DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) — Thousands flocked to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings’ rally against domestic violence Saturday morning.
There were so many men there, you would have thought they were there for a sports event. But they were in front of Dallas City Hall at the Mayor’s Rally called “Dallas Men Against Abuse.”
The “man talk” came right off the bat.
Mayor Rawlings said, “We’re here to say you can call a guy who hits a woman a lot of things. But you can’t call him a man. Because men do not hit women.”
Women’s shelters, like Hope’s Door, were ecstatic.
Adela Plasek with the shelter was walking around the plaza, helping to carry a banner that said, ‘Don’t Hit On Me.”
“I applaud the man. I mean, no one has done this yet. So, we’re happy. I’d give the man a hug if I could get to him today,” she said.
There were plenty of sports figures on the podium, like Roger Staubach and Emmitt Smith who tackled the problem head on.
Smith told the men, “If you are in a situation where you feel like you need to get away, get away. And, let the air calm down. Then, come back and have a conversation later.”
Cowboys player, Dez Bryant, also spoke. Bryant was charged with allegedly assaulting his mother last year. He said he was done with domestic abuse. He crossed his arms in front of himself and said it was time to “X out” domestic violence.
There were domestic violence PSA’s and music videos addressing the problem which is staggering in the city of Dallas.
Police filed 13,000domestice violence cases last year, 26 of those victims died.
Marcella Santillan is a survivor. Her husband nearly killed her seven years ago. “The last straw was when my abuser tried to drown me in front of my two children,” she said.
Santillan brought her 11-year-old son to the rally. “I’m here as a single parent, trying to raise a good man to know that domestic violence is not the way to go,” she said.
Her son, Joey Guardado, said, “There’s men standing up for the people that got abused. And, I was actually proud of them for that.”
Larry Willis, a Gulf War veteran, was there because he had been abused by two former wives. “One pulled a knife on me. One almost run me over with my own car,” he said, adding, “I think it’s time for men to speak up, not to hide.”
The mayor called on 10,000 men to join him at the rally, a thousand of them DISD students.
Keith Collins, a junior at Carter High School, said, “It’s important because no one should lay their hands on anybody.”
Cameron Hampton, a football player at Carter, said, “Anybody that hits women, that’s crazy. Just crazy.”
“My mother taught me to be polite, nice to women and just treat them right,” he said.
Rain may have kept many away but counselors called the rally a success.
Dr. Carl Robinson, an anger management counselor with Greater Dallas Life Skills, said, “I’m grateful for this. It’s taken on an awareness. And, it is the first step of a lot of steps to come, I believe.”
The rally definitely gave men a game plan for their next confrontation with a woman.
Dallas City Council member, Dwayne Carraway, demonstrated. “When you are confronted, a man will simply walk away,” he said.
He walked away from the microphone and gave Mayor Rawlings a high-five.
The next big issue to address, the Mayor said, is to encourage women to report incidents of domestic violence.
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