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Dallas Mayor Wants 10,000 Men At Rally To End Domestic Violence

BJ Austin

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings wants 10,000 men to join him March 23 at City Hall Plaza for a rally and campaign against domestic abuse. It's part of the mayor’s efforts to change a culture of violence.

Mayor Mike Rawlings says for too long domestic violence was seen as a women’s issue.

“Well, it ain’t," Rawlings told the audience at a launch of his campaign against domestic violence. "It’s a men’s issue, and we have got to make that very clear.”  

Flanked by dozens of men, including former Dallas Cowboys Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith, the Mayor announced the March 23rd rally.

“I want fathers to bring their sons because this is undoubtedly a learned behavior," Rawlings said.  "And we have an intergenerational teaching moment right here.  We have a unique opportunity to change the mind set of the next generation in Dallas.”

Casey Cox applauded the mayor’s initiative. His sister, Karen Cox Smith was shot and killed last month by her estranged husband as she left work at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Cox says silence is not an option.

“As a society we need to open our eyes to the reality and complexity of domestic violence. And know that if we stand up together, we can make a difference," Cox said.  "And I want everyone to know that’s why I’m standing here today for her.”

Dallas School Board President Lew Blackburn noted that bullying and abusive behavior begins early.  And he promised the mayor 1,000 middle school boys at the rally next month. Mayor Rawlings says the rally is just the beginning of a movement that will raise awareness of the problem, demand an end to domestic abuse, and support programs for victims. Dallas Police work 13,000 domestic violence cases each year.  And the mayor says already this year there have been four domestic violence murders in Dallas alone.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.