and children will be," said Bill Calfee, a volunteer.

These men are stepping up because they believe it's time men stand as equal partners with women to stop domestic violence and human trafficking.

"The only way to stop domestic violence and human trafficking is to bring it to light and really educate ourselves," said Manuel Vazquez, Gentle' men advocate.

Since 2008, the group has raised nearly 2 million dollars to support shelter services and create social change by mentoring the youth of Collier County.

"We're the example to follow; men can do better when they know better, especially when they have someone as an example," said Vazquez.

This is the first year for this push by Gentle'men Against Domestic Violence, but they are hopeful this becomes an annual event.