He'd get those calls.
Back in the 1980s, when Merl Hamilton started his career in law enforcement, the standard response to a raging man and a woman in pain and tears was to give palliative advice.
To the man of the house: Take a walk around the block and cool off.
To the woman: If you aren't happy, just take off.
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In those days, few people in any sector of American society knew how to respond to cases of domestic violence.
"In my almost 30 years in law enforcement," Hamilton said, "domestic violence is the dirty little secret in your neighborhood. Many people will think, 'Of course we're against it. But it's not my neighbor, my friend.'"
The reality is otherwise, Hamilton, former chief of police and now assistant city manager for Concord, pointed out. Domestic abuse cuts across neighborhoods and communities. It is at every economic and social level.
Hamilton is co-chairing Men for Change with Alan Davis of S&D Coffee. Men for Change is a campaign by and for CVAN. The domestic violence program has been providing safety, shelter and support for battered women and their children in Cabarrus County since 1982.
Hamilton and Davis head a committee of more than two dozen men. Every one of them knows financial support must be coupled with generating public awareness. These men want to help build a society where no woman is abused, physically, emotionally or sexually.
Every year, Men for Change reaches farther, to make a bigger and broader statement, to send the message: Domestic abuse cannot be tolerated. It will not be tolerated. Victims can find the help they need.
The name of every man or men's group who signs on to Men for Change with a $100 donation, and of every man whose memory or work is honored by others with such a donation, is listed in a full-page newspaper advertisement on Father's Day.
The donations go to an organization that has a reputation for using its money with care and dedication.
"She is a good steward of people's donated money," Davis said of CVAN's executive director, Mary Margaret Flynn. She "takes dollars and puts the money to good use."
In 2010, CVAN answered 1,716 calls on its 24-hour hotline, provided 2,528 nights of shelter, served 10,112 meals and accompanied more than 200 women to court.
CVAN reaches thousands of people - including teens - through speaking engagements. The organization provides individual peer advocacy and counseling. Last year, it provided safety, shelter and support to 1,252 battered women and their children.
The organization and its staff are tireless advocates for women and their children.
Those on the Men for Change committee know how important their fundraising efforts are in supporting all those programs. They also know that every time they make a call, they raise awareness and help make a change.
Each time a committee member can, he takes the opportunity to speak about domestic violence. He asks for more than financial support for CVAN.
Talk to your son, he'll say to his friend. Talk to your nephew, to your cousin. Talk to other men about the need to make a public statement.
"Victims have a way out," Hamilton said. "They don't need to put up with abuse. There are people to help them."
Some of them are men. Men for Change.
Gentlemen, we are all asking you now: Please consider becoming one.